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Know What You are Buying

My tennis partner, last Tuesday, reminded me of John Keats’ often quoted opening line from his poem Endymion after I played a particularly good backhand, ‘a thing of beauty is a joy forever’, he said.  He may have been exaggerating a touch and Keats was actually referring to something other than tennis but it did go to show that descriptions of one thing can be used to describe something else so long as they are accurate.

This is certainly the case when it comes to estate agents’ descriptions of houses but they and we, their commercial cousins, are constrained by the Property Misdescriptions Act and must be very careful.

Misdescription can be expensive.  I bought an old car recently.  It was described as having a rebuilt engine.  It didn’t but it has now because the seller knew that if he wanted to get his price – it needed a full engine rebuild not a partial rebuild.

We look for honesty and those with a reputation for honesty will, or should, flourish.  There will always be differences of opinion but differences of fact are irreconcilable if left.  But how do we know who is telling the truth?  How do we know what is fact and what is fiction?  We either have knowledge and experience of our own to call upon or we pay for it.

In the case of my car, I took along an experienced mechanic familiar with the marque.  It cost me several hundreds of pounds and a full day to inspect and ultimately reject the car.  The seller and I had a difference of opinion of what had been described but, due to the superior knowledge of the mechanic, he was able to prove that the engine did indeed need rebuilding despite work which had undoubtedly been done on it.

Ultimately the seller had to accept that the additional work was needed to get his price. Frankly, had I not had the mechanic I might have bought the pretty shiny blue car but the specialist saved me thousands.

Enough said?

Written by Mark S. Hanson

March 2016

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