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Does second-hand car market need reform?

11:08 UK time, Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Complaints about second-hand cars increased by 18% in the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2009 according to research by the Office of Fair Trading. Do consumers need better protection?

The report found that many motorists ended up fixing problems with their new purchase themselves, at an estimated average cost of £425, when in fact they were the dealer's obligation to correct.

It also says that the advice service, Consumer Direct, took 38,138 complaints about used vehicles bought from dealers. In March, the OFT published a damning report about the state of the secondhand car market. However, it decided existing laws were sufficient to clean up the sector.

Have you encountered problems buying used cars? Do buyers have enough protection? Are you a used car dealer?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Two words "Caveat Emptor".

    And some advice - if it looks too good, then it probably is!

    I always buy used, but always from main dealers - that way you might not get the cheapest deal, but you always have comeback against a business that isn't like to be a fly by night operator.

  • Comment number 2.

    Let the Buyer Beware!

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    NO. We already have laws and regulations in place to deal with this, we don't need any more bureaucracy, we need less.

  • Comment number 5.

    With any piece of equipment components can fail with little if any warning.
    eg. I had an automatic gearbox totally fail in one week.

    The key points when considering the integrity of a used car dealer is whether he could of been aware of the fault prior to sale and his conduct in dealing with the fault.

    This will sort out the rogues from the genuine traders.

    I am not in the car trade.

  • Comment number 6.

    The add on warranty market needs much better regulation. It seems to be common pratice in the used car market to sell additional warranties with cars. The implication is that these third party warranties excuse the obligations of the seller under the Sales Of Goods Acts. For the most part these warranties are not worth the paper they are written on. The exclude virtually every component which is likely to fail and put in place conditions so onerous that there is virtually no chance of a successful claim.

  • Comment number 7.

    "we buy any car, we buy any car, any, any, any...." ad nauseam

    The adverts do!

  • Comment number 8.

    Yes but who manages it and ensure they keep to the rules ? no one so the whole problem just goes round and round and nothing is done ,

  • Comment number 9.

    Oh please, protect us from the meddling!
    Next you'll only be able to sell your car to a licenced dealer who will somehow never give you more than half what it will sell for on his forecourt the next day.
    To be really honest if I buy a house - a much bigger investment - then its legally 'buyer beware'. The 'survey' is useless (I know I've been sold a pup house with a good survey I paid for), the 'surveyor' can't be sued despite being wrong, the guy took all the fixtures and fittings that should have been left and my expensive solicitor said 'oh well, you could sue him but you'll never get your costs back'.... if anything needs reform its house buying.

    If we let them fiddle with second hand cars the next will be stopping car boots, preventing you giving away Christmas presents, they'll scrap ebay... time to tell them to stop meddling in our lives and get on running the country properly. We got rid of one bunch of interfering good for nothings we don't want more.

  • Comment number 10.

    Surely, from the buyer's point of view, the deciding factor is whether a car comes with a service history. A full service history provides something of a guarantee, and may well also give an indication of how the car has been used. Its absence should be viewed with the greatest suspicion.

  • Comment number 11.

    "if it looks too good, then it probably is!"

    Never a truer word spoken.I think you have to use some common sense.If its a 200 quid banger its going to have faults,If it a 4 or 5 figure car you would be bonkers not to have say the AA check it before handing over your cash,especially on a private sale.Sometimes its the simplest things that can give the game away,but you need somebody who has the eye for detail.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    I was at a car rally the other year, and I spotted a car from the thirties, and I said to the owner 'its nice to see an unrestored model'
    he said it was restored, 'Thats when he burst into tears' we all make innocent mistakes dont we...its the same as the second hand market, there are good boys and very bad ones.
    How one chooses who is good or bad is down to who ones knows. Now thats like passing the buck but its the whole truth of the S/H car market, always has been, always will be, till all cars are sold by affiliated dealers.
    But this means a car must retain a S/H higher price with guarentees backed by the manufactures.

    So we then end up with S/H cars with no buyers that have to be scrapped and loads of dealers out of business. Sounds good doesnt it, how one would instigate such a motion I dont know......

  • Comment number 14.

    But our government tells us that the free market solves all problems, so surely there is no need for any regulations at all?

  • Comment number 15.

    I always buy used.

    I always buy from a main dealer.

    I always insist on a guarantee - even if it's only 3 months.

    And I walk out if I don't get it.

  • Comment number 16.

    In spite of increased legislation - this problem has increased as the existing legislation is not enforced.

    Plus, car auctions are increasingly popular? What this means is that 'organised' criminal gangs are buying vehicles en masse at car auctions up and down the country and their individual members or 'co-members' purport to be private sellers - usually for cash only for a 'bargain VAT free cash deal'?

    There is nothing wrong with any individual consumer buying a vehicle at a reputable and well-known car auction.

    The same can be said of many a reputable franchise selling on vehicles taken in part-exchange?

    If a reputable franchise salesperson denies your opportunity to use your credit card in full, or part purchase, of a second-hand vehicle then you may wonder why they are concerned about customer protection under the Consumer Credit Act?

    If you buy privately - never use a bankers draft, or cash, or Western Union.

