Motoring News

Scary times: Used-car buyers about to bite back

Now here’s a really scary thing, should you happen to be a delicate and caring, customer-sensitive and honest, dealer in used vehicles of which we know there must be many.

Somewhere.

Come October 2015, in the UK, such gents (and presumably some ladies) will have to issue a guarantee with their ‘Weekend Special’ or ‘Never to be Repeated’ or ‘Lowest Price Anywhere’ stock – and not just the one-month jobbie as required here in South Africa. Nope, depending on the problem, the disgruntled punter will be able to get a FULL REFUND, NO ARGUMENT.

Failing which Mr Plod will be popping round.

SO, WHAT’S ACTUALLY GOING DOWN?

The number of ambulance sirens is likely to increase exponentially as more and more back-street wreck-retailers take hearties on realising that the trusting suckers in South Africa might catch on and lobby for the same laws in Eloff Street Voortrekker Road.

For guidance only, then, here’s what’s going down on the pre-owned (the in phrase for clunkers and junkers) forecourts of garages on the back streets of Blighty.

From October 1, according to vehicle-checking company HPI, some of the biggest changes in consumer law will come into effect and used-vehicle buyers need to be aware of their new rights as the Sale of Goods Act is replaced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which, crucially, allows customers to ask for a full refund should any product be proved faulty within 30 days purchase.

Including cars.

The law is called ‘the early right to reject’ and replaces the previous rules under which needed only ”to repair or replace a faulty item or part’. If a defect is found after 30 days (but within six months) buyers will be entitled to a repair or replacement. However the new legislation stipulates that dealers will have only one chance at repair or replacement. If they fail, the buyer can demand his/her money back.

‘DO YOUR HOMEWORK, AVOID A LEMON!’

Neil Hodson, HPI’s MD, told The Corner: “One in three vehicles checked by HPI is found to have a hidden history, confirming the importance of understanding the provenance of a car before you buy it.”

What he’s saying is “do your homework, buy smart, but if you get it wrong you’ll now have the law on your side”. And the advice is good for SA buyers, too: ask to see the history and mileage for any vehicle; make sure the dealer belongs to an organisation such as the Retail Motor Industry Federation or has signed to some other recognised sales code.

Hodson added: “The new consumer laws offer more protection after a purchase but if you arm yourself with as many facts as possible before signing you could reduce the risk of buying a lemon in the first place.”

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