June Update from Citizens Advice: Advice on Buying a Second-Hand Car

If you’re buying a second-hand car from a trader, choose a trustworthy one with an established name with a good reputation. Ideally, they will be part of a trade association or follow the industry’s code of practice.  

If you’re buying via an auction, you’ll have fewer legal protections like the right to returns or refunds so carefully read the terms and conditions before you bid.

If you buy from a private seller, try to inspect the car at their home address so if something goes wrong later, you have a record of that.

Make sure the car’s details are correct by using the DVLA’s free online vehicle information checker. You’ll need the registration number, MOT test number, mileage and make/model of the car to do this check. Also, check the car’s MOT history for free on gov.uk

Keep a copy of both these results as well as the original advert or description of the car. You might also consider getting a private history check to see if the car’s been reported stolen, still has money owing on it, or has been in a serious crash. This will cost about £20.

Inspecting the car is crucial before buying and take it for a test drive for at least 15 minutes and on different types of road, if possible.

Often, despite doing all these checks, you might find something wrong with the car after you’ve bought it. You may have a legal right to a repair, the cost of a repair or some money back but it’s on a case-by-case basis and some examples might be the car’s mileage is wrong or the car keeps breaking down.

For more information, call the CAB Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.
In Royston, CAB is at the Town Hall on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9.30am to 12noon.  Also, at Melbourn Community Hub on a Wednesday morning from 9.30am to 11.30am, or if you prefer to contact the team in advance, you can leave a message by calling 01462 689801, and an agent will get back to you.