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TSI offers service advice

The Trading Standards Institute and HPI have jointly produced a Car Buyers’ Guide, which aims to give consumers the know-how to carry out basic checks on a vehicle’s history, servicing records, MoT tests and suitability before they buy. One of the key messages to buyers is to get an HPI Check carried out on any vehicle considered for purchase.

Peter Stratton, TSI lead officer on the motor trade, says: “Trading standards teams across the country have had a massive positive impact on the car trade operating from fixed premises, with improved regulation, inspection and enforcement systems in place. However, there is a growing trade in cars sold through small ads, on the side of the road and, increasingly, on the internet.

The huge range of outlets is difficult to police, so it is imperative that buyers take responsibility for carrying out checks before they buy.

“Some of the vehicles changing hands are not just dodgy – they are downright dangerous. We will do all we can to act against unscrupulous traders and individuals, but it is up to vehicle buyers to heed our advice at the point of purchase. Getting compensation afterwards is difficult – the time to act is before money changes hands. I am confident that if buyers heed the advice in the guide they will be protected against rogue sellers.”

One in three HPI Checks highlight an issue that requires further investigation or explanation, according to HPI director Martin Brassell.

Among the most prolific problems is clocking, with almost one in 10 HPI Checks performed this year uncovering a mileage discrepancy, sometimes of as much as 100,000 miles. “We were keen to link up with TSI to sponsor this guide to help educate and alert the public about the potential pitfalls in car-buying, particularly from rogue traders in lay-bys and car parks,” says Brassell.

  • According to OFT statistics, last year the number of complaints about second hand cars topped 62,000, and car-buying regularly features in the top two concerns of consumers in surveys.
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