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Warning over second hand cars

5th September 2016

Warning To Consumers Over Second Hand Cars
Consumers in Nottinghamshire are being urged to avoid being caught out when buying a second hand car by following five key tips issued today by the County Council.

Problems with second hand cars remain the most common issue that consumers raise complaints about after falling victim to rogue sellers or unknowingly buying a problem vehicle.

There were 6,098 complaints from East Midland’s consumers in relation to second hand cars in the year 2015/16.

The most common reported issues were defective goods (73%), misleading claims omissions (11%), substandard services (5%) and business practices (3%).

A total of 1,520 of these complaints came from consumers in Nottinghamshire, amounting to 15 percent of all complaints received by the County Council’s Trading Standards team.

Additionally, the rise of car sales on online auction sites, online dealers and sales on social media has meant that many people are buying from a person whom they do not know how to locate should problems arise in future.

Some of the most common issues experienced by consumers include:

• traders denying buyers of their legal rights by posing as private sellers
• failing to tell consumers about known problems with the car or past history such as category C or D write off
• misleading claims in adverts or during the sales pitch, and hiding faults in the car
• poor after sales care when rectifying faults, such as traders passing the buck to the warranty company when consumers have rights with the seller
• looking at the vehicle’s history and carry out a history check such as HPI to see if it has been involved in any accidents.

The County Council has produced some top tips for consumers who are looking to buy a used car:

• research the seller – shop around, look for customer reviews of the dealership online and ask friends and family
• ask questions – ask the dealer about the condition of the car, repairs carried out on the car, and the relevant documentation for the car such as MOT certificates, service history and the V5C registration document (logbook)
• check the car over – take a mechanic with you to view and inspect the car before purchase, and always take the car for a test drive;
• be aware of sales patter – ensure any verbal claims made by the salesman are put in writing.

Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, Chair of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Community Safety Committee, said: “Every year hundreds of people fall victim to rogue sellers and end up buying a second hand car with a catalogue of problems they weren’t aware of.

“This is why we have put together some top tips to help consumers avoid getting caught out by rogue sellers or by purchasing a problem vehicle in the first place.

“Many people are often unaware of their rights as a consumer when buying a second hand car, not knowing that any faults that appear within the first 30 days will mean the consumer is entitled to a refund, and a repair or replacement after that.

“We will be taking action against any rogue car trader who persistently and deliberately mis-sells second hand cars.”

For extensive guidance on the used car checks visit

For problems with a second hand car there is help from the Citizens Advice consumer service.

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