With over seven million secondhand cars purchased in 2012, you’d expect one or two to develop a problem soon after purchase. But rather shockingly, as many as half of all used cars sold develop faults within a month of changing hands.
That’s according to a report by the Citizens Advice Bureau, which helped with over 84,000 problems with secondhand motors in the past 12 months. Drivers spent over £363 million on these problems alone, making it the most complained about problem Citizens Advice received.
Amazingly, in as many as 139 of the cases, the car was deemed to be unfit for the road and only good for scrap. A pretty grim statistic, given than the average amount spent on a used car is just over £5,000. As scrap, the car is a few hundred pounds at best.
The findings come off the back of a new campaign aimed at steering people away from buying a dodgy used car.
The campaign – which is backed by the National Trading Standards Institute – urges people to ‘check it, don’t regret it’, encouraging motorists to ensure the car is safe and legal to drive, before handing over their hard-earned cash.
Many of the checks are basic and some are even free, such as checking the MOT certificate, service history and V5 document. Other checks involve a small fee, such as obtaining a report to ensure the car isn’t subject to outstanding finance or previously involved in a serious accident.
Three-quarters of all complaints involved cars bought from an independent dealer, cases in which the consumer has a number of rights.
Citizens Advice can tell you more, but in short, a car must match its description, be of satisfactory quality, be fit for purpose and be roadworthy.
If in doubt, walk away. There are plenty of used cars to choose from.
Find out how much a used car costs on Auto Trader