Used car buyer complaining

I have recently just sold my car (10 years old) and have looked after it very well (always filled up 98% petrol), serviced at the dealership. Never had any mechanical issues with it.
I had it serviced and a RWC issued two weeks before listing it for sale. The buyer urgently needed a car, spent an hour inspecting and test driving it and haggling the price down. I didn't go down much as it was priced very well already and had several other interested buyers booked in two days later.
On the same day he bought it, he sent messages stating how unhappy he was as he ran the VIN and saw that this brand had a recall issued for the vehicle to be checked. I had it at the dealership with all recalls checked two weeks beforehand!
He stated I should have known and that he is disappointed and feels misled etc. and now he needs to bring it to a dealership to do a free check on the car.

I feel like I did all the right things, provided him with full service history (yes, even went as far as getting the dealership to send the detailed receipts) and he got a very good deal. (In comparison to what was being advertised on carsales at the time).
What is my responsibility in such a situation? I feel like I was offering a great deal, but the whole experience has left a sour taste in my mouth.
I feel personally attacked, and as if I purposely tried to mislead a buyer.


  • +202 votes

    What is my responsibility in such a situation?

    To ignore him. :)

    You did everything to his satisfaction, otherwise he wouldn't have paid the money and purchased the vehicle. He wants you to react and feel hurt personally, not sure what he intends to gain from it, but you can sleep well at night knowing that you did what you could.

  • +63 votes

    Buyers remorse. They had every opportunity to assess and review the vehicle before purchase. You're in the clear.

    If you hand on heart believe you did not intentionally mislead them, then ignore, rest easy and move on.

  • +44 votes

    Thank you - I will try. I went above and beyond for this buyer and all they are doing is complaining. It's a 10 year old car they got for a few grand.

    • -27 votes

      You sold him a High-Yield Investment didn't you?

      I bet it was an AMG C-Class which had transmission issues, and the starter engine would ignite the entire engine bay ; )

  • +75 votes

    What did you use for the other 2%?

    Also block his number and carry on with your life.

  • +15 votes

    He is an idiot that knows nothing about cars or most things by the sound of it.
    If he contacts you again just say the car is in perfect condition and to stop pestering you.
    When you sell a car privately you soon find out how many nutters are out there.

  • +3 votes

    Not your problem, it was his responsibility to find this stuff out before he made the purchase. He can be as disappointed as he likes.

    You have no responsibility to how the buyer feels after the fact.

  • +7 votes

    Member Since….
    26 min ago

    Topic suggestion for next hour.. Techfast review..

  • +6 votes

    What is my responsibility in such a situation?

    2nd hand car sold by a private seller? Its buyer beware. Your responsibility now is nothing. Ignore them.

  • +31 votes

    When I sell a car I buy a throw away sim and phone. Once car is sold, phone is off recycled.

    • +26 votes

      Why not just buy new SIM cards and use the same phone?

      • +5 votes

        Phone is phine?

      • +51 votes

        So he can snap it in half as the buyer drives off, like in the movies.

        • +3 votes

          Amateurs. You rig the car to explode. Keep the phone, the SIM and you don't have to go through all that technical blocking mumbo jumbo.

          • +2 votes

            @DonWilson: You can just block the number. Anyway op you have done nothing wrong.

            About 6 years ago I sold my then car, which was a good little runabout and had no problems. Anyway the buyer contacted me two months later as it developed a fault, which was minor anyway. I blocked the person and stopped answering their messages. Some people are unbelievable, they buy second hand privately buy at discounted price and then want the customer service as if they bought in a shop.

    • +10 votes

      What's the point? Why not just block the buyer if you don't want them calling. Besides, if for some reason the buyer feels misled or ripped off (undisclosed issues with the car etc) they would know where you live anyway if he wanted to go down that path.

      Sounds to me like you have something to hide when you sell a car??


        just get one of those phones with a dual sim card,


        I suppose a different number would be good if you piss off someone petty and they go signing up your phone number to a bunch of marketing spam.

        But a burner phone is excessive.

    • +3 votes

      When I sell a second hand car I usually get a new iPhone on a $100 per month plan and then once the car is sold I smash the iPhone on the ground and eat the sim card.


