In second-hand car dealers we trust

Second-hand car dealers are more trusted among car buyers than private sellers found online or through classified ads, Which? research has found.

The study found that six in 10 (62%) car buyers trust a second-hand car dealership, with the vast majority (81%) thinking that a dealership would be more likely to uphold the legal rights of a buyer and 72% expecting them to provide a better quality product. As many as 65% thought dealers would be more likely to provide an accurate history of the car.

In contrast, just four in 10 (42%) car buyers trust a private second-hand car seller. The consumer group found that this was the case even though half (53%) thought private sellers would offer better value for money than dealers.

The Which? survey also revealed that one in four (27%) encounter problems with their vehicle when buying a second hand car, with one in five (19%) saying it emerged that the car had a minor fault and 6% saying there was a major fault with the car.

Despite these figures, just 28% had the car checked by a mechanic before buying and a third (33%) ran a vehicle history check for any prior accidents and number of previous owners.

Adam French, Which? Consumer Rights Editor, said:

“Buying a car is a significant decision and one that you will likely live with for several years.

“Regardless of whether you bought from a used-car dealer or a friend of a friend, you do have rights. Make sure you have a contract in place and run a full vehicle history check to avoid any nasty surprises.”

Advice for buying a second-hand car:

  • If your car is faulty you have 30 days​​​ from taking ownership of it​​ ​to reject it and get a full refund under the Consumer Rights Act.

  • If you reject a second-hand car bought in the UK, you must stop using it immediately.

  • If you’re past the first 30 days but a problem has arisen that you think would have been there at the time of purchase, you’re entitled to ask for a repair or replacement free of charge. In most cases this will be a repair, as whoever sold the car to you will usually be able to prove that the cost of replacing it would be disproportionate. If the attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful, you’re entitled to a refund.​ ​But the car dealer can make a deduction from the refund after the first 30 days for ‘fair use’.

Find out more about your rights when buying second-hand cars by visiting:

Notes to editors


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