Your Consumer Rights when Buying a Second-Hand Car

Your Consumer Rights when Buying a Second-Hand Car

Do you understand your consumer rights on the purchase of a second-hand car? Most people don’t, and that is why in this blog we aim to provide some help if you find yourself in the unenviable position of having problems with a second-hand car in the first 6 months of ownership.

Don’t buy a car without seeing it first.  There are so many online car shops popping up and although it’s convenient to be able to browse online, until you visit a place you can’t get a feel for it and the people.  Your gut instinct works, so trust it!

The law states that a vehicle must be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose and as described. This means a car must not be faulty or broken when purchased and it must be of a standard a reasonable person would expect considering mileage and age if second-hand.

What are your rights?

If you bought your car less than last 30 days ago and it develops a fault you are entitled to:

  • A repair at no cost to yourself


  • A full refund. 

It is vital that you report any fault immediately to the dealer.  If your fault occurs within 30 days but you do not report it to the dealer until after 30 days, it can legally be treated as if it occurred after 30 days.

If you bought your car more than 30 days ago but less than 6 months ago and it develops a fault your rights are as follows:

  • A repair or replacement free of charge. 

If the repair or replacement is unsuccessful, you’re entitled to a full refund less a fair use deduction.  There is no legislation around fair use so you may need to negotiate with the dealer on this.

If you report a fault and take your car back within the first 6 months the onus is on the dealer to prove the fault did not exist.

If a fault occurs more than 6 months after you purchased the vehicle the onus is on you to prove it existed when the car was purchased, to do that you will most likely require an independent expert (at your cost) to examine the vehicle and produce a report.

While the information here is not exhaustive it will give you a starting point, for any problems not covered or if you are having challenges with a dealer you can speak to the Citizens Advise Bureau who will be able to advise you further.

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