Goods bought through private sale - YOUR RIGHTS

supersonic Posts: 82,708
edited January 2012 in Classifieds rules and FAQs
By DIY and supersonic.


When a retailer sells goods to a consumer it is governed by various statutory rights which effectively append the contract formed with additional terms. When we sell privately these terms do not typically apply, unless the buyer can show that the seller is actually a retailer of goods (new or used). However even as private sellers there are a number of things that are important - we still have some basic obligations.

Implied terms and warranties

A warranty is a contract - in general manufacturer warranties are NOT intended to be transferable between consumers, (though this is a point which could be argued), and additionally manufacturers are largely not geared up to deal with consumers. Remember also that the retailer’s obligations are only to the person they formed the original contract with, so in general you cannot sell something as “with manufacturer warranty” unless you are certain that the warranty is transferable. If you do, you are in danger of breaching the contract you form with the buyer and being exposed to a claim for breach. Using the original receipt to claim against the retailer or manufacturer, if is not elsewhere described in the contract, could constitute a criminal offence.

Accurate Descriptions

It is important to accurately describe an item not just in terms of its condition, but also any claims you make about the intended use, specification, materials, brand etc. It is not a good idea to copy and paste the manufacturer’s sales blurb without clearly identifying it as such. Your description can form part of the contract of sale, which if it turns out not to be correct leaves you forming a contract to sell something that you are unable to supply (e.g. Shimano Mxyz compatible). Expressing opinion on something is generally fine, but if you describe something incorrectly, implying expert knowledge you risk misrepresenting the sale which could lead to problems.

Items that are unsafe

Unlike motor vehicles there is no statutory obligation prohibiting the sale of a bicycle that is not road worthy. However, if you knowingly sell something that is broken or in an unsafe to use condition you should make it clear to the buyer that this is the case e.g. “for spares and repairs”. If you fail to disclose this, you could find yourself open to a claim for damages.

What happens if it breaks?

Depending on the, problem, the price paid, the length of time they had it and the expectation of future usage will determine if they can claim some or all of their money back. So if you are selling something at a nearly new price expect the buyer to have come back if the item fails shortly after.

Right to Sell & Stolen goods

You cannot sell something that you do not own. However this does not stop you forming a contract to do so. If you sell something that you do not have proper title to sell, then you are likely to breach this contract. This might include a bike purchased on finance or via a cycle to work scheme, where the bike is a lease or ownership retained until paid for. In the event that you sell something innocently that is stolen, then you are liable to the buyer for their subsequent loss.

What if I change my mind about selling?

A contract consists of an offer, consideration (e.g. payment) and acceptance. In the absence of any other agreed terms once you accept the payment you are under contract to supply.

To summarise - warranties are generally NOT transferable. Always read the description carefully. Life of goods and any aftercare depends on the description, usage and price paid. Once payment is sent, the seller has a legal obligation to supply
This discussion has been closed.