One in 5 car dealers unhelpful

I’ve just heard a spokesman for the OFT on the Radio 4 Today programme telling us that one in 5 used car sales result in a complaint (plus the ones that are browbeaten into submission) and how many of the complaints are about ‘unhelpful’ dealers when things go wrong. You bet!

I find that few women drivers realise that they have a period of six months in law to take a car back when it has developed an ‘unreasonable’ fault. ‘Unreasonable’ in terms of the price paid, the age and mileage and, of course, the sales proposition (and often the make of car itself…).

Few women drivers are as fussy as they should be and too many trust that the person, usually a man, who sells them a car that looks good on the forecourt is telling them all they need to know. And they don’t always tell the truth of course.

Very often the car was bought at an auction elsewhere in the country (usually where the prices are cheaper), transported (usually where the prices are higher ie the South of England) to be sold at a higher price and far from the original owner.

My industry experience makes me cynical here. If a car is not as good as it should be then the customer should know her rights. The dealer should be required to sell a car with a finance and a prescriptive pre-sale car fitness check. This is not the case unless you buy from a main dealer Approved Car scheme which I prefer to recommend. Where there are potential problems, these should either be rectified and declared or be documented on a caveat emptor basis and the price adjusted accordingly. Simple. And if an unexpected falut occurs the dealer should see this as an opportunity to demonstrate his superior customer care so she is so delighted she tells her friends…

That’s the theory at least!

Instead, the situation remains much the same over many years… there are too many modern day Arthur Daley’s and Swiss Toni’s out there who see a customer with a car fault as an opportunity to sell her repairs, claiming that a one or three month warranty was all she was entitled to. They have no scruples and tell a mosy convincing tale to the gullible.

I hope the OFT tightens this up and deals with unscrupulous dealers accordingly…

At present the law is too lightweight in this area which I would describe as car fraud or the auto-equivalent of passing off.


Women drivers can search for good and female friendly car dealers at FOXY Choice.

All FOXY Choice garages, fastfits and dealers sign the female friendly FOXY Promise to ‘never knowingly overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need or want.’