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Low consumer confidence stalls online used car purchasing

Research into consumer attitudes towards buying used cars on-line suggests many are reluctant to switch from browsing to buying for fear of taking home a 'lemon'.

The main reasons are doubts about dealer credibility, authenticity of safety and mileage checks, limited vehicle spec data, lack of service history and worries about outstanding finance and stolen cars.

The findings are those of CarsAlive, an independent search engine that lets buyers search all manufacturers stocks for used cars and then contact franchised dealers direct.

Its conclusions are based on 10,000 emails and telephone inquiries CarsAlive has received from consumers during the last 18 months.

Carrie Bird, CarsAlive head of business development, said: "The most important requirement uniting car buyers is a desire for confidence in their prospective purchases. It seems that an underlying fear of the unknown, and issues about vendor reliability in the event of a problem is holding back the entire on-line used car buying market.

"The low awareness amongst private buyers of their legal rights is an additional obstacle. Internet browsers unsure of their rights in the event of finding themselves with a 'lemon' simply won't buy."

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