Standards for used car dealers set

* High volume of consumer complaints for dealers * 20% of used car customers had complaint * Motor Codes to set up code of conducts for used cars...

Standards for used car dealers set

Dodgy motor traders could be in for a rough ride, because Motor Codes is looking to help clean up used car sales.

Launched in 2008, Motor Codes is a self-regulatory scheme designed by the car industry to protect consumers. Originally created to address the rising number of complaints about servicing and car repairs, it has expanded to include codes of conduct for new car sales and vehicle warranty policies.

Each year, complaints about used car dealers have consistently topped the list of problems reported to Consumer Direct, the governments consumer helpline.

In the first six months of 2010, it received over 38,000 complaints about second-hand car sales, up 18% compared with the same period last year.

However, now Motor Codes is determined to help the industry clean up its act. Chris Mason, director of Motor Codes said: 'We know from research, conducted through the Office of Fair Trading, that there are still big issues clouding consumer confidence when buying a used car.

In 2009, the OFT launched an investigation into the second-hand car business, and concluded that almost a fifth of buyers experienced a problem with the car after they bought it, and that around 30% ended up fixing the fault themselves, spending an average of 465.

The OFT also issued guidelines for car dealers, which included being open and honest about a vehicle's history, ensuring that cars are of a satisfactory quality and that no underhand tactics are used to persuade buyers.

Motor Codes aims to build on this work, by consulting with the motor trade to understand the key issues and drawing up a code of conduct that business can sign up to.

'We'll set out a clear set of guidelines that quality used car retailers will abide by so that we can purchase a used car knowing that its history is sound and that it's going to work the way it's expected to.

'It sounds simple and, in fact, the vast majority of garages and car retailers out there already work to very high standards,' said Mason.

For more information on Motor Codes visit or call 0800 692 0825.