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New OFT study to focus on used car dealers

The Office of Fair Trading has launched a market study into the sale of used cars following concerns about the large number of consumer complaints relating to the sector.

The study will focus on dealers specifically rather than private individual sales.

Consumer Direct, the Government-funded advice service, has said 68,000 complaints were made about used cars in 2008.The OFT said the purpose of the study is to understand the causes of such high levels of consumer complaints and to consider whether existing consumer protection legislation is sufficient and effective in this sector.

Concerns around defective vehicles, services and “potentially misleading selling” are consistently among the top complaints to Consumer Direct.

John Fingleton, OFT chief executive, said: “Buying a used car is a major and potentially difficult purchase, given the fact that many consumers lack the necessary experience or knowledge to make an informed buying decision.

“We aim, particularly given the current financial climate, to look at the entire process for consumers when buying a second-hand car and whether existing regulation delivers sufficient robustness, confidence and clarity for both the customer and car dealer.”

The OFT expects to complete the work by the end of the year. The OFT will be contacting key parties directly and is inviting interested parties to submit views before June 5 to

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