Complaint about privately bought goods that don’t match seller’s description

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What's a template complaint about privately bought goods that don’t match the seller’s description, and when do you need one?

Use this letter for:

  • any privately bought items, such as cars, furniture, food, in England and Wales
  • that you may have purchased online and/or via advertisements e.g. in newspapers,
  • which you did not have chance to inspect and
  • which, when they arrive, do not match the seller’s description and
  • are not what you had been led to believe you were buying.

If you’re a business wanting to complain about another business, not a consumer, please use our separate business complaints suites.

Whatever your complaint, it’s always advisable to give the seller a chance to remedy the situation and this letter is drafted for that purpose.

Faulty goods and your consumer rights

Consumers buying from a private seller are legally entitled to goods that match their description at/before the point of sale. If they don’t, the private seller is in breach of their contract with you; although while they can’t misrepresent what’s on sale, the private seller is not legally obliged to point out any faults with what you’re buying.

However, sorting out a breach can be challenging. If the private seller doesn’t consider they’re at fault/in breach, you’ll have to try mediation or alternative dispute resolution or the small claims court.

Help now and later

If you’d like help with your complaint and/or considering your options, you can use our speak to an adviser service, where a qualified expert can talk you through your options and help you to decide the right next steps for you.

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