    The evidence is clear - go to a reputable, preferably franchised dealer -- haggle down the price as sales are always on commission and have margins depending on what time of the month they are looking at, plus their finance margin sign-ups too?

  • Comment number 17.

    The second hand car trade has been plauged by cowboys and chancers since time immemorial.
    Coughing up for an independent vehicle inspection is one way of minimising the chances of getting ripped off, as is 'if in doubt, walk away'.

  • Comment number 18.

    If a second-hand car dealer tells outright lies or refuses to live up to warrantly commitments then the law should be able to deal with them already.

    Other than that, it's up to buyers to check out cars properly and, ideally, get an independent review from the RAC or whatever.

  • Comment number 19.

    Like double grazing & the building trade, the 2nd hand car market has always been a bit doggy. People are always looking for that "bargain" buy, which typically means you get what you pay for. Buyer beware!

    Bringing in regulation may help, but you'd always have crooks in the trade and people stupid enough to fall for the con.

  • Comment number 20.

    It would be far better if a company were formed that you paid a fee to and they would inspect the car for you and tell you if anything was wrong.

    If you chose not to pay that fee, then you take your chances

  • Comment number 21.

    If you approach a reputable dealer then you have no issues. I bought a second hand car 3 years ago after 1 month an automatic fuel valve failed, I had the car towed back there and they fixed the problem under warrenty, no issues since. Buy from a dodgy dealer and you get what you pay for

  • Comment number 22.

    We don't need more regulation.

    If you buy a second hand anything, then you have to be aware of the risks. If you're not, then either educate yourself, buy new, or do without.

    Of course, rather than buying a £5000 second hand car and expect it to last 5 years, you could buy a £500 car, knowing that it won't last you past the next MOT, but then scrap it and get another one... That way you won't get any nasty surprises, as you'll know it's a pile of rubbish when you get it :)
    This way saves on servicing (why bother), and you only need 3rd party insurance and is probably much cheaper in the long run!

  • Comment number 23.

    Yes, second hand cars sold by the trade should...

    1. Have a statutory warranty period

    2. Be fully fit for purpose

    3. The sales document must fully describe any defect in condition including any significant wear on specific items (not a general escape clause).

    We all know good cars (eg: Honda, VW etc) are good for well over 100,000 miles with minimal repairs, it should be reasonable to expect the same from a second hand car until it reaches it's design life (eg: 150,000 miles).

  • Comment number 24.

    bigger problems with car repair costs and quality rather than 2nd hand cars

  • Comment number 25.

    10. At 11:58am on 15 Sep 2010, ProfTim wrote:

    Surely, from the buyer's point of view, the deciding factor is whether a car comes with a service history. A full service history provides something of a guarantee"

    Exactly how?

    All a "full service history" tells you is that someone wrote dates in a book... How do you know it was actually serviced by the garage whose name is in the book? How do you know it was serviced decently by whoever serviced it?

    When you buy a car with a FSH, do you ring up all the garages listed, make sure they're qualified on the car in question, confirm that they actually serviced it on the stated dates, and confirm that there were no unresolved problems reported to the previous owner who said to "leave it for now"?

  • Comment number 26.

    We brought a used car from a main dealer, on the day of collection the salesman told us he would "drop the paperwork in later today" after a week i telephoned the garage to ask about the handbook service history and MOT.
    We were told that the salesman had made a "mistake" in letting us have the car because it had "been sold to someone else". We took the car back and ask for our money back we were told they could not refund us but we could choose another car. We did not want to deal with them anymore and demanded our money the garage refused. It took us ten weeks and a county court judgement to get our money back.

  • Comment number 27.

    If you are talking about a large dealer, esp if you are buying a fairly new car that is of the brand the dealer specialises in (eg buying a 2 year old Ford from a Ford dealer) then there should be a very heavy legal responsibility to make sure the car has a legal background and that anything that could potentially wrong with the car are pointed out to a prospective buyer. It should never be an excuse for the dealer that the buyer (who may not know much about cars)didn't ask all the right questions.
    If however you are talking about buying privately or from a very small independent dealer then there will be (and reasonably so) greater responsibility on the buyer to ensure that car is OK. The AA and other organisations car for a small fee check the background of the car. If it develops a fault after purchase well, with all the best will in the world what was the seller supposed to do about that?

  • Comment number 28.

    you get what you pay for,that said,the car industry and all the foriegn owners (haigh remember sell,sell,sell.)called the UK treasure island brittain,they have allways got a good deal from the brits and they allways or second hand if you want to pay the high price UK is the market to sell in.

  • Comment number 29.

    Buyer beware. Get a service history or buy from a reputable dealer. Always remember, better the devil you know.

  • Comment number 30.

    20. At 12:29pm on 15 Sep 2010, Claire Herbert wrote:

    It would be far better if a company were formed that you paid a fee to and they would inspect the car for you and tell you if anything was wrong."

    Umm, like the RAC or AA?

  • Comment number 31.

    19. At 12:24pm on 15 Sep 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:

    'Like double grazing..... '

    I quite's pure greed and any cow found doing it should be turned into shoes and burgers immediately.

  • Comment number 32.

