Trading Standards Service is steering consumers in Northern Ireland in the right direction when it comes to buying a used car.
The drive is part of a month-long campaign by the Trading Standards Institute, launching on 4 November 2013, at the start of National Consumer Week (NCW).
The campaign is urging people buying a used car to ‘check it, don’t regret it’ by assessing whether it is safe, legal and that it is what it seems.
In Northern Ireland, used cars continue to top the number of complaints to Consumerline with over 1,000 people complaining about problems with used cars in the last year.
Damien Doherty from Trading Standards said: “A second-hand car that is not up to scratch and is littered with faults can be a danger to the driver and other road users.
“It’s important the used car industry puts a brake on bad practices by dealers being up front with their customers about the condition of cars. That way people can make an informed choice as to whether it is the car for them.”
Mr Doherty added: “We continue to receive a high number of complaints about traders refusing to deal with legitimate complaints or provide appropriate compensation, as well as complaints about cars that have had their mileage altered or that have previously been insurance write-offs.”
Trading Standards has issued the following checklist to people buying used cars:
· Check the MOT - it shows the car was roadworthy when the test was passed.
· Check to see the full service history, to show what maintenance has been done on the car. See if the car has been serviced regularly and make sure that the mileage on the paperwork makes sense.
· Check the registration document, to avoid buying a stolen car. Ask to see the V5C registration document known as the ‘logbook’.
· Check if the car has been written off. Cars are written off when insurance companies decide they are too dear to repair or too damaged after an accident. There are different categories of write off depending on the damage to the car.
· Check the car doesn’t have an outstanding credit agreement or logbook loan.
· Check the car and test drive it before you buy, to spot signs the car isn’t what it seems.
· Get a check to show the condition of the car and to check for any hidden dangers. You can also check that repairs have been completed properly if the car is a write off.
The Trading Standards Service (TSS) has taken enforcement action against a number of car dealers in Northern Ireland in the last year, over concerns about car clocking, business practices when selling cars, finance and after-sale guarantees.
Notes to editors
1. Anyone who has a complaint about used cars should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or log on to http://www.consumerline.org
2. Consumers can follow the campaign on the Northern Ireland Trading Standards Facebook page or on other social media via #usedcars or @tsi_uk.
3. Below are several links to car buying resources: