Used cars: know your rights part 1

  • Buying a used car
  • Don't get ripped off
  • Week-long special series
Know your rights
Know your rights
What Car? has teamed-up with the Government-backed consumer rights organisation Consumer Direct to help you avoid getting ripped off when buying a used car. From explaining your rights through to making a complaint we’ll help you stay one step ahead of unscrupulous car dealers. Join us for our week-long series of reports and advice.

Know your rights
When buying a used car from a dealer it’s vital that you know what you can and can’t expect. This is demonstrated by the fact that in the first half of 2010 there were more than 38,000 complaints submitted to Consumer Direct concerning the purchase of used cars – an increase of almost 20% on the first six months of 2009.

The Office of Fair Trading estimates that buyers spend an average of £425 rectifying faults on used cars that should, in fact, be down to the trader to fix. So, just how do you ensure you’re not taken for a ride when buying used?

Used car buyers are protected under two pieces of consumer law: the Consumer Protection for Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) 2008 and the Sale of Goods Act 1979.

What you need to know
You should expect to be given all the relevant information about a car before you buy, so you don't receive any unpleasant surprises later on. The information should include the number of former keepers, service history and a vehicle history check.

Misleading buyers by giving false information, either verbally or in writing, or omitting information, is covered under the CPRs. This includes failing to inform a buyer if a car has been used as a rental or lease vehicle.

Other common tricks, including exploiting a customer’s emotions to sell them a car are also covered, as are dealers pretending to be private sellers and advertising cars by the side of the road or through classified ads.

Under the Sale of Goods Act, dealers can’t simply rely on a valid MoT certificate and service history as an indication of a car’s roadworthiness. This means a dealer should have no excuse for selling a car that’s not fit for purpose in the first place.

Live Q&A with What Car? and Consumer Direct
If you have any questions relating to problems you've experienced when buying a used car, then join us live on Tuesday, September 21 from 1-2pm when we'll be hosting a live question and answer session with representatives from Consumer Direct. Just log on to the whatcar.com homepage from 1pm.

To make sure you know your rights when buying a used car visit Consumer Direct.

See also
Know your rights – part 2
Know your rights – part 3
Consumer Direct webchat replay


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