Know your rights when buying a used car!

What are your rights when buying a used car?

Protect Yourself When Purchasing A Used Vehicle. When purchasing a used vehicle from a dealer you are protected by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (usually referred to as the CPR’s) and the Sale of Goods Act 1979 - SoGA (as amended).

What does this mean to you?

The vast majority of all second hand car faults come to light in the first three months after the purchase date. SoGA states that a vehicle must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and fit the description. If it isn’t then the dealer (seller) is legally obliged to sort out the problem.

What is the definition of satisfactory quality?

It is a requirement that the vehicle sold to you should be of a standard that a reasonable person would expect, taking into account a number of factors:

  • Age
  • Value/worth
  • History
  • Mileage
  • Intended use
  • Make
  • Durability
  • Safety
  • Description

You must ensure before taking delivery of a vehicle from a dealer always inspect the bodywork and interior thoroughly and satisfy yourself that the vehicle is in the condition you would expect commensurate with age and mileage. It’s often the case that if you take delivery of a vehicle and then spot a cosmetic issue it’s difficult to ascertain whether that issue was present at the point of delivery or has been the result of an incident that occurred after delivery. It’s also worth ensuring that prior to taking delivery any additional specification you require and believe to be on the vehicle is actually on the vehicle and is functioning correctly for the exact same reasons as above. 

What is the definition of fit for purpose?

You must be able to use the vehicle for the purposes that you would normally expect from a vehicle.

This means not only driving the vehicle from one place to another but doing so with the appropriate degree of comfort, ease of handling and reliability that a reasonable person would expect from that vehicle. If a vehicle keeps breaking down then it is not fit for purpose.

Where you say – or when it should be obvious to the dealer – that the vehicle is wanted for a particular purpose

For example if the customer asks if the vehicle would be suitable to tow a caravan.

What happens if your car develops a fault within six months of the purchase date?

Within the first six months of the date of purchase the dealer has a liability for the vehicle sold to you. Within this period if the car develops a fault that is not due to general wear and tear or damage caused by you, the purchaser or any other driver of that vehicle, then it is recommended that you make contact with the dealer as soon as possible. The dealer has the right to attempt to rectify a recurring fault up to three times so give them that opportunity.

What should I do to ensure that a dealer fulfils their obligation as stated above?

Always, always ensure you allow the selling dealer to identify and rectify the fault within this first six months.

If you decide to self-diagnose using Google or asking ‘friends’ and then decide to carry out the work yourself or get a mate at a local garage to carry out the work you risk mitigating the selling dealers liability. The consequence of this is that it’s very difficult to establish whether any further issues that develop are as a result of the original condition of the vehicle sold or of the work carried out by a third party. The likelihood then is that this will result in protracted and complicated communications between both parties with neither party being satisfied with the final outcome.

Never engage a third party to carry out work on the vehicle within this period and expect the selling dealer to pick up the bill without prior agreement. The selling dealer will not cover the cost without having the opportunity to inspect the car first or have it inspected by a reputable source prior to authorising the work to be carried out.

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