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      02-08-2020, 03:07 AM   #1
Tambohamilton
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Friend bought a used car, and it turns out that the engine is junk (UK)

So, a friend has ended up buying a Skoda Octavia from an acquaintance's colleague's friend or something daft like that. Long story short, the engine was toast on arrival (boost leaks, zip ties, silicone and oil everywhere...a lot of metal in the oil, and scoring on the bores). Skipping past the part where it was really daft of them to get into this situation, does anyone have any wisdom on how best to get their money back? They're good, honest people who didn't deserve this; they just don't have a clue about cars.

The seller was someone who had also sold the buyer's sister a car a while back with no issues (apparently), so they trusted them too much. The seller seems to be very familiar with selling cars, but doesn't have a business. They paid by bank transfer. They have a trail of texts and WhatsApp messages from the seller, but of course nothing since they found out the condition of the car they'd just bought. They have a report on the condition of the engine from an independent garage, and waiting from an assessment from a Skoda dealer in a couple of weeks. They've had advice from a solicitor, and will be taking the seller to court for misrepresentation once they've gathered the evidence.

Anyone got any further suggestions?

Thanks!
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      02-08-2020, 08:56 AM   #2
Tambohamilton
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Weird, I posted with one subject line, and now it's totally different...what gives, mods? Was there a problem?
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      02-08-2020, 08:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tambohamilton View Post
Weird, I posted with one subject line, and now it's totally different...what gives, mods? Was there a problem?
Yeah, I read the subject and thought it was a duplicate post, but it's clearly not. The original subject wasn't offensive in any way. Why would they change it arbitrarily? Seems a little Orwellian.
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      02-08-2020, 09:01 AM   #4
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My thoughts exactly...never mind! It's their house, I guess...
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      02-08-2020, 11:40 AM   #5
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The part about the solicitor and taking them to court is probably the best bet. Unfortunately, for someone unfamiliar with legal proceedings, gathering of evidence and automotive topics, they have to do this the hard way and have someone work on their behalf for these, as in a lawyer to represent, automotive technicians to summarize their findings with the car, etc. This is a big reason why you don't buy used unless you really know what you are doing OR you are buying something that is dead simple and easy to work on/fix for the dealers (like a Honda, etc.). Protecting yourself, being able to gather evidence and communicating with official correspondence should be a required class in school. Once you start running into these kinds of issues, you have to stop communicating by phone/person and do it all by letter/official correspondence. Once you start documenting the problems with a document-trail, it gets really hard for a company to not fulfill their commitment.

Also, **** happens with used cars. Given how many years old it is, 5, 10, 15, I have different expectations of the work that I am willing to perform myself or have done on the vehicle, because it may be necessary. That means I have to learn about the vehicle, what makes it tick, what the common problems are and how to address them, etc. Boost leaks for instance are usually caused by faulty/poor hose setups and clamps. Re-doing all of those clamps and hoses would be a good start. There are also methods to find leaks.
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      02-09-2020, 10:37 AM   #6
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what specific representations did the seller make in the various texts/emails about the condition of the engine?
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      02-09-2020, 11:23 AM   #7
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As far as I know, they either didn't specifically mention the engine, or said it was good. The buyer wasn't looking for a project, so if they had been told that there was any doubt over the condition of the mechanical side, they definitely would have passed on the car. It was sold as a reasonably low mile (MY 2011, 70000) example, in good roadworthy condition, with a fresh MOT; that much I do know.

There is no way that the seller didn't know there were problems, even if there's no direct confirmation/denial in writing. They drove the car (or maybe trailered it) a few hundred miles to deliver it, and the CEL came on within a few (literally less than 5) miles of the buyer driving it. The standard of workmanship on the engine is woeful, though it wasn't necessarily the seller who did the work. The buyer have had another MOT test performed as a road worthiness check, and the car failed (I haven't heard why, yet).

Thanks
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      02-09-2020, 05:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tambohamilton View Post
As far as I know, they either didn't specifically mention the engine, or said it was good. The buyer wasn't looking for a project, so if they had been told that there was any doubt over the condition of the mechanical side, they definitely would have passed on the car. It was sold as a reasonably low mile (MY 2011, 70000) example, in good roadworthy condition, with a fresh MOT; that much I do know.

There is no way that the seller didn't know there were problems, even if there's no direct confirmation/denial in writing. They drove the car (or maybe trailered it) a few hundred miles to deliver it, and the CEL came on within a few (literally less than 5) miles of the buyer driving it. The standard of workmanship on the engine is woeful, though it wasn't necessarily the seller who did the work. The buyer have had another MOT test performed as a road worthiness check, and the car failed (I haven't heard why, yet).

Thanks
I am not up to speed on the UK legal system but if your friend bought a used car without any written representations regarding the quality and working ability of the engine, your friend may have an uphill battle.

If he had written that the engine is sound and works well, that would be a different matter.

Good luck!
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      02-10-2020, 01:07 AM   #9
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Understood, thanks! I'll see if they can find specific reference to the engine...
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