When you buy a car, the law gives you certain rights that protect you if it turns out to be faulty. Find out what these rights are and who to complain to if things go wrong.Your rights when you buy a car
When you buy a car from a car dealer or an online car dealer (also known as traders), the car must be:
If a car doesn’t meet any of these points, it is faulty and you will usually have the right to a:
If you buy a car from a trader online or over the phone, you also have the right to a 'cooling off' period. This gives you seven working days after the car has been delivered to cancel your order for any reason and get your money back.
If you buy a car from a private seller or at a car auction for traders, you have fewer rights. The car only has to:
If the car you buy has a disclaimer
Some car traders try to use disclaimers such as 'sold as seen', 'trade sale only' or 'no refund' to restrict your rights. This is against the law and you can report any trader that does this to Consumer Direct, the government funded consumer advice service.
Car Dealers who say they are private sellers
Some car dealers pretend they are private sellers to get rid of faulty cars. Signs that a private seller may be a car dealer include:
If you believe a private seller is a car dealer, report them to Consumer Direct.
If you buy a faulty car from a private seller who turns out to be a car dealer, you would have the right to a repair, replacement or refund.
Second-hand car auctions – your rights
Sellers at auctions can restrict your rights by putting signs up around the car or information in the auction catalogue such as:
The responsibility for checking a car at auction is yours (see link below).
It is illegal for auction houses to put the wrong vehicle history in the auction catalogue, because this could result in you buying a stolen car. You can report any auction houses you suspect of doing this to Consumer Direct.
Returning a faulty car to a trader
If you discover a fault with a car you’ve bought from a trader, you should contact the trader immediately.
If the trader agrees to sort out the fault, what the trader will offer you will depend on:
The law here is complex and you may need to get advice about whether the trader should offer to repair, replace or refund the car.