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HPI logoHPI Puts the Spotlight on Why Dealers Offer Used Car Buyers Peace of Mind

Independent research conducted on behalf of vehicle history check expert, HPI, has revealed that consumers see buying a used car privately as a more ‘trustworthy’ and ‘sincere’ option than buying from the trade. However, warns HPI, buying privately offers consumers little or no protection, leaving them at risk from ending up with a nightmare on wheels or losing the car of their dreams and the money they paid for it.

Neil Hodson, Managing Director for HPI explains “Arthur Daley has an awful lot to answer for. Sadly, the reputation of car dealers remains tarnished by his flawed sales antics, even for those who are too young to have watched the show. The vast majority of used car dealers, be they local, family run, independent traders to multi-franchise networks, not only offer buyers great savings on quality cars, but offer the highest level of protection against purchasing a vehicle with a suspect service history and a dodgy provenance. The reality is that dealers are highly regulated by trade bodies, EU legislation and the UK legal system. They are legally obliged to deal with customers fairly and honestly, which means at best they risk their reputation if they fall foul of meeting due diligence or worse, they lose their business and could face a judicial sentence.”

Honest advertising means no hidden surprises
There are many different forms of legislation in place to protect consumers when buying from traders. One of the most powerful is The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which protects consumers from unfair or misleading trading practices and ban misleading omissions and aggressive sales tactics.

The Sale of Goods Act of 1979 says that the goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. The dealer also has to prove ‘good title’ which will confirm he has the right to sell it, and that the vehicle is not subject to any third party ownership rights, such as a motor finance company.

Protected by a ‘Code of Practice’
HPI recommends that before visiting a dealership, buyers check if they belong to a trade association, which will require the firm to abide by an industry code of practice – in addition to UK and European legislation. Most dealers will publicise on their websites which associations they are members of. The Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF) and Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) are two leading industry bodies.

Benefit from a return policy
Crucially, consumers who buy from a dealership but are later unhappy with the vehicle, because something has gone wrong with it, can return the vehicle to the dealer and ask them to take action. This does not exist in the private market; if a buyer purchases a car from a member of the public and has reason for recourse, there is very little they can do about it. In the unlikely event of the dealer refusing to take action, consumers can turn to a number of organisations including Trading Standards, Motorcodes, Citizen Advice Bureau and the RMIF for support and guidance.

Concludes Neil Hodson: “Unless you know a thing or two about cars, buying privately is a minefield. Buying from a dealer with a sound trading history will eliminate nearly all of the risks involved in buying privately. Not only will a dealer offer a wide range of vehicles to suit your budget, but they will conduct a thorough vehicle inspection, correct any significant faults before it is offered for sale, they can help you finance your purchase, and cut through the paperwork headache of transferring car ownership from one person to another. One in 3 vehicles checked by HPI is revealed to have a suspicious past, but buying from a dealer protects you against entering the unknown.”

HPI’s Top Tips for buying from a dealer

  1. Ask to see the dealer’s HPI certificate, and if they can’t provide proof, then you may want to get the check done yourself.
  2. Pick a dealer that belongs to a trade association that requires them to abide by an industry code of practice.
  3. Familiarise yourself with the legislation that dealers have to comply with and that is there to protect you.
  4. If you are unhappy with the vehicle you’ve purchased contact organisations such as the Trading Standards and Citizens Advice Bureau for advice.
  5. Visit the HPI website for answers to your questions about buying from a dealer and more information

For further information visit or call 0845 300 8905

Posted by Sue Robinson on 17/07/2015