      What's the point of all that if they know where you live? Lol

  • +3 votes

    Tell them to see you in court, they are gronks, up to them to check this shit before they buy it

  • +18 votes

    he ran the VIN and saw that this brand had a recall issued for the vehicle

    It's a recall. They are free… Not your problem. Wont cost them anything. It could possibly have already been done. Most likely ran it through Takata Airbag check.

    What is my responsibility in such a situation?

    To block them and stop taking their calls and or emails. Deal was done. It's no longer your problem.

  • +30 votes

    Tell him you'll take it back for a 20% restocking fee.

    • +11 votes

      Even though you are most certainly joking, I think it’s important to note that if ever considering taking a car back after it’s been sold, there are many things to keep in mind. Even in a short period of time, the car could have been used for theft/crimes, racked up tickets, parts taken, finance taken out, many possibilities.

      OP just block the number if they continue contacting, the sale is long settled, and they have no recourse unless they choose to take you to court, which is out of your hands anyway, so just forget about them and move on.

  • +2 votes

    Buyer regret. Ignore. Block his number. So his put out because he thinks something hasn't been done.Which he can get done by the dealer for free. Sure he may lose a day or a few hours to get it done. Not your problem. Did he get it mechanically looked at by a mechanic or someone else to see if all his other issues were covered before he handed over the money. That will be the next thing when he has issues in a months time. It's used. RW are useless.

  • +1 vote

    If he was do concerned with wanting after sales warranty, he should have bought from a dealer. He would of had 3mths warranty.

  • +5 votes

    I think we've probably all come across an unreasonable buyer at one point or another. I sold an iPad to someone. It was in perfect condition. He came back the next day saying it wasn't working. I gave him his money back just so he would f off and apparently that was an admission of my guilt. He went on and on about how I wouldn't have offered his money back if it wasn't broken and what a terrible person I was. I was glad to see the end of him. Turned out he was using it with some sort of overlay on the screen that he used in his business and it had interfered with the digitiser. Once that was off, it worked just fine for many more years. I couldn't be bothered to sell it again.

  • +10 votes

    Thank you for the comments. Just felt I was doing the right thing, and it's like getting slapped in the face and being told you're a fraud.
    All the checks that are done by the dealership I just assume are part of standard maintenance. I didnt even think there were any issues. He came back saying I should gave disclosed all the recall checks - it wasn't even in my mind

    • +3 votes

      sounds like you did more than most people selling cars. block this persons number and try not to worry about it. sounds like they actually got a good deal on the car.


      It was absolutely not on you to do this. Second hand sales are at the risk of the buyer. As long as you didn't outright commit fraud (which you certainly did not) then it's on the person who bought your car to do their due dilligence. Block them and never speak to them again. I would personally tell them to (profanity) off first.

  • +1 vote

    seems to be a trend with people buying second-hand goods and expecting some sort of warranty or after sales services from the seller.
    Sounds like the car was part of the airbag recall, unless they can't get parts for the car to do the recall.


    It's he calling to just to whine or is he asking for some sort of compensation? In any case, buyer beware, if he researched thoroughly beforehand, he would have known about the recall.


      ^ this. I'd expect the buyer to be the kind of person who'll pester you to pay for some expense related to the car now after its inspection.

      Buyer got a bargain, you've submitted your disposal notice, cancelled (or transferred) any insurance etc. case closed. move on.


    Respond with a crying face emoji

    It's buyer beware.

  • +3 votes

    The car was at the dealership two weeks ago and they ran all the recall checks then. I had no idea there was another recall since then. I called the dealership and they said that they roll these out in 'batches', whatever that means. Ofcourse if I knew I would have told the buyer, or better yet just had it checked before selling it on. As far as I was aware it has been given the green light two weeks ago

    • +1 vote

      This is the perfect response to the buyer, just tell them it was checked over by the dealer and they didn't say anything about the recall. Its not your responsibility to continually check for recalls.


      such people sadly exist everywhere, do not engage with him, ignore and move on. You have done nothing wrong at all and this is the sort of person you will NEVER be able to make happy and honestly it just aint your problem. If you wrapped the car up restored it to perfect new condition and handed it to him on a silver platter for cut price cost he would still find something to whine about.


      They batch them together so they only have to deal with a limited numbers of cars at a time, rather than every owner coming in and having to wait for parts and labour. Takata airbags are ongoing because there just wasn't millions of airbags sitting in a warehouse waiting for the recall.

