Used car buying problems top of complaints list

  • Office of Fair Trading has received 56,000 complaints in 2011
  • Biggest problem reported by used buyers is faults with cars
  • Use Parkers Car History Checks to avoid buying a dodgy car

More consumers have had problems with buying a used car than anything else, according to a report by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

More than 56,000 people have complained, to the OFT-managed organisation Consumer Direct, in the year-to-date.

More than 70% of the complaints were about faults with the cars. 13% of the problems received were about misleading claims or the omission of information by sellers, while almost 7% were made regarding substandard service.

An OFT study published last year also found that consumers were left out of pocket by an average of £425 each, or £85m per year in total. This is as a result of having to fix faults that car dealers were obliged to cover.

The figures were released by the OFT as part of a new ‘Know Your Consumer Rights’ campaign, which aims to warn people about problems they may encounter when buying a used car.

The first step when buying a used car is to make sure that it doesn’t have a murky past, such as outstanding finance or accident damage. You can protect against this with a car history check.

It’s also worth knowing what your consumer rights are when buying a used car. This way, if you do encounter problems, you know the correct actions to take and what you are entitled to.

Michele Shambrook from Consumer Direct said: “We continue to receive a high number of complaints which are often due to some traders refusing to deal with legitimate complaints or provide appropriate compensation."

“We want to help people understand their rights when buying a used car from a dealer and we are working with the industry and local authority trading standards to get this message across.

“Dealers who fail to treat customers fairly or sell cars that are defective could face enforcement action.”

Parkers Top Tip:

If you're looking to buy a car, don't forget to check the Parkers Buying a Car section for advice and information. You can also read the full Parkers car review for more information on cars that you're interested in.