Second hand cars bought from independent traders sparked the highest number of complaints from consumers in 2009 according to Consumer Direct, the government advice service funded by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
In total, Consumer Direct received 50,790 complaints about second hand vehicles bought from independent dealers, up 8% from 2008. This is the fourth year running that second hand car complaints have topped Consumer Direct’s table – and the OFT launched a market study into second hand car sales in May 2009, partly as a result of these findings.
Complaints about televisions came in second place, up 9% year-on-year.
Elsewhere, although complaints about mobile phone service agreements decreased by 29% in 2009, they still achieved third place on the ‘most griped about’ list.
Top 10 consumer complaints
The 10 things Consumer Direct received the most complaints about last year are as follows:
1. Second hand cars purchased from independent dealers
3. Mobile phone service agreements
4. Mobile phone hardware
5. Laptops, notebooks and tablet PCs
6. Car repairs and servicing from independent garages
7. Second hand cars purchased from franchise dealers
8. Upholstered furniture
9. Women’s clothing
10. Telephone services (landlines).
In total, the organisation dealt with more than 1.5m calls and emails during 2009, recording almost 850,000 complaints against traders. However, the overall number of complaints handled was down slightly, decreasing by 3% year-on-year.
Your shopping rights
Which? Money editor James Daley said: ‘The sheer volume of complaints Consumer Direct dealt with last year shows that not all traders and retailers play fair with people.
‘Whenever you’re buying goods or paying for a service, it’s important to know your rights and demand fair treatment if they are not respected.
‘Don’t forget that paying for any item or service that costs between £100 and £30,000 by credit card will provide you with added protection. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act makes the retailer who sells to you jointly liable for whatever you purchase – so if it isn’t of satisfactory quality, doesn’t turn up or is not as described, you can claim from your card provider as well as the firm you originally dealt with.’
Read for more information on Section 75, and check out for general tips on taking faulty items back.
If you’re having difficulty with a second hand car, you may also find useful. Meanwhile, anyone thinking about buying a second hand vehicle should check out our full Buying a used car guide and video.
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