OFT slag off secondhand car dealers

swiss_tony_203x152In 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.



  • Warwick H.
    I canna believe it, dishonest second hand car dealers, whats the world coming to ?.
  • Gunn
    In fairness most try to sell you a warranty with a used car, which while isn't worth much at all, might cover the basics if something went wrong.
  • casper
    People sometimes expect too much when buying a used car, they forget that they are buying a 2nd hand item. Used cars have often covered tens of thousands of miles but buyers expect it to perform like a brand new car just because it is new to them.
  • Find B.
    [...] OFT slag off secondhand car dealers | BitterWallet [...]
  • James
    The OFT are cunts as are Trading Standards. It's all a load of bollocks. The rules only work with traders that give a shit and they are the ones that probably sold you a good car in the first place. I found this out the hard way when I brought a pile of shit and when threatening the trader with the OFT and Trading Standards he nearly choked himself to death with laughter. I then found out he had several other cars for sale, all clocked which I advised my 'case handler'. Did they stop the trader? Did they fuck.
  • Read B.
    [...] OFT slag off secondhand car dealers | BitterWallet [...]
  • Get B.
    [...] OFT slag off secondhand car dealers | BitterWallet [...]
  • Used M.
    [...] OFT slag off secondhand car dealers | BitterWallet [...]
  • Brakes C.
    [...] OFT slag off secondhand car dealers | BitterWallet [...]
  • Mak
    I'm not from any organisation, I bought a lemon of a car last year from dealer. The charming dealer tried everything to get out of it, but I did my research and sent them letters threatening legal action and they took the car back and repaired (almost) everything. I wouldn't expect the OFT or any one of the sort to sort it out. I was happy with using recorded letters the law, the trader and the car at the end of the day. PS in case you are wondering I was ready to go to court! Mak
  • Ed
    I do not agree with some of the above posts as i part exchanged a good car to save money on fuel and ended up with an accident damaged piece of junk,when you buy a car second hand you go into the deal in good faith with the dealer,when they take your money and dont want to know and also then admit that the car was in a crash what are you expected to do?they even told me that the car was fit for purpose?i guess they had been in contact with trading standards from previous car buyers ,i paid 5000 pound for the car and i expected it to be a good car ,since owning it i noticed that parts on the front of the car where dated 2009 yet the car is a 2006,does anybody know what i can do ,or if i have any legal rights here as they did not advertise this car as being in a front end collision,i am also having steering and engine problems ,all advise is very welcome ,it must be against the law to sell a car supposidly experian checked yet crashed before. please email me at [email protected] if you can advise or post o here if my email is blocked .many thanks
  • Ed
    sorry forgot to add the name of the dealer......shaw motors tanhouse lane widnes cheshire ,do your self a favour and stay away from them,bunch of rip off cowboys.
  • elcottero
    I bought a car recently, paid £5000. It turned out to have major defects. Broke down after 3 days, fuse box fault. Then needed brake discs after 3 weeks, lost all the oil from the engine after 6 weeks, needed a new cylinder head gasket. It's now running roughly since the garage I bought it from carried out the cylinder head gasket repair. Now it wont go up a hill without stuttering and juddering. So I have decided to fight back and set up a website www.boughtalemon.co.uk where we can name a shame these crooks. It's still not finished but I should have it up and running soon.
  • Excellent
    Thank you for spending some time and sharing this information with us all. It was in fact very beneficial and informative while being straight forward and to the point.
  • Don C.
    Check out Arnoldsucks.com before buying a car from Arnold Clark !! Arnold Sucks ia a homage to his "wonderful" customer care . e.g Someone complained that the boot was filling with rain water - Arnold repair idea - they drilled a hole in the boot where the water collected - a new seal on the boot - Not likely !! However if anyone is dissatisfied by a car dealer just remember - Petrol is highly explosive if mishandled !! Most car dealers are not fully aware of that but are easily reminded !!
  • vancouver p.
    Magnificent website. A lot of useful information here. I'm sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you in your effort!

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