Buying a second-hand car from an independent dealer is no guarantee that it will be fault-free, according to the latest survey by Consumer Direct.
This particular aspect of the used car market came top in a list of complaints to the government-funded advice service, with 47,019 dissatisfied customers in 2008.
Advisors from Consumer Direct answered almost 1.6 million calls and emails in 2008 and logged 874,171 complaint cases – up almost 7% from the previous year.
At the same time, complaints about independent car dealers have increased by 12%.
If you’ve got a problem with your used car, find out more about your rights with our guide.
Code of conduct
A new initiative called the Motor Industry Code of Practice has been established to try and counteract this worrying trend.
It’s a nationwide scheme to try and ensure higher standards of customer care and service at independent dealers and garages.
Thousands of garages have now signed up, promising to adhere to a strict code of conduct that includes open and transparent pricing and a straightforward complaints procedure.
To find a member of the scheme close to you, log on to: www.motorindustrycodes.co.uk.
There’s also a freephone consumer advice service available on: 0800 692 0825. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm.
Alternatively, Which? subscribers can benefit from the recommendations of other like-minded people via our Which? Local website.
There are currently 1,760 motoring-related user reviews on the site, covering everything from second-hand car dealers to tyre fitters.You can also post your own recommendations to let others know about a great local business.
Which? Car email
To be kept in the loop on all the manufacturer offers and great car deals we spot each week, sign up for our Which? Car email – delivered to your inbox every Friday, and including all our latest news and first drive reviews, too.
All the latest car news
For daily consumer news, subscribe to the here.
If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste this link into your newsreader: https://www.which.co.uk/feeds/reviews/news.xml . Find out more about RSS in the Which? guide to news feeds.