Used car dealers should be regulated, says government

New government measures have been announced to guarantee a consistently good quality of service from those who deal in used cars.

The Used Car Commission, created by Westminster, will create a fresh set of standards for individual and franchise car dealers, which they must follow.

The move comes in the wake of a year-long piece of research which showed that Citizens Advice dealt with nearly 70,000 queries concerning pre-owned vehicles, while the AA reported that hundreds of thousands of motorists experienced issues with these cars.

Of course, ensuring high standards is vital in any sector, but problems can crop up from time to time for which the professionals involved are not to blame. That’s why specialised motor trade insurance is so crucial to anyone who deals in cars. It safeguards against a number of risks as they conduct their business, whether a combined or road risks policy is chosen.

The government is calling for codes and trader approval programmes to be introduced, and urging greater cooperation between Trading Standards and police, so that motorists are not left high and dry by the minority of dealers offering a sub-standard service.

Consumer Affairs Minister, Jo Swinson, said: “While most people buying second-hand cars enjoy a trouble-free process, too many are left out of pocket to the tune of thousands of pounds, or unresolved problems. These recommendations make for a good starting point, and it’s pleasing to see the industry coming together to ensure the best outcome for motorists.”

The move is also announced as figures published this month suggest that sales of second-hand cars reached nearly 7.54m vehicles in 2013, the most since 2006, fuelling the highest ever market value of over £42bn. Average values of fleet and lease used cars also saw a significant increase. Dealers took a record market share, increasing volumes year on year by more than 5% to nearly 4.3 million, equivalent to getting on for 60% of the total.

In fact, the second-hand car market outperformed the overall new car sector by £6bn, says the yearly BCA Used Car Market Report, which has been published now for almost a quarter of a century.