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The Consumer Rights Act when buying a used car

Published 8 November 2015 by

Of course not all of us are lucky enough to be able to afford a new car – which is why so many people drive a second-hand car. But if you are buying a used car do you know what protection you’ll have if something goes wrong with your new vehicle?

As of 1st October 2015, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force and unveiled some changes to the rules that apply whenever you pay for goods or services. These new laws also apply when you buy a used car, so let’s take a look to find out what your rights are.

Problems with the car

If you’ve just bought a car, you don’t expect the brakes to feel slack or for it to stop working a week after you’ve brought it home, regardless of whether it’s second-hand or not. You’d probably want to try and get a replacement, a refund or have the repairs paid for.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, you’ve got 30 days after you bought the car to reject it if there are any problems and get a full refund. If you bought the car before 1st October 2015, you only have a ‘reasonable amount of time’ to do this. There’s no exact time limit for this – which is why the Consumer Rights Act was introduced to remove any confusion. It will depend on the problem with the car, so if it’s only something minor, the seller may have only given you a couple of weeks to tell them if there was anything wrong.

After 30 days, if you find something wrong with the car that would have been obvious when you bought it, you can ask for a refund or a replacement. However, the seller can keep some money back from the refund if they think you’ve got some use out of the car. If more than six months have passed after you’ve bought it, it’s up to you to prove that the problem was there when you bought the car.

If you’ve bought from a private seller rather than a dealer, the rules are slightly different. The car doesn’t haven’t to be of a satisfactory quality or fit for purpose but it must be as the seller described it – so if there’s a problem that you didn’t know about, you could still claim.

When you’re not covered

The Consumer Rights Act doesn’t just give you carte blanche to get your money back if there’s something wrong with your second-hand car though. If you were told that there was something wrong with it and this was explained to you, you won’t be entitled to a refund. You probably won’t be able to get any money back if the problem was something you should have picked up on when you inspected the car, like if the bumper is dented or the paintwork’s noticeably scratched.

If you’re just dissatisfied with how much the car cost, the Consumer Rights Act doesn’t cover you either, as this is something you should have sorted out with the seller before you bought it. You also can’t get a refund or repairs costs paid for if the problem was your fault, like if you’ve bumped the car.

It’s not just used cars that could be covered by the Consumer Rights Act – find out what else you could claim for here.