UK prime minister David Cameron is one of the world leaders and public figures that the British public would be least likely to buy a second-hand car from, a new survey has found.
Research published by Craigslist has found that the Conservative Party MP has come near the bottom of its list of public officials that car insurance customers would purchase a new vehicle from.
The only political leader that was seen to be less trustworthy was former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was found guilty of providing false testimony in 1990, as well as being implicated in a string of sex scandals while leading the country.
Which world leaders would we buy a used car from?
On the opposite side of the scales, US president Barack Obama was found to be the world leader Brits would be most willing to buy a second-hand car from. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, former lawyer and Chicago community organiser attracted trust from twice as many people as the next best leader.
Jim Buckmaster, Craigslist chief executive, said that Obama’s strong popularity has been a key to his success in the role.
He said: “If Obama fails to win re-election next year, he could always launch a used car business in the UK but he should clearly avoid partnering with Silvio Berlusconi, or even David Cameron.”
German chancellor and Forbes’ most powerful woman in the world 2006-2009, Angela Merkel, came in second place, as well as achieving the highest result from a European leader. Merkel, who achieved her position in 2005, is also chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union and has been the president of the European Council and chair of the G8.
Why does the test matter?
People’s willingness to buy a used car has been a measure of the public’s trust in leaders for a long time and has etched itself into the public consciousness.
The selection of used cars as the product of choice is fitting, because the reliability of a vehicle impinges on so many other aspects of a buyer’s life beyond the initial sale, including car insurance and safety.
Originating during the presidency of Richard Nixon, when the phrase ‘Would you want to buy a used car from him?’ was used in election campaigns, it has become a bellwether for the electorates’ views of different public figures.
Mr Buckmaster said that it is becoming increasingly important to ask the question of all politicians.
How important is it to deal with a trustworthy salesman?
Untrustworthy salesman are famously hard to deal with and a number of consumer watchdogs have issued guidance on how to find those who are on the straight and narrow.
Which? Car has criticised the number of car dealers who are failing to disclose how much interest they will be paying for vehicles bought through car finance deals.
Its undercover investigation found that many dealers failed to mention the APR payable under these deals and in 2010 one in three did not include this information on their written quote. This breaches the rules laid down in the Consumer Credit Act as it makes it impossible for customers to work out how much money they will actually be spending.
Peter Vicary-Smith, chief executive of the watchdog, contrasted these practices with those when people try and take out a mortgage or loan from the bank.
“We think car finance deals should be conducted in the same way. We urge car buyers to avoid showroom finance deals if they think dealers haven’t given them all the necessary information,” he claimed.
The potential cost to consumers for a £13,000 vehicle bought through hire purchase rather than a bank loan could be an additional £3,000, it warned.
Which? Car’s findings were reported to the Office for Fair Trading, which affirmed that it would be stepping up its enforcement measures in response to the investigation.
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