What are your legal rights or duties when buying or selling a classic MG?
Buying as a private sale
As long as the car has been described accurately by the seller in their advert and in any comments or assurances made to the buyer, then you have far less legal comeback when buying a car privately than from a trader. So a vehicle data check to make sure the car is not stolen and a thorough inspection of the car are essential before you buy a car. The sad reality is that if the seller is not truthful or is economical with the truth, getting compensation from them can be difficult, can take a great deal of time and is usually costly with no certainty of success. Private seller?
Buying from a dealer or trader
If you buy a car from a dealer or trader, the transaction will be covered by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the goods must be:
As described in the trader's adverts, in any correspondence and in any comments or assurances made by the dealer to the buyer.
Of satisfactory quality taking account of the the age of the car, what you paid for it and how it was described to you. It should be free of serious defects other than those you were made aware of.
Fit for any reasonable purpose that the buyer could reasonably expect of the car, including any particular features the buyer states he wants in the car.
You should always get a statement from the trader of the condition of the car, particularly where the trader has mentioned key features of the car to make a sale - "recently rebuilt gearbox" or "comes with our full service and a new MOT" or "it has had a recent full bodywork refurbishment and respray". If, for example, serious rust damage and patched sills are revealed later, or the car develops faults which a full service should have picked up, then there is a question over whether the quality and features were really "as described".

If you find subsequently the car is faulty, you have six months from the date of purchase in which you can reject it. You can demand repair or a replacement, unless it would cause 'disproportionate' or 'significant inconvenience' to the trader. The trader then has to prove the car was of a satisfactory quality when sold. Do note that if you decide to have the car inspected by an independent inspector before you buy a car, then the trader is not responsible for any faults that the independent inspection should have found. It is best to deal only with traders with an acknowledged reputation and integrity because getting a satisfactory remedy or compensation from an uncooperative trader can be difficult, take a great deal of time and is usually costly with no certainty of success.
Buying at auction
You have limited rights when buying at auction. Many auction houses impose conditions on the extent of any comeback rights. What rights you do have under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 are against the seller, not the auction house. Make sure you inspect the car parked up at the auction house before the bidding starts. More
Buying through an online auction site like eBay
Online auction sites like eBay have their own rules, but for a buyer it is still very much a case of "buyer beware". More
Caution and Disclaimer: the MG Car Club has published these notes in good faith, however neither the MG Car Club or its directors and officers can accept legal responsibility for the accuracy of any of the statements contained herein.
MG Car Club - support and advice for MG enthusiasts at www.mgcc.co.uk