Second-hand car market under review

A total of 68,000 complaints about transactions in the second-hand car market has led the trading watchdog to launch an independent study into the sector, it has been revealed.

Sales of second-hand cars in the UK were worth an estimated £35 billion last year. But the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) received many complaints relating to defective vehicles, services and potentially misleading selling.

The office believes that up to £100,000 each year is shouldered by car buyers in the form of extra costs as a result of 'clocking' alone.

It said the study will focus on sales by dealers, rather than private sales between individuals, in a bid to understand the causes of such high levels of consumer complaints and to assess whether current consumer protection legislation is sufficient.

John Fingleton, OFT chief executive, said: "Buying a second-hand car is a major and potentially difficult purchase, given the fact that many consumers lack the necessary experience or knowledge to make an informed buying decision.

"We aim, particularly given the current financial climate, to look at the entire process for consumers when buying a second-hand car and whether existing regulation delivers sufficient robustness, confidence and clarity for both the customer and car dealer."

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