    I bought a second hand car in February of last year. It was from a reasonabily sized second hand car dealer (around 70 cars for sale) and it was branded with a manufacturer.

    I bought the car with an MOT, it had failed for backbox and handbrake and was apparently fixed. Within 2 days the catalytic converter had collapsed and needed to be fixed. The garage eventually agreed to do it for £50 off part price and no labour charge. I then took it for a service the next week and found it needed a new center pipe too, new front brake pads and a couple of other tweeks. The point being I'm pretty sure the garage I bought the car from should have paid for all of these problems fixing. Although they refused and I needed the car for work so I couldn't wait around for trading standards to get involved.

    I think buyers rights should be outlined when purchasing a car so they know exactly what the dealers can and cannot do. It would stop them trying to cut corners and rip people off.

  • Comment number 33.

    20. At 12:29pm on 15 Sep 2010, Claire Herbert wrote:

    It would be far better if a company were formed that you paid a fee to and they would inspect the car for you and tell you if anything was wrong.

    If you chose not to pay that fee, then you take your chances

    There already many companies that offer this service. The AA being one of them.

  • Comment number 34.

    23. At 12:34pm on 15 Sep 2010, wvpTV wrote:

    Yes, second hand cars sold by the trade should...

    1. Have a statutory warranty period

    2. Be fully fit for purpose

    3. The sales document must fully describe any defect in condition including any significant wear on specific items (not a general escape clause)."

    (1) Why? What if the car would cost £200. Putting a statutory warranty on it would make it now cost £1000+ You'd get no more car, just a heap of junk that's a waste of money, rather than a good deal.

    (2) What purpose? A £200 second hand car could have a different "purpose" from a £25,000 one. I might want my 1 year old 25,000 car to take me on a touring holiday around Europe. I might just want my 15 year old £200 banger to get me to the shops reasonably dry most times.

    (3) Mechanical items fail. If the buyer has sense, they should get the RAC/AA to inspect the car before buying. If the RAC/AA would miss something, then it is just as possible a vendor could miss it as well.

    Putting too many regulations in place would restrict things without really helping. Your suggestions would make it impossible to sell really cheap second hand cars, meaning they'd have to be scrapped, when someone could eke out a few more miles from them before forcing another new car to be built.

    In my view, they should be able to be sold without warranties, and fully caveat emptor. The buyer can have the car inspected, and can buy a warranty themselves - if they want one (and warranty companies have the right to ask for an inspection before giving a warranty). If they don't bother doing that, then it's their own fault. Forcing the dealer to do this, just puts the price up for everyone - and the buyer will probably still want their own inspection anyway - a bit like HIPs... Dealers may offer warranties if they want, but having regulation to force it is a bad thing in my opinion.

    "We all know good cars (eg: Honda, VW etc) are good for well over 100,000 miles with minimal repairs,"


    "it should be reasonable to expect the same from a second hand car until it reaches it's design life (eg: 150,000 miles)."

    Really? Once you're reaching 80,000+ miles you're really living on borrowed time. Some cars will keep on going to 200,000 miles. Some will start going wrong incessantly at 80,000 miles. Even of the same make/model.

  • Comment number 35.

    Whatever you buy is bought at a risk, but the law covers this as well as it can. The second hand car market however has probably more crooks and con men than any other business. This is passed down from the manufacturers who inflate the new car price so that they can appear to be discounting the price, and this dishonesty carries on throughout the motor trade.Second hand cars are sold at prices based on new prices that never really existed. Buyer beware, you cannot trust any car dealer !

  • Comment number 36.

    Wasn't this subject on HYS just a few weeks ago. New topic please

  • Comment number 37.

    "Does second-hand car market need reform?"

    No idea.

    The BBC does not say if there are more used-car complaints than those for any other consumer item.

  • Comment number 38.

    Its all very well saying buyer beware, but here are many so called dealers who simply rip people off with faulty cars or cars with tampered mileages, and its these deeply unpleasant individuals that need dealing with. They know that most people probably won't go back and if they do they know every trick in the bock to squirm out of paying anything, that or have a couple of pie eating mates with some poor inbred dog lurking nearby. These truly are dispicable, gutless and comtemptable people the sooner the industry and the powers that be get to grips with these swindlers the better.

  • Comment number 39.

    Second Hand car salesmen.
    British Politicians.
    Whats the difference?

  • Comment number 40.

    Yes, let's set up a new department of Pre-Enjoyed Vehicles with

    500 Civil Servants
    Non-executives (about £55,000 p/a)
    Executive (about £86,000)
    3 Departmental Advisers (about £46,000)
    5 Political Advisers

    and take the money from ...

    (OK, let's print it!}

  • Comment number 41.

    There's much to be said about 'buyer beware' and some of the points made about automatic & electronic components failing without warning are spot on. However there are tricks garages can use to hide faults (changing the oil and wiping down the engine with a petrol soaked rag will conceal a leaking cylinder head gasket when you open the bonnet, even chewing gum will plug a leaking exhaust for a few miles) 'Buyer Beware' should not let fraudsters off the hook.

  • Comment number 42.

