Complaints about used cars top the list of grievances from UK consumers, according new figures from the OFT. Over 56,000 consumers complained about second-hand car dealers in the first nine months of 2011 – more than any other type of trader.
Faults and misleading claims
More than 70% of complaints were about faults with second-hand cars. Over 13% were about misleading claims or omissions made by the seller. And nearly 7% of complaints concerned sub-standard services.
The number of complaints about used car dealers exceeded those about home maintenance and improvements (48,000), furniture (36,000) and telecommunications (35,000).
Consumers £85 million out of pocket
According to figures published by the OFT, in 2010 consumers were left out of pocket by an average of £425 each, or £85 million per year, because they had to fix unresolved faults that dealers had refused to correct.
Michele Shambrook of the OFT’s consumer arm, Consumer Direct, said: ‘We continue to receive a high number of complaints, which are often due to some traders refusing to deal with legitimate complaints or provide appropriate compensation. Dealers who fail to treat customers fairly or sell cars that are defective could face enforcement action.’
Last week, the OFT took action against car supermarket chain Carcraft over its sales practices, finance and after-sale guarantees. Earlier this year it also acted against webuyanycar.com over misleading online valuations.