When does a car seller become a trader?

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When does a car seller become a trader?

Apr 21, 2003
Anybody who has bought or looked at cars on ebay know the situation....

Have looked at two ebay cars and both were exactly the same situation; bloke bought from auction and tried to make a quick profit, feedback and previous items shows that they do it fairly often.

So how come people can get away with doing this? I always thought that if you made money out of selling cars you have bought to sell you would have to be registered as a trader (and therefore have business registered premises, be it a house or otherwise). Am I wrong? In addition to this, since they are acting as a trader, the cars need to be road worthy etc. when sold since it can't be a "trade" sale?

You can spot them on ebay from a mile away and I will never look at a car in that situation again, total waste of time it seems. Apparently ebay don't get and don't have any restrictions on how many cars you can sell etc.

Some sellers are genuine garages of course who use ebay for extra advertising etc. but most are just blokes trying to make a quick buck, which I am not against, but I am trying to figure out whether they are breaking any laws?
because its an auction, its classed as a "sold as seen". there has been many many cases of traders flogging there rubbish to innocent victims. the victim has tried to reject the car and this has led to a dispute and bad feedback. we have all read feedback that is negative.
in the eyes of the trading standards, you are classiified a trader after selling about 6 cars in one year. now trading standards should really have a field day with ebay. but at the moment, they seem to turn a blind eye. its buyer beware iam afraid.:rolleyes:
Well there must be hundreds if not 1000+ people selling 6+ cars on ebay per year, it's silly.

The thing about ebay being an "auction" is only true to a point though since it's not under the same rules as say a motor auction since ebay isn't a motor auction. I thought anyway....I am probably wrong.

When I have some time I am going to email trading standards and ask why they are turning a blind eye, I am sure ebay could provide such information within minutes by looking at completed sales for each user within the motoring section!
dave said:
general rule with my local paper is 4 cars a year, any more and you can only advertise it as trade
auto trader is i think 6. quite agree though. it is silly all these people pretending to be private people. it needs tightening up now.
you see the common advert. bought car for wife, she does not like it or its too big for her. bulls**t(n)
Always seen that one Dave, guess never realised before it could be the seller being economical with the truth! Nice thing with ebay is that it is so easy to check but why should I have to?

I know dealers buy at auctions and resell at retail BUT ebay isn't retail. Both the blokes selling the meganes my parents looked at were typical dodgy sellers (one if you remember doctored the photos!).

Will let you know what trading standards says to me when I email, they are usually quite good at replying but I expect this issue is a little complex. I guess if ebay forced people who sold more than x cars/year to put (T) at the end of the title it would help.

As a person wanting to buy from a private seller I find it so irritating. I want to know the history of the car, the type of person that owned it, I want all the receipts and first hand knowledge of what they feel is bad about the car when questioned, I want the car to be priced accordingly and not just buy a glasses value...

I don't want dodgy answers like "the V5 is in the post I bought it from an auction" and I don't want "small dent on door barely visible" turning into a huge dent with certainly requires door replacement! I also don't want "slight scrape" turning into a seriously damaged rear wing, it's a lot more difficult to lie about your own car IMO than a car that you are just passing through. I find private sellers more honest, especially if they know you are travelling 100miles to see a car, these pseudo-traders on ebay don't care.

If I wanted to buy from somebody who deals in cars I would buy retail...not from some 'fly boy' working out of his garage. Lots of people on NFH (neighbours from hell) website are complaining about people doing this.

/rant ;)

I am also not saying all people that flog a few cars on ebay are dodgy although it sounds like it, just a few bad experiences don't impress me and I certainly think a distinction needs to be made between private and pseudo-traders on ebay.
Well seen as you know they are traders you only bid up to trade price or value of vehicle ;)
My local paper only allows 2 every 6 months but people i know have got around this by only using landline numbers twice and then after that using mobile numbers. I,m sure tho you are allowed to sell 6 per year.It really is a complicated issue as far as being classed as a trader regarding guarantees, i believe auto trader have a piece on it at the front few pages (I may be wrong)
Steve said:
I easily sold 6 cars in 2005, but I'm not a trader, I just like changing cars often.
in the eyes of trading standards, the 7th makes you a trader whether you class yourself one or not. but a trader is classed as someone who profits out of a deal. how many cars did you sell with a profit steve? not many i bet. i know trading standards are always scanning classifies. they pop your tel no in their computer and wait for it to flag a number up. recently, a guy who lives round the corner who was claiming benefits was done by trading standards for selling cars from home. he had sold 14 cars in 6 mths. lost his benefits and got a hefty fine and has to pay back some monies:rolleyes:
same here, I buy sell cars all the time, becuase I either get bored with them after a few weeks, or myboss decidesto give me a compagny car for like the 20th time this year, only to take it back like 2 months later. :bang:

But on the topic.
E-bay aint that much over here (the netherlands) we have something simular, but it's not auction based.
More like the classifieds but then online (they sold the whole concept/website thing last year to the e-bay compagny.. made like a zillion bucks out of it..(y) )

On that site there is no differnece between traders and private sellers, I think it has the same option as e-bay, on wich you can see everything else the bloke has for sale.

But besides the fact they try to fool you into thinking they are private seller, normaly they price the car in such a way, it's either way cheaper then simular cars on the same site, or have really dodgy advert lines (indeed selling due to a compagny car is something that is like standard on all adverts).

But I am kinda on the same line as dunc, if the price/deal is right I don't mind it being a dodgy bloke trying to make some quick cash.
If I want full service history, a nice and trusty story on the car, I know that is gonna cost more, or I need to travel longer.

I been to so many camper vans (is that even the english word for it..??) all over the country, and indeed most solled by dodgy blokes who try to fool you into believing they are private sellers.

But good thing is, with the reg plate number and a certain dutch website (made by the goverment) you can see most of the cars details, including the date it was registered with the currunt owner/seller.
If that's like 2 weeks ago, I don't even bother to call them.

But even privat sellers take the **** outta you some times.
I once called for a van, he mailed me like 30 pictures from all sorts of different angles of the van.
I told/asked him if there was nothing wrong with the car besides the stuff he all ready told me..
and he prommised me there wasn't.
I asked a copule of times, and told him I had to travel like 3 hours for it, take a day out of work for it, stuff like that.
He kept on promising that there was like nothing wrong with it.

When we arrived even my misses saw the state of the car in like 10 seconds, it looked like a ****ing train ran over it, and the bits and pieces where glued back on..
I told him this and he looked like a 3 year old denying everything I said, offering me the keys to take it for a test drive..
Both me and me misses just turned round and left, for another 3hours drive back..

oi long story, but meaning that both privat sellers and traders pull some dodgy tricks, and aslong as the price is right, the car is okay, it could be worht it. In my humble opinion..:D
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I guess Ebay is the same as those 'private' sellers who always have a car for sale outside their houses - you must have seen them. Just parked on a pavement or bit of land but always selling a car.

The biggest issue I have with this sort of thing (and to a large extent ebay in general) is that a lot of the people on there are receiving undeclared income. I run a legitimate business that takes lots of my spare time but makes sod all money in the great scheme of things. However, I declare it properly and have the burden of self assessment and tax to pay on it all.

I reckon if I made one mistake on my declared income then IR would be down on me like a ton of bricks - whereas ebay seems to full of people who are getting away with murder, so to speak.