Selling a car with a fault - ok or no?

CurlySue2017
CurlySue2017 Posts: 456
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edited 11 January at 8:53AM in Motoring
I have a used car - great car, runs fine, low mileage, lovely condition, long MOT etc.  BUT it has an intermittent electrical issue that despite having it in different garages on different occasions, still hasn't been diagnosed.  I have now had to replace the car as it was not reliable and I travel a lot alone, but I am loathe to simply scrap the previous one because apart from this issue it is a fantastic car.
I would like to try and sell it second hand.  Of course I would be honest in the description and state that it has an undiagnosed electrical issue, and the price would be reduced accordingly.  My logic is that maybe someone with more knowledge and time could find and fix the issue and would then have a real bargain on their hands!
Is it acceptable to do that providing that I'm honest when describing it?
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  • BoGoF
    BoGoF Posts: 6,757
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    There's two statements in there that contradict each other "great car, runs fine, low mileage, lovely condition, long MOT etc" vs "now had to replace the car as it was not reliable".

    Which is it? 

    Either way, if you sell privately it's pretty much sold as seen and buyer beware. Was there a reason you didn't trade it in for the new car? Other options would be to sell it to any of the various "we buy your car" places.
  • boxosox
    boxosox Posts: 60
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    Yes, you're fine to sell it.  Second hand cars can come with problems and anyone buying a used car from a private seller would/should be aware of this (caveat emptor).

    As you know about the fault and you've tried to get it sorted, you're right that the honest thing to do is tell the buyer but, legally, so long as you don't say anything untrue in the listing (like "no electrical issues"), you don't have to disclose every last problem/damage/issue.
  • CliveOfIndia
    CliveOfIndia Posts: 1,187
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    As long as you're completely honest in describing the car then yes, no problem at all.  As the previous poster mentions, it would seem a little dishonest to describe it as a "great car that runs fine" then in the next breath say that it's unreliable.
    Word the advert carefully.  It would be fine to say something like "No known mechanical faults but there's an issue with <the central locking, or whatever the electrical fault is>".
    The bottom line is that you must describe it honestly.  Don't say the gearbox is fine if it isn't.  Don't say the engine runs smoothly if it doesn't.  It's worth highlighting any known faults, purely to narrow down the list of potential buyers (it's a waste of time for someone to come and look at it, only to walk away when they notice the electrical fault which you were aware of).
    But yep, be honest in the description and stick it on Gumtree, Facebook, eBay, wherever.  I've done a similar thing a couple of times over the years - list the known faults, list it as "Spares or Repair", I was pleasantly surprised at how much I got for the cars eventually.
  • CurlySue2017
    CurlySue2017 Posts: 456
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    edited 11 January at 10:12AM
    Thank you for the responses

    I am going to be completely honest - as far as I can be, not knowing what the fault is.  I'm not looking to rip anyone off, I would be p***** if someone lied to me about the condition of a used car I was buying, so I'm not prepared to do that to someone else.

    @BoGoF It's both.  When the car runs, it's perfect, no issues at all. 
    The problem is that whatever this fault is, the battery is draining intermittently and for no reason that anyone has been able to find so far.  But get it jump started and it's tickety boo again and runs perfect, hence why I do not want to simply scrap it - it could be a lovely car for someone  
    ETA: I wanted to part-ex ideally but no-one wanted to take it with the fault unfortunately

  • tonygold
    tonygold Posts: 1,121
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    Thank you for the responses

    I am going to be completely honest - as far as I can be, not knowing what the fault is.  I'm not looking to rip anyone off, I would be p***** if someone lied to me about the condition of a used car I was buying, so I'm not prepared to do that to someone else.

    @BoGoF It's both.  When the car runs, it's perfect, no issues at all. 
    The problem is that whatever this fault is, the battery is draining intermittently and for no reason that anyone has been able to find so far.  But get it jump started and it's tickety boo again and runs perfect, hence why I do not want to simply scrap it - it could be a lovely car for someone  
    ETA: I wanted to part-ex ideally but no-one wanted to take it with the fault unfortunately

    that sounds like something is draining the battery when the car is parked up. I have known an interior light or an interior boot light to stay on after the car is parked up. That could certainly produce the issues you are experiencing.
  • prowla
    prowla Posts: 13,095
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    You should also be upfront if the buyer asks what issues it has.
    As for the fault, I have a car whose security system is known for draining its batter when idle; since I keep it in a garage Ihad a cutout switch installed.
  • CurlySue2017
    CurlySue2017 Posts: 456
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    tonygold said:
    Thank you for the responses

    I am going to be completely honest - as far as I can be, not knowing what the fault is.  I'm not looking to rip anyone off, I would be p***** if someone lied to me about the condition of a used car I was buying, so I'm not prepared to do that to someone else.

    @BoGoF It's both.  When the car runs, it's perfect, no issues at all. 
    The problem is that whatever this fault is, the battery is draining intermittently and for no reason that anyone has been able to find so far.  But get it jump started and it's tickety boo again and runs perfect, hence why I do not want to simply scrap it - it could be a lovely car for someone  
    ETA: I wanted to part-ex ideally but no-one wanted to take it with the fault unfortunately

    that sounds like something is draining the battery when the car is parked up. I have known an interior light or an interior boot light to stay on after the car is parked up. That could certainly produce the issues you are experiencing.
    It is, which is what I said above
  • CurlySue2017
    CurlySue2017 Posts: 456
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    prowla said:
    You should also be upfront if the buyer asks what issues it has.
    As for the fault, I have a car whose security system is known for draining its batter when idle; since I keep it in a garage Ihad a cutout switch installed.
    I've already said that I will be!  That was the whole point of the post.
  • Ganga
    Ganga Posts: 4,039
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    Tell us what car it is ,make and model and some one might tell you what the fault is causing the battery to discharge.
    ITS NOT EASY TO GET EVERYTHING WRONG ,I HAVE TO WORK HARD TO DO IT!
  • maxmycardagain
    maxmycardagain Posts: 5,741
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    Ganga said:
    Tell us what car it is ,make and model and some one might tell you what the fault is causing the battery to discharge.
    bet its French.....
    Now we all know how it felt to play in the band on the Titanic...
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