The Government-funded Consumer Direct service has received an influx of calls from consumers who have had problems with second-hand cars bought from independent dealers.
According to the service, 47,019 people made complaints about the used car market in 2008, an increase of 12.27% on the 2007 total. A number of drivers have reported problems with their vehicles that could potentially put their car insurance at risk.
More than half of all complaints in 2008 concerned goods and services bought at the traders' premises, 11% resulted from internet purchases, and 10% were about telephone transactions.
Consumer Direct advisers, which collects data to help the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), local authority trading standards services and other regulators, answered 1.6 million calls and emails in 2008 and logged 874,171 consumer complaint cases, but used-car complaints topped the list as the most complained about sector.
Michele Shambrook, Consumer Direct operations manager, said: "Many millions of people are losing out financially from substandard goods and services, but very often consumers do have routes for redress.
"Finding out about your rights is the first step to claiming the refunds, repairs and replacements you may be entitled to."
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