I agreed to buy a secondhand car from a friend of a distant relative. The sale was already concluded as we have signed the deed of sale and I have paid the price. Unknown to us, the car was hit by a passenger jeepney right before we concluded the sale and its rear end was severely damaged. I am having second thoughts about accepting the car. What are my options?
Under the law, you as the buyer of the damaged car have two options. One is to withdraw from the sale and recover the amount you paid to the owner of the car or continue with the sale and pay the agreed price thereof in its current state. This is clearly provided by Article 1493 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines as follows:
“Art. 1493. If at the time the contract of sale is perfected, the thing which is the object of the contract has
been entirely lost, the contract shall be without any effect.
But if the thing should have been lost in part only, the vendee may choose between withdrawing from the contract and demanding the remaining part, paying its price in proportion to the total sum agreed upon.”
If you opt to withdraw from the contract of sale, you are entitled to recover what you have paid to the car owner. You may demand from the latter the exact amount you handed to him/her without need of a court order.
On the other hand, if you push through with the sale, you may likewise recover what you have paid but only with regard to the difference between the original price and the price agreed upon after the car was partially damaged when it was hit by another vehicle. Perhaps, the best thing to do is to have the car appraised before settling the price of the damaged car.
In any case, you may compel the vendor to refund whatever amount he/she ought to give back to you.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org