Buying and Selling Super and Luxury Cars
Whether it’s for the school run or to add to an existing exotic or rare car collection, buying a car, especially a prestige, performance or supercar is driven by emotion. In the supercar market, the sexy sleek lines, luxurious cabin and blistering performance all make for a buying decision driven by the heart, rather than the head. This, in conjunction with an inherent predisposition to trust the seller, can be a recipe for disaster.
Since entering private practice in 2015, Philip Harmer has advised clients and resolved disputes involving everything from Aston Martin to Bentley and Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche, Rolls Royce and pretty much everything in between, in the UK, Europe, United Arab Emirates, USA and Australia.
Philip has been involved in repairing, restoring, buying and selling luxury and performance cars for more than 30 years, during which time he has acquired unrivalled expertise in the motor industry.
It is this experience and expertise coupled with his reputation as an incisive lawyer that has seen him become synonymous with the motor industry and the luxury and supercar market.
Although an admirer of the sculptural elegance and engineering excellence of many of the iconic motor vehicles past and present, he baulks at being labelled a car enthusiast or petrol head. Instead, Philip’s acumen and experience come straight from the coal face of the business, learning vehicles, the motor trade, the language, and the tricks of the trade on his journey to the world of luxury vehicles, classics and supercars; uniquely gaining insight into the dark side of the business, which has boomed with the growth in demand for rare, luxury and supercars both in the UK and Internationally.
Our practice extends to include advising private clients and dealers on all aspects of the law and resolving disputes involving all manner of issues arising from the sale, purchase, restoration and financing of rare, luxury and performance cars.
We aim to resolve complaints and disputes out of court, without resorting to litigation, utilising our experience and knowledge of the subject matter and the industry, relying on tried and tested strategies as well scrutinising the evidence to demonstrate the strength and versatility of the claim or defence. These include:
CONSUMER RIGHTS or SALE OF GOODS ACTThe Consumer Rights Act provides consumers with implied statutory rights regarding the quality and description of the vehicle; the Sale of Goods Act applies to non-consumer cases.
MISREPRESENTATIONFalse information provided by the seller, such as service history, provenance, mileage, accident damage or repairs, which created a false impression on which the buyer relied to their detriment.
CONSUMER PROTECTIONConsumer protection laws cover two areas: failure by the seller to disclose information which would, if known, affect the decision to buy, or misleading practises or product safety where there has been a car fire or other serious safety issue.
IDENTITY DISPUTESThere are instances where one car or more has the same chassis number or VIN as others, often referred to as ‘cloning’. There is also a rise in car ‘ringing’ where a heavily damaged, unrecorded vehicle is bought simply for its identity, the chassis tags, VIN etc, the ‘donor’ car. A similar vehicle is stolen, and the identity replaced with donor car’s before being sold.
TITLE DISPUTESThere are cases where a car owner may, for example, leave a vehicle with an agent or dealer for them to sell on a sale or return basis or for customisation, during which time the vehicle is sold to another person without the proceeds being remitted to the original owner, creating a title conflict. Or cars which have been sold with undisclosed finance outstanding, resulting in the finance company claiming title to the vehicle.
Your Protection – Purchasing a Supercar or Hypercar
Stormcatcher provides a discreet service for purchasers of supercars, hypercars, collectable sports and competition cars, to provide comfort that you’re getting what you think or have been led to believe you’re buying. Often vehicles are sold by intermediaries, brokers or dealers on sale or return or consignment basis, leading to the vehicle being misrepresented, overpriced or worse.
In a bid to take out the uncertainty and avoid catastrophe, we rely on expertise, industry contacts and confidentiality. Our service can include investigations into the provenance, service history and title as well as expert inspection on all aspects of the vehicle to ensure as best as one can, that there are no hidden nightmares.
We can negotiate the price and the terms of contract, draft the documents, assist with logistics, restoration and facilitate introductions to sellers, dealers and manufacturers.
Poor Customisation and Modification
The vehicle personalisation market has grown in line with the sales market with owners spending anything from £5,000 on vehicle wrapping to well over £250,000 to personalise their luxury and performance vehicles with carbon fibre aesthetics, engine tuning, handling and wheel upgrades, re-upholstering, and bespoke coachworks.
If done properly, the end result can be a masterpiece that will send the value of your Bentley, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche or McLaren into the stratosphere or, in a worst-case scenario, leave it a cosmetic abomination.
Problems are not just about poor workmanship and damage to supercars at the hands of a butcher but can lead to even more serious situations such as title disputes if the rogue sells the car in the meantime.
We can investigate, assist with disputes and settle modification and customisation disputes.