OFT Receives Large Number Of Used Car Complaints

Consumer Direct is the consumer arm of the UK Office of Fair Trading. Between January and the end of September, the division received over 56,000 complaints regarding UK used automobiles. This is the largest number of official complaints that any trader has received so far this year. Car buyers should take extra precautions before signing on the dotted line.


From January to late September of this year, Consumer Direct received slightly more than 36,200 complaints regarding furniture and nearly 35,000 telecommunications complaints. Approximately 48,000 complaints were received regarding home improvement and maintenance. Each of these is far less than the 56,000 complaints lodged regarding used car dealers.

Approximately 70 percent of the used car complaints pertained to faults with the vehicles themselves. Over 13 percent dealt with omissions or misleading claims made by the seller. Close to seven percent of consumers complained that the seller offered substandard services. According to OFT research results published in 2010, a car buyer was saddled with £425, on average, to correct unresolved vehicle issues considered the obligation of the dealer.

According to Consumer Direct spokesperson Michele Shambrook, the entity receives numerous complaints regarding traders who refuse to provide the appropriate level of compensation or even deal with legitimate vehicle issues. She warned that dealers selling defective cars or treating customers unfairly could be subject to enforcement action. The OFT recommends that used car buyers ask certain questions before agreeing to car finance or cash payment.

Consumers should view the video from OFT regarding their rights when purchasing a used vehicle. One of these rights is to inquire what mileage, history, or mechanical checks have been performed. Just last week, the OFT took action against Carcraft car supermarket group for failure to conduct pre-sale auto inspections, refusing to replace or repair faulty cars, and lack of clear explanation regarding car finance policies.