There are some who think that buying a second hand car, either from a dealer or an individual, means you have no comeback if something goes wrong. This is far from so, although it must be said that you have a much better standing under the law if you purchase from a dealer. The Sale of Goods Act applies where second hand cars are concerned, but not in its entirety where you buy from an individual: in this case there is no legal right to ensure it is of satisfactory quality or fit for the purpose, so beware.
Buying from a dealer is a different matter, and there are avenues you can go down if you have a problem. If you find your car to be faulty soon after purchasing you can reject it; this can be under the grounds of not being reasonable quality, not fit for the purpose, or not as described. In any of the above the dealer is legally bound to refund your money, or compensate you for the state of the vehicle.
Buying at Auction
Auctions can be a tricky area of the law, for they are viewed in a different manner. However, buying a second hand car at auction does not relieve you of your rights. The problem is that a simple sign saying that cars are not guaranteed to be of satisfactory quality, as described or fit for the purpose can be displayed in the auction house and in the catalogue and will relieve the auctioneers of any liability under those areas of the Sale of Goods Act.
The best advice is to buy your second hand car from a reputable dealer, to test it thoroughly beforehand, to give it a thorough inspection and – if you do find something wrong – to return it to the dealer as soon as possible.