Buying a used car can be an uncertain experience, but KCC Trading Standards is on hand to help.
A new leaflet has been produced giving people practical advice about buying a second-hand car.
The straightforward guide offers four steps to make sure you get the right deal for you.
1) Be realistic: You are buying a used car – don’t expect perfection. Think about what journeys you will make. Know what you can afford and stick to it. Don’t forget costs like insurance, servicing, parts and fuel.
2) Do your research: Once you know the type of car you are looking for, do some research. Shop around, look for customer reviews of your dealership online and ask friends and family.
3) Ask questions: Ask the dealer about the condition of the car, repairs carried out on the car, what happens if things go wrong, MOT certificates, service history and the V5C registration document (logbook).
4) Be sure: Check the car for rust, electrics, dents etc. Take someone with you. Ask for copies of paperwork. Take it for a test drive. Consider paying for an inspection.
The leaflet comes as the Used Car Commission, launched last November by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, implements proposals to safeguard the buyer.
This includes closer cooperation between the police and Trading Standards to target organised criminals who steal vehicles for export, clone them or break them up for parts.
The commission will develop a minimum set of requirements for used car codes and trader approval schemes to ensure buyers are better protected and focus on information gathering on used cars so issues can be quickly identified and acted on by police and Trading Standards.
KCC Trading Standards manager Richard Strawson said: “The majority of second-hand car buyers will have a trouble free experience – but too many consumers are left with unresolved issues or left thousands of pounds out of pocket.
“We know complaints about second-hand cars are one of the biggest issues people take to Citizens Advice so our new guide is straightforward and offers four simple and practical steps to making sure you get the right deal.”
Last year alone Citizens Advice received over 60,000 enquires and complaints about second hand cars, making it their biggest reported issue.
If you have any concerns about a car you have recently bought contact Citizens Advice on 03454 040506 or visit Kent Trading Standards website to download the new leaflet, visit www.kent.gov.uk/tradingstandards