        • +12 votes

          That is all BS. But I believe you did not aim to mislead on this sale. All you have to do is ignore the buyer's BS

            • +4 votes

              @Sashy: That link is a waste of time. It has nothing scientific and is merely a journo ‘filling space’.

            • +5 votes


              I have heard from at least two coworkers who used to use the cheapest fuel

              So, they are scientists or petrochemical/automotive engineers? Or just talking shit around the water cooler?

              Chatting to mechanics will also substantiate there is safety in using better quality fuel

              I am a mechanic, and while your statement is true, it is wrongly attributed and has no relevance to the RON. RON is NOT a measure of a fuels quality. It is a measure of a fuels ability to resist pre-ignition. Higher RON =/= better quality. If you think it does, you have been suckered by the fuel marketing machine.

              Good quality fuel is important, but you cannot tell how good a fuel is by reading the RON number off the pump.

              Did you even read that article, or just google what you needed and posted the top link that was returned??

              • Some engines will perform better on high-octane fuels while others will show no obvious benefit.
              • Anecdotal reports (ie: opinion based, not science based) suggest that some cars produce better fuel consumption on premium fuels, although in most cases this alone is unlikely to offset the increased fuel costs.

                @pegaxs: My understanding is that certain cars are made to run on certain fuels and their engines and ECUs and everything internal run properly when you use the right RON for that car.

              • -3 votes

                @pegaxs: So let me get this right..

                You're a mechanic who says that a higher octane fuel's ability to resist knocking in a vehicle has no relevance to its quality as a fuel..

                Lets just re-introduce leaded fuels and we can all use lower quality fuels that resist knocking.

                • +2 votes

                  @Revrnd: RON is not a measure of “quality”. If you think it is, I suggest you read up on what RON stands for and what it measures.

                  And the rest of your post is troll drivel.

                  • -2 votes

                    @pegaxs: next you'll be telling me bearing load tests with oils like Royal Purple are just numbers and aren't reflective of real world performance. but what do I know, I'm not a mechanic, just a car enthusiast.

          • +7 votes

            @pao2x: It is mostly, but like all things depends.

            I've worked on lots of fuel systems, cleaned hundreds of injectors. Rebuilt lots of engines, complex and simple. My advice after seeing water damage in fuel systems and hunted the causes many times, is simple:

            1. Beware of your fuel sources. Some stations have old tanks, or don't maintain them very well. Others don't sell down and refill their tanks as often as others. The enemy of your car and its fuel is actually water: Specifically condensation and humidity in the air in the tank above it, at the fuel station, in your car's tank, etc. Some merchants don't drain/siphon the water very often, or don't sell much fuel so the average age of the fuel they sell is weeks, rather than a few days old. Every day it sits in the tank is another 24hr condensation cycle, so when come along to buy it, it comes with a little extra water content.
              Some service stations even substitute/mix fuels to reduce purchase cost. Years ago there was a racket exposed where some franchisees had been using tank loads of toluene, not too far different from kerosene. I don't know if they mixed this with all their fuels, but the financial incentive to mix a cheaper substitute with 98 is greater than with 91, so people buying 98 from them may have been getting the opposite of what they had expected. No doubt it still occurs.

            2. If you don't use your car very much, topping off the tank with a higher rated fuel (e.g. if it takes 91, use 95, if 95, use 98) than your car needs will help it stay reliable for longer. When fuel is left to stand it loses its volatility, so doing this will result in your car consuming fuel in a range closer to its designed rating.

            3. Always keep a full tank, as the smaller the pocket of air above the fuel is, the less water will condense out of it at night, and end up in the fuel. This will help the fuel system last (water forms acids in fuel), and helps the engine maintain cleaner combustion.

            4. Avoid fuel with ethanol in it. All engines become less powerful with it, as it contains less energy. Most actually run less efficiently with this fuel, and its price does not adequately reflect the increased consumption it will cause. However the total cost of using it over the long term is significant, but many think otherwise as the problems onset gradually (see #5), and don't become obvious until its too late.