    Bought my first car in 1976 from a policeman, it had four bald tyres and a leaking radiator. Every car I bought seemed to have a problem with it. My daughter bought a brand new car to avoid all the problems I have had and has had ten years trouble free.

    Five years ago I started working 40 miles from home so I invested in a better standard of car than I had had before. Bought it at a dealership and had no problems for two years. Exchanged it for another three years ago and have had only one major problem this year.

    You pay for what you get. With the recession a lot of people are going cheaper and that is proberbly why the complaints have increased.

    Remember that first car I had? it was five years old. In the 1970's a secondhand five year old car was on the rapid slide to the scrapyard. Now we have cars that are 'over-engineered', they last for ten years or more and are far more reliable that they were thirty years ago. As a result the number of second hand car dealers, and scrap yards has declined dramatically.

    I think there should have been a bit more thought going into this report.

    Could it possibly be that the Office of Fair Trading is worried about Government cut-backs and is trying to show just how inmportant and needed they are?

  • Comment number 43.

    Can someone please provide a breakdown on the stats? telling us almost 40,000 people complained about used car sellers is pointless unless you can quantify it all.

    ie, How many of those almost 40,000 complaints turned out to be groundless?

  • Comment number 44.

    37. At 1:27pm on 15 Sep 2010, Paul J Weighell wrote:

    "Does second-hand car market need reform?"

    No idea.

    The BBC does not say if there are more used-car complaints than those for any other consumer item."

    Umm, yes it does - read the article linked to at the start of the HYS precis.

  • Comment number 45.

    36. At 1:23pm on 15 Sep 2010, ziggyboy wrote:
    Wasn't this subject on HYS just a few weeks ago. New topic please

    No. THAT debate was about the poor standard and high prices of the garage that you have to take the dodgy 2nd hand car too to get fixed!

  • Comment number 46.

    Yes, and in Dave we have the right person to do it.

  • Comment number 47.

    " 2nd hand Metal movers were and allways will be a shady bunch,thats they trade" You can buy new on the book, most people are able too? From Main dealers' only!!! so the sharks cant bite you, if your credit history is Bad then you have a probelm. No new rules can help you, in two weeks they will find the loop-holes.Just like Buy to let land-lords.

  • Comment number 48.

    I mainly buy privately and my rules are simple no matter who is selling:

    I always ask for info on the car they are selling - if they ask which one they are most probably a dealer pretending to be a private seller.

    I ask for their history with the car to see if the story is believable, and in keeping with the advert.

    I always check the service history on a car to see if the stamps and mileage are believable.

    Do I believe the seller - you buy from people, do you trust them?

    If I buy from trade it has to be a trusted source.

  • Comment number 49.

    One should buy from a reputable company which offers warranties; besides, one can take up insurance against break-downs on any vehicle provided it is not already knackered to begin with. I have never had to have recourse to my break-down cover for spares and labour & I never buy new.

  • Comment number 50.

    No. It is not the second hand car market that needs to be reformed. It is, as is usual with every problem in this country, the legal system that needs reform.
    If every second hand car salesman knew that if he sold a 'lemon ' the buyer would have very easy and simple redress that would cost him money these sort of dodgy deals would virtually cease overnight.
    Unfortunately our legal system is designed to be slow, over complicated, expensive and very cumbersome to fulfil its primary function to make members of the legal profession very rich.
    When did you last hear any politician calling for reforms of the legal system. You never will whilst we are stupid enough to elect so many of them to Parliament!

  • Comment number 51.

    In the second-hand car business, it all boils down to 'let the buyer beware'. Buying any second hand car comes with an element of risk that can be minimised if sensible checks and precautions are taken about the car itself and with the seller. If in any doubt, do not buy. Use reputable dealers that offer appropriate protection and guarantees then all should be well. Common sense.

  • Comment number 52.

    yes just like this new government, nothing works with spare parts from a different car.

  • Comment number 53.

    Buy cheap - but don't expect too much.
    Seven years ago I bought (what was then) a nine-year-old Volvo estate with over 100000 miles on the clock.
    Now showing nearly 220000 miles its still going strong; no rust - a/c still works - and generally passes its MOT without much fuss. Oh - and looking boring but being the turbo model - it tends to surprise drivers of quite a few newer models..!

  • Comment number 54.

    In Jan 1964 I purchessed my first car ... a secound hand Austin A70. It had a radio, leather seats (bench front seat. Great thing with the g/f,s), a large boot (trunk) and a radiator wind break that could be operated via a pull chain from inside the car! The price was 20 pounds inc. a full tank of petrol!
    Complaints about it? Zero! I had that car all the way through my apprentiship (5 years). It was sad day when I traded it in for a ? I can't even remember what it was, but ever since then I have only ever had 2nd hand cars. Some good and some a total wast of time and money (ya gets wot ya paid for)! I'd HATE to part with good money to buy a new car only to see it drop in price the very second it drives out of the showroom!
    3 years ago whilts on hoilday in the UK I found an old 'Dinky' car (An Austin A70) for sale in a junk shop... I bought it but had to pay 25 pounds for it! Yet again 2nd hand!

  • Comment number 55.

