If you have been deceived by a salesman into paying too much for dodgy goods, you should see a lawyer right away. The disappointed buyer of a crash-damaged Ferrari sports car who did just that was awarded his money back by a judge.

The buyer was attracted by a magazine advertisement which described the car as ‘very rare’, a ‘real head-turner’ and ‘in great condition inside and out’. That glowing description was backed up orally by the director of a car dealership from which he bought the car for £43,400. After it was shipped to his home in Australia, however, the buyer realised that he had been sold what was described as ‘a dog’.

After the buyer launched proceedings, the judge found that the car had been involved in a serious accident 10 years before the sale and had been very badly repaired. Its wheels and bumpers were not factory-fitted, as the director claimed, and it was very far from being in great condition.

The director argued that his relevant statements concerning the car were mere puffs which were not intended to be taken seriously and thus gave rise to no legal liability. The judge, however, found that they were fraudulent misrepresentations, in the sense of being knowingly false, and that the buyer had relied on them.

Having received no benefit from his ownership of the car, the buyer was entitled to reimbursement of the full price that he had paid for it, less any sum he might receive on selling it on to another purchaser. The car dealership having gone into liquidation, the deceitful director was ordered to make good the award in person.


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