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Buying a second hand car
1:08pm Thursday 13th January 2011 in Features
I’m thinking about buying a second hand car, but I don’t want to get ripped off with a dodgy vehicle. What are my rights?
If you are buying a second hand car your rights will depend on where you bought it. If something goes wrong you will usually have more rights if you bought the car from a dealer than if you buy from a private seller or at an auction, but make sure you check the small print.
If buying from a dealer (in person or over the internet), the car needs to meet certain criteria; it must match its description, be of satisfactory quality (i.e. in reasonable condition for its age, history and price) and be roadworthy. But you should be very wary about signing any documents which state that you have examined the car and found it satisfactory in all respects or these rights will no longer be valid.
If you buy a car in person at a live auction, you should check the terms and conditions of the business of the auction. You may have limited rights if the car turns out to be faulty, for example they may state that your rights under the Sale of Goods Act are excluded. It will be your responsibility to check the car before you bid for it.
If you buy from a private seller, either face-to-face or online, you won’t have the same rights as if you buy from a dealer but it is still a criminal offence for anyone to sell a car that is not roadworthy. Be very cautious of a seller who wants to meet you away from their private address, whose name is not in the logbook, or who is vague about answering your questions. Before you buy a used vehicle you can check to see if it's been stolen, written off or has any finance outstanding against it through the DVLA or private vehicle check companies.
There is more information about cancellation rights on our website: www.adviceguide.org.uk or you can contact your local CAB or call Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506. For details of your nearest CAB please visit www.adviceguide.org.uk.