    More regulation just means more public sector employees costing the taxpayer/consumer money. There is already protection for buyers of used cars and a system of redress through the trading standards office and small claims courts.

  • Comment number 56.

    I purchased a small car from a dealer for my daughter a few months ago. There was a problem with the clutch and the dealer spent a small fortune putting it right. Nothing was too much trouble.

    Reading this story I am pleased that I purchased from an established dealer with a showroom in the same location for the past 20 years and not some fly by night outfit.

  • Comment number 57.

    second hand car dealers are always needing to be regulated but no one ever does its nothing new from sawdust in the gear box to quieten it down to treacle like thick oil in the engine to stop the big ends knocking theyve been at it since henry ford was a nipper. What Really needs regulating is the car service garages. Ive gone back to servicing my own car cause im sick and tired of paying through the nose only to find that things have been neglected and this by well known tv advertised companies some of which would do more to teach their mechanics more about cars than playing the piano. its not only disgusting its dangerous.

  • Comment number 58.

    No, I feel that the level of protection is quite adequate.

    And I have bought a 'real dog' of a car from a dealer. To start with, the battery died before I got it home, but with a new one installed that's when the fun started. If you turned on the wipers, the hazard lights started going and wouldn't stop until you disconnected the battery... I don't remember the whole catalogue of faults, but the dealer took it back and not only refunded my money, he paid for the new battery as well.

    Another car threw a drive shaft within a couple of days of being acquired, again the dealer was very good and had it repaired without charge. He did take several weeks to get it done, but provided a loan car off his lot to keep us mobile.

    Not sure if both were the same dealer, but both transactions were conducted in Crewe, Cheshire... come to Crewe for a fair deal :)

  • Comment number 59.

    49. At 2:51pm on 15 Sep 2010, ian cheese wrote:
    One should buy from a reputable company which offers warranties; besides, one can take up insurance against break-downs on any vehicle provided it is not already knackered to begin with. I have never had to have recourse to my break-down cover for spares and labour & I never buy new.

    Hahahaha. There's a whole other (and far better) HYS thread there about 'my insurance company charged me an arm and a leg for break down insurance then found small print point 1129B to explain why it didn't cover me'

    Might I suggest the "provided it is not already knackered to begin with" is the whole point of this thread. I've had a (now) 12 year old Astra for 7 years and probably only spent £1000 on parts and labour the whole time I've had it (including tyres exhaust etc) My wife bought a used car from a mechanic and has virtually replaced the entire damn car in the same time span. It refused to start the day after she bought it (dirty carburetor, old fuel filter....easy faults to fix).

    The problem is that some used car dealers are selling cars with faults that SHOULD be rectified before sale or with ticking time bombs under the bonnet. It is not unreasonable to expect that when you buy a used car the oil has been changed and the oil & fuel filters changed, all lightbulbs work, brake pads and tyres are legal etc.

  • Comment number 60.

    To point out the obvious, as many posters have already done, older second hand cars usually come with various 'querks' as some dealers like to describe them. It's always best to assume that they are not perfect and to expects some faults.

    The best way to handle this is to ask the right questions before buying and make sure they are straight forward, clear and unambiguous, such as 'Has the car been involved in any accidents?' and 'Are you aware of any faults?'.

    Always ask to see service history and any documents relating to repair and maintenance. If they can't provide you with much, or they don't provide you with any, then pressume it hasn't been regularily serviced and walk away...lack of maintenance usually means things like the cambelt haven't been changed and it could go as you're driving it away.

    It may seem obvious, but make sure you take it out for a good test drive, including taking it out on a dual-carraigeway if possible and over speed humps. Any serious problems should be quite obvious, such as a badly worn wheel bearing. Even better if you can get a mechanic to have a look over it for you as well.

    Finally, make sure you buy a second hand car from the dealers permanent premises or from their house it's a private seller. That way you know exactly where to go back to if you have any problems and feel you were misled.

    If people followed this relativly straightforward guidance, they're shouldn't be any need for further regulation.

  • Comment number 61.

    55. At 3:18pm on 15 Sep 2010, Keith wrote:
    More regulation just means more public sector employees costing the taxpayer/consumer money. There is already protection for buyers of used cars and a system of redress through the trading standards office and small claims courts.

    Ignoring the fact that the legal system ALSO costs the taxpayer money in most cases fixing the fault yourself is cheaper & easier than a small claims court case and to win in the small claims court means proving the seller knew there was a problem. A cylinder head gasket failing 3 weeks after buying the car is completely wrong but your chances of getting any recourse through trading standards or the small claims court is very small.

  • Comment number 62.

    Despite "Old Global Brown's' beliefs and doctrines, there really is nothing for nothing in this world and if 'it' looks too good to be true, then it probably is!

    Let's not forget that the second hand car trade didn't get its well deserved reputation by providing high quality products that are great value for money with customers being treated to 'service with a smile'!

    The whole industry, without exception, is staffed by shifty liars and shysters; also, just like Gordon and his cronies!

  • Comment number 63.

    There should be more regulation of the back street 'Joe's Second Hand Cars' type dealers who appear, set up with a forecourt and an office, flog a few cars and then vanish. It's these sorts of places who are dodgy and who need regulation, not some innocent citizen just wanting to offload their old Fiesta.

