OFT slag off secondhand car dealers
In January, we told you about the 10 most complained about things in Britain. Topping the list, somewhat unsurprisingly, was second hand car dealers.
The fair trading watchdog has now delivered a damning verdict on the industry yet noticed that, after a nine-month study of the market, existing laws were sufficient to clean up the sector.
The industry said car buyers should ensure they use a reputable garage that is a member of a trade association, which implies that, if you don't, you deserve everything you get. That didn't stop 650,000 people complaining about the vehicles obtained from dealers (complaints made to Consumer Direct if you're wondering).
Apparently, under the Sale of Goods Act, a secondhand dealer should resolve a problem with either a refund, repair or replacement if the vehicle was defective when sold. This advice comes on the back of 67% of people complaining about used-motors saying that within a month of purchase, something went wrong.
Okay, so we know what secondhand dealers are supposed to do, but the report says that nearly 30% of buyers complained that they didn't have their problem rectified and instead, forked out an average of £425 to get it fixed.
On top of faulty goods, other complaints included gripes about secondhand car dealers pretending to be private sellers, unlawful use of contractual disclaimers which say vehicles are "sold as seen" and offer "no refunds" and, of course, that old chestnut of whacking the price of a car up after 'clocking' it. It's thought that one in eight cars have a "mileage discrepancy", according to the HPI checking service.
That said, the OFT report concluded that existing laws are sufficient for dealing with rogue traders.
AA president Edmund King said the report gave more weight to the fact that buyers should "use their heads not their hearts" when purchasing a vehicle.