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.
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