CAB offers advice to car buyers

THE District Manager of Newtownabbey Citizens Advice Bureau has revealed that the CAB office in Rathcoole has received a number of queries in recent weeks from people concerned about getting ripped off when buying a used car.

Pat Hutchinson is urging people to know their rights and responsibilities when it comes to purchasing a second hand vehicle.

“If you are buying a second hand car your rights will depend on where you bought it. If something goes wrong you will usually have more rights if you bought the car from a dealer than if you buy from a private seller or at an auction, but make sure you check the small print,” she said.

“If buying from a dealer (in person or over the internet), the car needs to meet certain criteria; it must match its description, be of satisfactory quality (i.e in reasonable condition for its age, history and price) and be roadworthy. But you should be very wary about signing any documents which state that you have examined the car and found it satisfactory in all respects or these rights will no longer be valid.”

Mrs Hutchinson added: “If you buy a car in person at a live auction, you should check the terms and conditions of the business of the auction. You may have limited rights if the car turns out to be faulty, for example they may state that your rights under the Sale of Goods Act are excluded. It will be your responsibility to check the car before you bid for it.

“If you buy from a private seller, either face-to-face or online, you won’t have the same rights as if you buy from a dealer but it is still a criminal offence for anyone to sell a car that is not roadworthy. Be very cautious of a seller who wants to meet you away from their private address, whose name is not in the logbook, or who is vague about answering your questions. Before you buy a used vehicle you can check to see if it’s been stolen, written off or has any finance outstanding against it through the DVLA or private vehicle check companies.”

For more information and advice log on to www.adviceguide.org.uk, call into the Newtownabbey CAB office at the Dunanney Centre or telephone 9085 2271 (9am - 4pm, Monday - Friday).