Private Car Sale.

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furrypusscat | 23:48 Mon 02nd Nov 2015 | Civil
9 Answers
Can someone offer advice please.
Car offered for sale in February, buyer sees car agrees a price for car plus an amount for storage. 3 weeks later pays £1000 deposit and states will pay rest later in week. Private sale, no documents signed but sale agreed verbally. Log sheet still with seller as is car. By August still no further payment made so letter sent to buyer in September asking for balance of £3000 to be paid asap so sale and paperwork can be finalised. October, email received from buyer saying funds will be available by 24th. Date now past, so replied to buyer's email asking for payment by 4th November. If after 4th November and still no payment or response made can the seller retain the deposit and offer car for sale elsewhere, keeping the deposit for loss of personal use due to impending sale and also loss of selling potential. Car buyer although is buying car for himself is a local car sales owner. Feel he has taken liberties which he himself would not allow a customer to do in same circumstances. Please advise re deposit plus offering car for sale elsewhere. Thank you.


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Sounds like he is taking the pee big time, furrypusscat. I'm not sure about the legal implications though.
The terms 'deposit' and 'part payment' are likely to be treated differently by a court. If a person solely makes a 'part payment' then you'd have no right to retain it if that person then voids the contract to pay the remainder of the money.

However if that person paid you a deposit and knew (or could reasonably be expected to know) that the deposit was non-refundable, then you'd have the right to keep it.

Only a court could decide either way but my feeling is that (unless you both agreed that the deposit would be non-refundable) a court would rule that you've only received a 'part payment' and therefore that you're obliged to refund it.

This blog post (from a solicitor) deals with business-to-business contracts but I suspect that a court would probably rule the same way in respect of private contracts:

However I see no reason why you couldn't offer the vehicle for sale elsewhere as, by failing to meet the agreed date for payment, the potential purchaser has clearly voided any contract he may have had with you.
Question Author
Thank you both for your replies. Yes I think he is taking the pee. Complicated isn't it.
I am not sure if you can keep the deposit
as everything is oral

I would write a letter saying that the sale has not gone thro
I wouldnt use words like void
and that you are returning the cheque ( good one actually it would be a cheque in your own name ) saying you have retained £100 for admin and loss of use since Feb

The sum has to be small enough for him to think
O god it really isnt worth me pursuing this
Question Author
Thank you Peter. He contacted us yesterday (deadline I had given) and ensures money will be cleared in bank by Monday so am hopeful that will be the case. I think he was seeing how far we would be prepared to wait. I don't like unpleasant situations as he does live in same village but general opinion of him is that he treats everyone who is owed money by him the same. Typical car dealer.
Lesson Learnt here Furry, trust no-one until the ££££££££££££££££££££ are in your hand / Bank.
Question Author
Thanks TWR but haven't lost anything, we still have car, car keys plus £1000, it's just annoying to be messed around.
I've sold a few in my passed Furry & have always been right with people, I believe I'm too honest!!! outside regards cars, I trust No-one.
Question Author
Good advice TWR.

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