            5. Ethanol rich fuel is much more hygroscopic than petroleum, meaning it absorbs more water. Given a number of common circumstances, this leads to trouble in any fuel system. Despite what any government or vendor tells you, it simply cannot be assumed safe for use. Here's why:

            6. But ethanol fuel is acidic so can clean out my system: There seems to be an old wives' tail that mechanics mention occasionally, that it's good to use ethanol fuel at the beginning of a large trip because it can help to clean out the system. I've never seen any science on this. It is probably because they've seen the damage that acid and the water has caused to fuel systems in cars that have sat for a while, so think the fuel itself is acidic.

            7. This is wrong- my car is 'ethanol compatible'! If your car has a plastic tank and stainless steel lines, etc. you might have read something about it being 'ethanol' compatible. However as E91 or E94 attracts more water over time, and the water forms acids as it sits and/or changes temperature throughout the day, this will impact you at some point. For example, if leaving it sit for a long period of time it will damage seals, lines, pumps, injectors and other parts of the fuel system much faster, and end up requiring expensive repair long before the end of the service life is reached for other parts.

            8. When can I use ethanol fuel? Really only one thing is certain, you never want to leave ethanol rich fuel in the car for a long period. About the only time I'd be happy buying it would be prior to driving the kind of distance that will need several tanks. in which case the first fill ups can be an ethanol fuel mix, but the last will be what sits in the car for a while once I get there. So that last fill should be a normal fuel without any ethanol.


              @resisting the urge: This is why I read you should always keep a receipt. Occasionally, there will be bad fuel going around at a servo and the receipt helps prove that you filled up there.


              @resisting the urge: You day ‘if you don’t use your car much’ but what does that mean in the real world. Less than weekly, less than monthly every second day?


                @Euphemistic: I'd describe it as mostly short trips, each one defined by a trip under half an hour between which the engine cools.

                But, if you do one trip for longer, say once each week or every 10th time you use the car, and I'm thinking here it is an hour on >80kmh road, then the fuel and oil won't be so compromised for two reasons: The oil gets to temperature and has some time to burn off the water it collects, and in the fuel tank, water and acid has time to mix up into the fuel. The point here is to prevent water accumulating at too high a rate in the fuel, as well as the engine and driveline oil sumps- and doing this one bigger trip helps to make up for a week of small trips.

                That said, if you leave it unused for days on end, and fill up at >2 week intervals, the fuel has ample opportunity to absorb water from diurnal temp change. Keeping it topped off reduces the amount it absorbs, but cars are only designed to last doing bigger trips. If you seldom do long trips, the oils will need changing more often- twice to three times the normal service interval, and you should top the fuel off each week. If you don't use a tank's worth of fuel more often than say, once a month, add a smidge (30ml) of fuel stabiliser to the fuel, before topping it off. It's easy to keep a little bottle and a 50ml syringe to do it with, in the trunk.

                I hope that helps.


                  @resisting the urge: I think you just described how 90% of drivers use their cars.


                    @Euphemistic: Which is why fuel has modifiers in it to retain water in solution, so by using up the tank you remove a large amount of the water that is there.

                    And why a normal car will have problems with its fuel system after 10 years or less of normal use. Try to keep it topped off, avoid ethanol fuels and your car'll run better, and you'll save money on repairs and hassle

                    But no matter what be sure that if you leave it with an empty tank for a long time, water will build up to levels that begin to cause problems.

            • -2 votes

              @resisting the urge: So much misinformation in this post I'm not sure where to start.
              Beware of people who begin their rant posts with qualifying statements like this guys.


                @kouk: "This common household post could kill your car. Tune in next week to find out more."


                @kouk: You mistake what I say, and I covered more than just fuel, trying to be clear. Sorry if it was a bit long.

                TL/DR is that acid and water build-up only becomes a problem when left for a long time or it is more often left empty than full. If you keep your car topped up, it will prevent problems happening. And when leaving for a long time, make the effort to run it down first, and fill with non-ethanol fuel before leaving.

                Keeping it topped off instead of running it down all the time actually reduces load and heat on the fuel pump too, having a direct effect on its longevity. Any mechanic will tell you that.


                  @resisting the urge: But running a full tank costs me fuel in extra weight to drag around.


                    @Euphemistic: True that, if using the car regularly, and re-filling each time it gets down to half-full, the difference in average consumption would be about 0.05%.

                    You can make up for that by changing from carrying a space-saving spare wheel instead of a normal tyre.

