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New rules demand a year's protection

New European legislation is set to shake up the used market, forcing retailers to accept greater responsibility for the condition of cars sold. The EC Consumer Goods directive, which comes into effect in January, means all used cars will have to carry a minimum one-year guarantee against faults. Any fault that occurs within six months will be presumed to have existed at the time of the delivery. Dean Barrett, Vauxhall marketing manager, said: “The onus will be on the dealer to prove that the fault did not exist at the time of the sale. Consumers will be entitled to reimbursement, replacement or repair.” He warned that dealers would need to “heighten the focus on quality standards” to minimise the impact of the new rules. “The change will not be dramatic, but only if retailers make plans accordingly,” he said. “Dealers will still be able to sell used vehicles with no warranty or just a three-month warranty, but need to be aware that they will have an uninsured, contingent liability until the vehicle reaches one year from the sale.” Retailers would need to maintain records and provide evidence that preparation work has been carried out and that history and mileage checks have been undertaken. “Increasingly tight consumer legislation will mean quality standards remain at the forefront of used vehicle dealers' minds,” said Mr Barrett.

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