What are your rights when buying a used car?
You save thousands, but what are you giving up by buying a used car? Dean Dunham takes a look at your rights when buying a second-hand vehicle
Used cars top my list of the most common consumer complaints. I hear horror stories every week, so here’s a guide to your rights – whether your old banger comes from a dealer or a private seller:
Your rights when buying from a car dealership
The law provides far more protection when you buy from a dealer, as opposed to a private seller. Dealers are obliged to prepare the car before offering it for sale. This means verifying the accuracy of the recorded mileage. They also have to abide by the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 for vehicles purchased after October 1 2015 and the Sale of Goods Act 1979 for any bought before that.
Under both Acts, vehicles new or used must be:
- Of satisfactory quality – This means it should be of a standard a reasonable person would expect, taking into account factors such as age, value, history, mileage and make. An old vehicle with high mileage would not be expected to be as good as a newer vehicle with low mileage. But either should be roadworthy, reliable and in a condition consistent with its age and price.
- Fit for purpose – This means you must be able to use the vehicle for purposes you would normally expect – including any particular purpose you tell the dealer about before you buy.
- As described – The vehicle must match the dealer’s description.
When things go wrong
Under the new law post October 1 2015 you have the right to an automatic refund if the vehicle turns out to be faulty within the first 30 days after you purchase it. If a fault comes to light after 30 days but before six months have passed you are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund. During this period, unless you have agreed otherwise, the dealer has one opportunity to repair or replace the faulty vehicle. After that you are entitled to a refund. After six months the burden is on you to prove that the vehicle was faulty at the time of delivery.
This is one of the riskiest ways of buying a car. If something goes wrong with it you don’t have as much legal protection as if you bought from a dealer. The only legal obligation is the car must match the description, be roadworthy and the seller must be the owner. You are responsible for ensuring that the car is “of satisfactory quality” and “fit for purpose” before you buy it. It is therefore vital to get a mechanic to check the vehicle before you buy it. You must also do checks and searches to make sure the mileage is accurate and the vehicle is not stolen or subject to finance.
Dean Dunham – Sunday Mirror
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