                    And as many have said before, you can even save the same amount again by leaving the spare tyre at home, and having an emergency plan for getting a flat.

                    BTW, 0.05% is based on one tank every 2 weeks, which on average, creates problems within the normal lifetime of the car. This will be many years earlier if you use E10. But this is all assuming your particular model was built with good engineering and the right parts in the fuel system. Over the last few decades, manufacturers have been cheapening material things as well as improving others, and cars with half the normal design life have become the norm. A lot of this is because shorter designed-life allows them to replace stainless steel or alloys with plastics that disintegrate. And, by no co-incidence, after decades of making engines, many still manage to use the wrong sealing materials in many applications, and markets, so very difficult to get at leaks occur, as well as simple things like air ingress around fuel injectors happens earlier. And others simpler repairs often require specialised procedures and the replacement of expensive plastic parts, or worse, OE ones at heavily jacked prices)

                    All this impacts owners MUCH more than it used to, but is easily avoided by not using cheap fuels from dodgey servos, ethonol-laced fuels that actually contain less energy, and attack your car 24x7 from the inside. Then, and only then, for optimum longevity, I suggest top it off rather than run it dry.

                    BUT- if you have an old car that is likely already down the path a ways, maybe practice topping it off all the time rather than tempt fate!

                    If OTOH you have a new Hybrid that proudly states 'E10 safe' on the filler cap, don't… sure you may sell it in 3 years and never be affected, but it won't buying E10 doesn't save you anything at a 2-4c discount, and can still affect you like a fellow I met yesterday- he left his 500km old Hybrid for 6 months, which a) won't now start, b) has water in the tank which has made the hybrid engine run poorly and throw codes, intermittently shut down and has flattened expensive batteries again. Towed to Toyota, they want $3000 to run a bottle of fuel system cleaner through it, all because it refuses to run without the ECU telling it to shut down….


                      @resisting the urge: On the other hand, the Aussie car fleet has an average age of over 10 years and I’d wager the vast majority run to near empty and fill fortnightly or less. By that, what you are saying is a catastrophe is more likely to be rare or at least uncommon. Combine that with once a vehicle gets to 10yo or over a couple hundred thousand it isn’t worth much and the tech has moved on a lot most people would think that the average lifespan is pretty suitable.

                      Do agree though, they don’t make em like they used to - but maybe that’s not such a bad thing to get the old polluters off the roads.


                        @Euphemistic: Sort of. The problems are increasing in cost and frequency, and are proportional to the uptake of E10 use IMHO.

                        Things are changing because Oz used to be a country of low fuel-system problems. Our fuels were of a consistently high quality. Not so much now, thanks to E10 supplementation not renewing our refineries in favour of importing refined stock.

                        The thing that makes an old car worth something, is if it is reliable. That is proportional to the way it runs. EFI engines cannot run for long if they combust poorly. They actually become impossible to operate, unlike the engines of old. Even modern cars can be reliable- I'd argue that with all our learning, modern technology and new materials, we could make them last longer. Instead, in order to destroy the environment faster, we make them last less long.

                        What makes a car pollute (apart from the pollution producing it in the first place, which is worse) is how its maintained, not so much how its built.

                        If they were built to be maintained, let alone designed to last, the old polluters would not be old polluters.

                        That isn't to say that a basement POS made to a price by a POS manufacturer would be any better, but most would. That said, a bad engine can easily last 500k over 12 years if well maintained, a good one can go far longer. Make the parts fail early, and make them expensive, and 2nd hand prices simply collapse as the new market expands. And the overall carbon impact with it.


                          @resisting the urge:

                          What makes a car pollute

                          My comment was mostly directed at newer cars having better efficiency, some of that is offset by the additional weight of all the extra equipment installed and our penchant for larger vehicles but there is no denying that newer cars on the whole use less fuel than their equivalent from yesteryear.


                            @Euphemistic: Yes, but its not engines that really improve, (performance increases yes, but efficiency is improving only incrementally, and requires things like more refined fuels (increased refining causes pollution)), and all the while longevity is reducing as production impact increases.

                            Its mostly more expensive transmissions (more gears, CVTs) that net us the improvements, even a new, small hybrid uses 4l/100. An economy combustion engine in the same car only uses moderately more fuel, but the base production costs (and impacts) are several orders of magnitude worse in comparison, so operational economy pales in significance.

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