Trading guidance on used cars

  08 March 2020

Last week Trading Standards issued fresh guidance to businesses selling used cars on how they should conduct sales to the public.

That’s all well and good, but the NFDA was quick to complain, with director Sue Robinson saying: “It is disappointing that following a number of responses, including our detailed comments on the draft guidance consultation, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute has ignored the majority of the issues NFDA had outlined alongside other industry trade bodies.”

And if you have a quick read of the document, it’s not hard to see why. There are areas where the guidance raises more questions than it’s supposed to answer.

The three main areas of confusion we found were:

  1. Relating to a section about always informing customers of the possibility of multiple users of a car (e.g. it’s come from daily rental or was a company car); how many is multiple? And how are dealers supposed to know how many users a car has had under one owner? If the car was run as a traditional company car (one owner) it could have had one driver, but it could have had many drivers.
  2. The document advises mechanical checks are carried out by a qualified person on every car before it’s put on sale. This raises the question; is this necessary for all vehicles, no matter what the age/mileage? And how do you define ‘qualified or competent person’? Many smaller (and indeed larger) used car dealers don’t have a mechanic, let alone one trained for every make and model.
  3. Continuing with checking cars before advertising them, there are ‘limited circumstances’ when cars can be advertised before these checks – however, it doesn’t say what those circumstances are. Many of the more efficient used car dealers will put cars on sale as soon as they’ve bought them (at auction or from a company car fleet) even before they’ve arrived at the dealership. Is this still acceptable?

We have, of course, put these points to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, but after a week of chasing a response, we’ve not yet had any answers.

We’ll keep trying to get the answers, as I know the NFDA is too, and let you know what the answers are so you can keep up with the guidance.

Tristan Young

Editorial Director

Auto Retail Network


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