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Used car trade set for tighter controls

27 October 2014

Consumers buying used cars from dealers should be given better protection when new proposals to counter criminality and dishonest practices are put in place.

Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson has announced her support for the recommendations of the Used Car Commission, which she set up last November to explore reported problems with the sector.

The AA estimates that 750,000 consumers a year face unresolved problems with a used car purchase. Some 210,000 vehicles are sold each year with a major fault, and about 5% of buyers subsequently find their car has been "clocked" to show a lower mileage than it has actually been driven.

The commission, which included consumer, motor trade, trading standards and Government representatives from the UK and Northern Ireland, will now implement proposals including:

  • closer co-operation between police and trading standards to target organised criminals who steal vehicles for export, clone them or break them up for parts;
  • the development of a minimum set of requirements for used car codes and trader approval schemes, to ensure consumers are better protected and improve customer services;
  • a focus on information gathering on used cars so that current and emerging issues can be quickly identified and acted on by police forces and trading standards.

Ms Swinson said: "The recommendations are an excellent starting point and it is good to see the sector working together to get the best possible outcomes for consumers. I am grateful to all the members of the commission for their work so far."

Complaints about secondhand cars are one of the biggest issues people take to the Citizens Advice consumer service. From April 2013 to March 2014, Citizens Advice dealt with 69,342 enquiries relating to secondhand cars.


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