I bought a bike from a private seller

A private sale/purchase may mean that you get the best deal, if nothing goes wrong, that is.

One of the reasons for a higher purchase price when you buy from a dealer is that they can provide a lot more assistance if things go wrong.

You have very few rights against a private seller, and it is important to remember a very old principle of English Law: “BUYER BEWARE”

Basically, the motorcycle must be

  • roadworthy (i.e. safe and legal) and
  • in a reasonable condition.

We would strongly advise you to go and inspect the motorcycle (if you are able to and don’t, then any defects that might have been spotted may be deemed to have been accepted by you.) Make sure you see the motorcycle in daylight.

It may be worth keeping any advertisement for the motorcycle in a safe place, as it will help you to strengthen your claim if you have proof of the description.

Remember: The motorcycle does not have to be of satisfactory quality.

It is illegal for anyone to sell an un-roadworthy bike unless you are told that it is only fit for scrap. So check that this isn’t put on your receipt or some other document, as this may take away your legal rights.

Be wary of dealers pretending to be private sellers to get rid of vehicles they’ve had in the show room for a long time. Look out for lots of different adverts with the same contact number, or which specify times to call (though that might just be courteous advertising!) or if the seller wants to bring the vehicle to you when you try and arrange an inspection.

If you find out that the seller does sell motorcycles on a regular basis, whether professionally or otherwise, he may be found to be a dealer and therefore not to have conducted a private sale at all. If this is the case, then you may have all of the rights you would against a dealer, i.e. the full protection of the law if things go wrong.

Posing as a private seller is a criminal offence, and you should consider reporting the seller to the authorities.

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