RAC Cars News


Used Car Buyers Feel Deceived

By raccars Published

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A survey of used car buyers has discovered a culture of suspicion pervades the market, with nearly half of those buying privately coming to the conclusion that the seller deceived them in various ways. Over two thousand motorists were surveyed by the RAC.

With 45% of drivers believing they were misled, 67% of those claim the car was faulty and 21% believe they overpaid for the vehicle. Figures from British Car Auctions (BCA), suggest that about 40% of used cars are sold privately, which is around 2.7 million every year. 50% of the RAC survey respondents claim they opted to buy privately rather than from a dealer, to get a better price.

The RAC survey suggests that UK car buyers are losing confidence in the private used car market. Twenty nine per cent of those questioned had concerns about existing mechanical faults, 24% had fears about buying a stolen vehicle and 13% were worried the car they were buying could have been classified as a write off. Buyers were also concerned about buying cars subject to existing finance arrangements, about maintenance costs coming in higher than expected and the car being worth less than they paid for it.

43% of buyers research their purchase for 10 hours or more and about a third take a family member or friend with them when inspecting the vehicle. Thirty five per cent prefer to take the advice of a friend with some knowledge about car mechanics before making a decision.

Buying privately has traditionally been a popular way to buy cars for British motorists, as it is usually a little cheaper than buying from a dealer. The RAC survey results, however, suggest that the level of trust between buyer and seller is very low and that purchasers appear to see the whole process as something of a gamble.

With private purchases failing to offer the consumer protection that comes with buying through a dealer, it is even more important for buyers to find the right vehicle.

The RAC has launched an initiative called 'Car Passport,' to give used car buyers some peace of mind. The service offers vehicle information online, such as an independent valuation to help buyers decide if the price the seller is asking is fair, vehicle summaries that outline common faults with any particular make, model and age of car and particular issues to be aware of during a test drive. The RAC hopes the service will help used car buyers to feel a little more confident when car shopping, by arming them with the knowledge they need to make an informed decision.

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