    'Caveat Emptor' should no longer be used as a get-out for the types of iffy dealerships; they should be held accountable for what they sell. If it breaks, they should fix it. I bought a car, a Vauxhall Cavalier, from one such place when I was in my early 20s and didn't really know any better. A week after buying the vehicle, the engine failed on the M1 (fortunately I belonged to the AA and they towed the car back to where I got it). The dealer said 'No problem we'll fix it'. They had the car for a few days and they told me they'd changed the engine but, on examination later, that was a pack of lies. They hadn't, and basically told me to get lost when I challenged them about it. It seemed as if I had no recourse and I was left out of pocket and not very happy. 'Caveat Emptor', when applied to businesses flogging things, is a complete cop-out and should be consigned to history.

    Until this does change, only buy cars from main dealers or from someone you know and trust if its a private sale.

    Yes, you expect that a mechanical item may go wrong, as things do happen, but not that some business will then try and absolve themselves of all responsibility.

    Not all used car dealers are rogues, but some are and it is those who need clamping down on.

  • Comment number 64.

    Lets be roger real about this issaue. Once a car has clocked up 50,000 mls plus you are going to start to get faults,its a fact of life.What should be compulsary is for buyers to be able to do simple servicing. Much of the faults seen on cars comes from poor basic servcing by owners.The other point comes from downright stupidity when purchasing a vehicle.If its cheap and you no nothing about cars-dont buy it!You get what you pay for.If you pay a fair price and the seller has a full service history book,warranty with a reputable firm then you shouldnt have any problems at all.Finally,always get the AA or RAC to inspect the car first-if the seller objects dont buy it.

  • Comment number 65.

    I know , Lets set up a new Government department to oversee a whole raft of new rules and regulations. We could sure the unemployment stats overnight!

    Or better still remind everyone that second hand cars are being sold because they are worn out and no longer fit for purpose. Caveat Emptor is still the best policy to use as a customer.

  • Comment number 66.

    I'd rather see heavy regulation on property sales and letting.

    My second hand car = £1600

    My first place £150'000

    Which can cause far more problems if it goes wrong.

  • Comment number 67.

    Garages need sorting out big time, a local garage I started going to for repairs promised me all parts he used were genuine quality new parts. I later found out he was charging me for new and he was bodging repairs with second hand parts. You can bet your aunt fannies britches, that's just what they do when tarting up second hand cars, particularly when you take a car back for rectification that's under guarantee.

  • Comment number 68.

    What amazes me is the amount of people that buy naff second hand cars. Why spend £10,000 on a used Mondeo when it will actually buy you a classic Aston Martin? Much more beatuful car, no road tax and come's an Aston!

    My first car I had about £250, but i didn't pick a Nissan Micra...a Mk2 Escort is my vehicle.

    Classic cars are usually from private sellers, just look before you buy. I wouldn't buy a house without going to look at it first, same with a car!

  • Comment number 69.

    Has this been in the news today? The BBC news TV/ web site really seems to have been taken over by the ConDem party and just pumps out banal stories to pacify the masses, the class bias visible in most BBC reporters is now so obvious; dose any one work for the BBC who hasn’t been Oxbridge educated? If not how representative of the UK is that! Most stories now covered seem to be designed for day time TV and reality TV watchers. I believe there’s a war going on, a TUC Conference and a few inquiries coming out with some decidedly dodgy conclusions. Am I the only one who feels like I’m being hit with smoke shells, in an attempt to hide the frontal assault?

    Oh if you buy a car out of its manufactures warranty, you're going to need to know how to fix it, or be prepared to pay someone lots of money to fix it.

  • Comment number 70.

    Its a bit of a nonsense really. The large increase is SOLELY because of a HUGE increase in 2nd hand car sales, due to LESS people and businesses affording new ones.

  • Comment number 71.

    If you want regulation - prices go up. If you want second hand cars that that can be fixed, talk to the manufacturers. On a Discovery III the official method to replace the clutch is to remove the body (it can be done other ways, but is still a days work) - don't blame the s/h dealer, blame the idiotic manufacturers (all of them theses days) who deliberately make cost of ownership so high the think you will by new. Rather puts the lie on their 'recyclability' claims, doesn't it.

  • Comment number 72.

    Like every so called consumer protection agency or any other government agencies.They are all as much use as a chocolate teapots.We all found that out when the BANKSTERS started to rob us.In fact they are still at it.

  • Comment number 73.

    Bought my first car in 1976 from a policeman, it had four bald tyres and a leaking radiator.
    Perhaps you might have considered looking at it before you bought it!

  • Comment number 74.

    Having had 3 engine failures on Vauxhall despite meticulous servicing, the last one at 45.000 miles ! I have one bit of very good advice.
    Keep well clear of anything that says Vauxhall on it...
    And you wont go far wrong

  • Comment number 75.

    Ha, you see, never never buy from a dealer, certainly not a second hand car. There are certain rules I have observed all my life.
    (1) dealers make a huge profit dependant on Glasses guide. I am not interested in lining the pocket I pay what a car is worth. Always remembe that a car is only worth the money if you buy it. If it remains unsold its worth scrap value.

