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 car sally sell car privately

We recently assisted a purchaser who had privately bought a motor vehicle from another private individual as a seller.

The Toyota Corolla motor vehicle seemed at the time of the sale to be in good condition and the purchaser paid the seller the full purchase price of R 96000.00 by EFT and then took delivery of the vehicle. A short simple deed of sale was signed by both parties.

Everything seemed to be in order.

Two weeks after the sale had been concluded; the purchaser of the vehicle discovered that this particular Corolla motor vehicle had been involved in a serious accident in 2015; during a routine check of the VIN number of the vehicle for the purposes of a roadworthy and a new licence number disc which had to be renewed.

What made this information even more disturbing was that this was during the time that the seller had been the owner of the vehicle; so he must have been aware of the accident and it also transpired that it was his insurance company that had arranged for the panel beating and repair of the vehicle in 2015.

The purchaser then sent us an email with this background and asked us what could he do?

We advised him; and then, on the purchaser’s email instruction, we then did an intervention and after some more digging we discovered that the seller had in fact been the driver at the time of the accident. The purchaser had not been at fault, as it turned out, as he had been rear-ended by another driver and had himself been pushed into the back of another car, so there was both back and front end damage to the vehicle that he had sold to our client.

None of these facts were disclosed by the seller to our purchaser at the time of the sale and neither was there any mention of the accident in the deed of sale.

When we challenged the seller on his legal obligation to disclose this information at the time of the sale to the purchaser; he denied that he had any such legal obligation.

The question then was; was he under a legal obligation to disclose the prior accident?

Then answer to this question is yes; he was.


Because; although private vehicle sales are not subject to the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act No 68 of 2008 (CPA); the common law of contract requires that the seller, firstly be honest with the purchaser and requires further that the seller disclose any known damage or defects in the vehicle to the purchaser. This latter aspect would include and historical data on the vehicle which would or could affect the purchaser’s decision to buy the vehicle; affect the safety of the vehicle and/or affect the agreed purchase price of the vehicle.

When we pointed out to the seller his legal obligations to the purchaser; he still was not prepared to budge.

The purchaser then instructed us to send the seller a formal letter of demand cancelling the entire sale and demanding his money back.

We did so and sent it to the seller by registered post and email giving him 7 days to comply.

On the sixth day the seller’s attorneys in JHB contacted us by telephone and email and agreed to our demand that the seller refund to the purchaser the entire purchase price against the return of the vehicle to their client.

We arranged for our client to return the vehicle to their client at their client’s nearest bank and our client met the seller at his bank where he did an EFT repayment and our client returned the keys and the vehicle to the seller.

Remember sales of vehicle by dealers are subject to the provisions of the CPA; but private sales are not; as the seller is not then “a service provider.”

But this does not mean that you do not have legal recourse in a private sale as the above case study illustrates.

Please visit our website at or send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your legal questions.

About our author:

Hugh Pollard (Legal Consultant), has a BA LLB and 41 years’ experience in the legal field. 22 years as a practicing attorney and conveyancer; and 19 years as a Legal Consultant.

082-0932304 (Hugh’s Cell Number)

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