Good news for the car buying public, the OFT are reaffirming their commitment to crackdown on rogue dealers who sell dodgy used cars from their forecourts.
As we know the selling of unfit, clocked or simply dangerous cars, despite recent advances in systems designed to stop these practices, is still a widespread practice which costs the consumer a staggering £600 million per year.
Most of us have had some experience of a substandard car or know someone who has had a bad experience which has ultimately caused disappointment and cost them money. The fact that it is not illegal to actually adjust or “correct” the mileage on a car and that there are several companies offering this service indicates that there is bound to be those that use these facilities to declare genuine mileage which is incorrect. They can get away with offering such a service because in the rare event that a car has a broken odometer and is fitted with a second-hand replacement, the devices can be legally altered.
According to the OFT many traders pass themselves off as private sellers in order to avoid the obligations of law which do not count when it comes to private sales and can therefore lead to the passing off of clocked cars to buyers who have zero comeback.
Consumers should ensure they are familiar with the sale of goods act and that they are buying from a reputable source. In a nutshell the sale of goods act 1979 states that what you buy must be ‘as described’, ‘of satisfactory quality’, and ‘fit for purpose’
In our experience it is the car that stands out, the one that is too cheap to be true. These are the cars where buyers get caught out in their quest to find a bargain. They will often ignore their normal instincts in the face of a low price which could ultimately cost them dear.
Here are some simple steps we would advise before parting with any money from dealers of any sort;
A current V5 and Mot certificate .
A car data check from Experian or HPI.
A warranted mileage guarantee is essential.
At least some kind of evidence of a maintenance schedule.
If a buyer fails to do at least these things they are leaving themselves wide open to being sold a dud.
In reality however most dealers are genuine traders and will willingly produce any documented evidence of a cars history and pedigree and indeed would use it to justify the price and the confidence they want to project to their potential customers.
We continue to see a rise in complaints to the OFT specifically about used cars and although at first that may seem depressing it could also indicate that more unhappy customers are educating themselves to who and where to complain to in the hope of achieving a satisfactory outcome if they feel they have been cheated.