Repossession of secondhand cars
Sir, – Your article “One in six cars at risk of seizure” (News, January 9th) is informative and provides a cautionary note to car buyers.
However, an important distinction needs to be made between purchases from motor dealers and purchases from private individuals.
The buyer of a secondhand car from recognised motor dealer need not fear seizure by a bank pursuing an outstanding balance and, should a seizure occur in those circumstances, the innocent buyer has a right of action against the dealer and the bank.
Once a dealer takes a vehicle into stock and offers it for sale, a buyer will become the legal owner, except where the vehicle was stolen before it came into the dealer’s possession.
Laws to protect “innocent” purchasers when buying from a “mercantile agent” have been in place for over a century and have been re-enacted several times. Specifically, a buyer is protected by the Factors Act 1889 and by the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980.
I hope this will allay any concerns on the part of buyers from motor dealers who need not incur anxiety or expense in checking whether a bank has any interest in the vehicle purchased. Unfortunately, there is some misunderstanding of the buyers rights on the part of some banks, finance companies, motor dealers and even some lawyers. – Yours, etc,