Independent used car dealers have topped the Consumer Direct list as the most common customer gripe for the fourth time in a row.
Franchise dealers were also named and shamed within the top 10 listing. However, HPI the vehicle information company, said it was a minority within the trade that is casting a shadow over the industry as a whole. HPI believes that has its risks whether a consumer is buying from a dealer or from a member of the public.
HPI is advising customers to check if a trader is registered with a trade association that has to follow a code of practice.
Nicola Johnson, consumer services manager for HPI, said: “Once this is established buyers should do some groundwork before they visit a trader so that they have a good understanding of what make and model of car they can realistically afford, and what sort of condition they should expect that vehicle to be in for the price they are willing to pay.
"When you visit dealers, ask them a few basic questions to help you separate out the good from the dodgy ones. This can help you save time, trouble and money. Under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, all descriptions applied to a vehicle must be true.
“For instance, a car cannot be advertised as having had one careful owner if it has actually had three, so ask to see the vehicle's paperwork such as V5 and service history for yourself."
Sue Robinson, director of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF), said they were working closely with the Office of Fair Trading on a study into the second hand car market and reported that in many cases a complaint has arisen as a result of a breakdown in communication or a misunderstanding between the customer and the trader.