    (2)When you do buy a car take three looks at the car.
    The first is to determine what caught your eye. Follow that with a second visit to check to see if you can see any blemishes or leaks. The third should be made to check the panel fit in the cold light of day. Check any scuffs on the sills indicating rust. Panel fit that is odd will probably mean an accident, also any paint differences will emerge.

    (3) remember the fact that when you want to buy you are at a disadvantage in that you want to buy. If the seller realy wants to sell you will get any test drive and don't forget to check the condition of the oil in engine. If its gritty and black you could be on expensive repairs. Look at the tyres.

    (4) always remember that the day you buy your new car everything will be right- the price- the condition and the seller. Don't pay more than you can afford. If you get a car from a dealer pay the extra for the warranty and if the dealer won't play after a few letters there are two recourses, the court or the press. Bad publicity always get them.

  • Comment number 76.

    Just a reminder how Little motoring can cost.
    My first car a Rover 3 litre in 1978 cost £280 lasted for 10 years
    My second Rover a 3 Litre 1800 in 1988 lasted for 12 years and Ive still got it.
    My third car a Range Rover bought in 2002 £1800 and its still going.
    I have also had an Austin Cambridge bought for £35 and ran it for two years at a profit.
    I have had a triumph for £70.00 which lasted me for two years sold at a profit, Three Rover P4s bought for £50 each lasted a year a couple of sd1 which I bought for about as much.

    That means 35 years of driving for under £5,000 and 300,000 miles in Rovers, relatively trouble free. Tax and Insurance and fuel have cost much more but when you consider that depreciation rates are nil, overheads were less than £150 a year or £3 a week it can't be too bad.

  • Comment number 77.

    re #19 "the 2nd hand car market has always been a bit doggy"

    Yep! They sell some right dogs, isn't life a bitch?

    (not having a good day, are you? what with double grazing etc, see #31!)


  • Comment number 78.

    I always work on the assumption that people get rid of cars because there is usually something wrong with them. If a car is working well why get rid, stands to reason. Also I feel that people always expect a bargain when in fact, there isn't.

  • Comment number 79.

    Yes of course we need better protection!
    Even second-hand cars are expensive, and to have some cowboy get away with conning money out of us must have serious penalties.
    There should be the same laws to protect us as there are for other consumer items; if its not fit for purpose, then it should go back for a full refund.

  • Comment number 80.

    I think every person that sells cars as a business should ensure that each car is covered by a warranty with free mechanical repairs for,say,6 months,and certify the car as been independently inspected and MOT'd. The trouble is people will always want something for nothing,and whilst second hand cars can be good value if you know what you are doing,for the uninitiated they can be a bit of a nightmare. My first car was a lovely car,but being 9 years old with a high mileage,broke down all the time [usually at night in the rain!] It cost me a small fortune to fix. Nowadays I buy a 3 or 4 year old car from a main dealer every five years or so,usually nothing snazzy but a basic and sound model with a lowish mileage and look after it.Result: No nasty surprises and reliable motoring.

  • Comment number 81.

    Worried about the cuts are we? Why no headline stories? Typical management stratagy, do nothing, get the blame for nothing! How do you live with this creepshow? It's bad enough on skyonline with those pansies wetting themselves!
    Sinead 'O' Connor is taking some flak. She is deeply religious, and cares about her faith. Her problem is she talks common sense and the church does NOT like it! Nor do the multitude of brainwashed!

  • Comment number 82.

    31. At 12:55pm on 15 Sep 2010, ticktickticktickboom wrote:

    19. At 12:24pm on 15 Sep 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:

    'Like double grazing..... '

    I quite's pure greed and any cow found doing it should be turned into shoes and burgers immediately.



  • Comment number 83.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 84.

    second hand cars gosh, there,s a can of worms. Boy scouts motto " be prepared", secondhand car salesmen are nearly as good as politicians at selling!. Would you buy a car off Tony or Golden? Its the old story you get what you pay or vote for?

  • Comment number 85.

    I would like to take this opportunity to discuss this issue from the dealers point of view.

    We have been trading for 18 months now with a mission to change the stereotype of the typical 'used car dealer' (out to con everyone).

    It is our only intention to supply quality vehicles to all our customers and we pay good money to ensure the cars are fit for sale. We offer a free (3 months) warranty and all our cars are re-MOT'd and safety checked before they are sold.

    What really hurts our business are customers that bring vehicles back months after they are sold with issues that didn't exist when they drove off the forecourt. According to the law in this country, the dealer is responsible for up to 6 months after the car is sold?! We are talking about 'used cars' which have an average of 2000 individual mechanical and electrical components. How can this be fair? Wouldn't 2-3 months be more acceptable?

    We always offer an upgraded warranty but nobody is ever prepared to spend the extra money. Even when customers upgrade we end up paying because of the endless clauses the warranty companies put in place.

    I think complaints have increased due to the ever lasting recession which is encouraging customers to get someone else to pay for their problems.

    If people continue to attack British businesses there will be less money going to the tax man which will only extend everyone's pain. It seems to me the UK is becoming watchdog obsessed, its easier to blame someone else.

