Buying a used car is one of those things in life that’s both extremely exciting and absolutely terrifying at the same time. You’re getting a well-needed upgrade, or, making an economically genius decision, but at the same time, could be making a mistake. It’s very up in the air, but, it’s important to remember that it’s not all bad. There are rules and rights in place when buying a used car to act in your favour to stop you from getting taken advantage of. The only downside is that you have to know about them and make sure you don’t make any mistakes if and when the time comes that you need them.
According to Citizens Advice, these are the things you need to watch out for in order to be covered to get the issues accounted for by someone else.
If You Were Informed about the fault
When you’re buying a new used car and you’re told about an issue, you need to make sure you’re paying attention. Your rights when buying a used car mean that you can get the money back for things you didn’t know about, but only if you’re not told. This is one of the biggest things to remember. If you were told about it, whether you were listening or you understood it or not, you may well be on your own.
That doesn’t mean it has to be as daunting as it sounds, so don’t panic. You have to be aware of the extent of the issue, or at least understand what it means. Fancy jargon and unusual language have to be simplified to help you stay safe, even with the car’s history. Always try to keep things clear, and don’t be afraid to take notes either. Emai and text trails can be useful here too, as well as a third party present for any interactions.
If You missed the visible issue
This one speaks for itself a little, but it’s still something to remember. If the car has a visible issue and you’ve personally seen it yourself, even if you missed it but it was there, it could be your fault for ignoring it. Remember, this is only if you have personally seen the car in real life. Images and online viewings do not count here.
This one is mostly about bodywork issues. Scratches, dents or paint issues that are clearly visible on the vehicle. Take your time to inspect the vehicle, or use a third party inspection service to keep you in the clear. Really take a thorough look at what you’re buying.
If You Caused the Fault
Thirdly, your rights when buying a used car are void again if the fault was caused by you. This one goes without saying, but it’s surprising what some people will try and pass off as someone else. If that damage happens as a result of something that you caused, that’s going to be down to you to fix, not the seller.
This still needs some clarification. If the fault was already there but you didn’t realise and weren’t told but it happens while the car is yours, that’s not your fault. Say the engine has damage and causes issues 5 miles away from the seller’s house when you leave; that’s not your fault. If you scratch the vehicle on a speed bump or you crash it entirely, that’s on you.
If The fault is fair
The last point you need to look at when you’re keeping yourself safe as you buy your new used car is what is classed as fair wear and tear. This one is a real issue for a lot of people, and again, it’s something you don’t have a leg to stand on a lot of the time, so do your homework.
As far as your rights when you’re buying a used car go, fair wear and tear are where the car has issues, but they aren’t unreasonable. Say you buy the car and the tyres are worn, or the brakes aren’t great. They are faults that come with a used car in general, and that’s not up to the seller to fix if they don’t want to (unless you discuss that prior of course). This, however, is debatable a lot of the time.
Cooling off periods
Now, before you panic about buying a new used vehicle, there is one final, final thing you need to be aware of too. It’s not really applicable for most cases but if it does apply, then it’s something you need to know about; cooling-off periods.
Cooling off periods apply to every industry, not just cars. It comes down to this; if you buy something without seeing it, I.E. over the phone or internet, these rights don’t matter. Instead, you get 14 days to return your purchase free of charge. That’s to tell the vendor you want to return it. Then you get another 14 days to send it back. That’s important to know if you’re buying something without being able to see it first.
Ultimately, car buying is always going to be a risk, but as long as you know your stuff, you have a fighting chance. Check everything you can do, including the car’s history, and try and do your homework to see the common pitfalls. Alternatively, you can use services such as ours to help you be 100% sure of what you’re buying.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you know your rights!