    Unless legislation changes we will continue paying for every failed part that a customer complains about because we want to do the right thing. However local businesses like ours will go bust quickly as a result.

  • Comment number 86.

    Elimination, not reformation for the second-hand car market. All cars older than six months ought to be scrapped, along with dealers. All dealers refusing compliance, would be shackled in stocks in town and city centres, pelted into submission with rotten fruit by thousands of AA/Green Flag/RAC members, and then ordered to go get a proper job. No more complaints.

  • Comment number 87.

    In a country blighted and stifled by regulations do we really need MORE REGULATIONS.

    Especially since they're useless anyway.

    The banks were meant to be regulated...and a fat lot of good it did us too!

  • Comment number 88.


    One of the Pope's aides has just called Britain a Third World country. Where's the usual HYS opportunity to rubbish Catholicism?

    as for second hand cars - just watch Arthur Daley in Minder.

  • Comment number 89.

    Buying from 'Fly-by-night' dealers or 'Reputable' ones can sometimes bare no difference...both can go bust at the touch of a button and unless you can get a cast-iron guarantee...forget it!
    Regulations come and go...sometimes you just have to take the rough with the smooth...

  • Comment number 90.

    I bought a old Rover 220 from a friend for £450, and drove it for two years clocking up 20,000 more miles on the clock.

    I then advertised it perfectly accurately on eBay, hoping to get maybe £100, and it sold for £600!


    Its not the sellers where the problem lies, its the bizarre decision making of some buyers.

  • Comment number 91.

    If buying a house, one would get a aurvey done. The same should apply to a vehicle.
    If you don't consider yourself competant to do this yourself, membership of a motoring organisation is advisable. They, "for a fee" will do the job on your behalf.

    There is already enough protection in law, provided that the buyer excercises a modicum of care in the purchase.

    However. If you consider the cost of an inspection by a profesional to be too expensive, perhaps you shouldn't be buying at all.

    As has been said, "caveatemptor".

  • Comment number 92.

    Homework homework homework do some before buying anything old or new, i had loads of hassle with one dealership which ended a couple years ago when i was recommended to the dealership i'm with now, they are without doubt brilliant and i will stay with them.

  • Comment number 93.

    Cars are made to last just over 3 years before needing to buy replacement parts. Hence the standard 3 year warranty. So buy a used car at least 4 years old as the tyres etc will have been renewed & other worn parts will probably have been replaced. Other than that buy new with the warranty there are some great deals to be had.

  • Comment number 94.

    The 2nd hand car market is not as bad as the 2nd hand religious market where religious beliefs are recycled by extremists and even extrem beliefs of the Pope, which is much more damaging to the UK than a dodgy alternator.

  • Comment number 95.

    I was going to trade in my low milage car with a main dealer yet all they had on the forecourt were inferior cars with price tags far higher than what they were prepared to give for mine. I eventually took it to a local dealer and although I did have good reason to take a number of vehicles back within the short warranty period, for various reasons, the dealer had no problems with the exchange. I do think however, that this was due to my subtle hint that I was prepared to give his dealership some serious bad press if he refused to exchange or repair the vehicle.

  • Comment number 96.

    The need for more consumer protection is not specific to the used car trade...

  • Comment number 97.

    I dont think regulation is necessary, or would help. If a dodgy dealer is going to sell you a dodgy car, he obviously doesn't care about anything, least of all some mickey mouse ill-thought out regulation (written by someone who doesn't know the difference between a clutch or a carburetor), which would probably have no teeth anyway!

    Nothing can help the dim or the naive.

    e.g I long ago lost count of the number of times I have decided to buy a minor item in a supermarket because it is on special offer. If I get to the till and find that the till doesnt know about the offer, what is the answer?

    a) Dont check my receipt so I will never know I have been ripped off.
    b) Introduce a new Government department to write & police some convoluted regulation which doesnt actually address the problem but means well.
    c) Check my receipt and either ask for a refund, or decide to eliminate the item from my shopping basket.
    d) Employ a special shopping advisor to help me.

    Answers on a post card to Mr Noggin, 1 The Place, Nutsville.

  • Comment number 98.

    Modern cars are way cheaper and cheaply made than their predecessors, and they have a built in obsolescence that is now far more predictable than on the older models. People still have a preconception of what they expect from a used car, and all too often they are sadly wrong when it does not work as they had hoped for. Gone are the days when you could repair any car in you back yard with a box of spanners and a manual, it usually needs a main dealer to get the modern problems sorted. The day will come when it will not pay to buy second hand at all.

  • Comment number 99.

    No, there are agencies who will check cars for you before you buy, spend a few quid and get a vehicle check.

    It amazes me that people will buy problems and then complain about them, that is your tax for being a stupid person I'm afraid, get a vehicle's not's not expensive.. and as TJ would's not unusual..just do it and dont waste my time.

  • Comment number 100.

    Number one rule, never buy a second hand car from a garage, if all cars are to go through dealers and garage forecourts there will be problems. I've seen gearboxes filled with all sorts and leaking pistons plied with glycerine to alter the compression, try and prove it after the fact. Reform that lot? good luck.


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