More than a third (39%) of motorists who have bought a used-car would under no circumstances use the same dealer again.
A study into the car-buying habits of 1,500 motorists* carried out by the RAC also found 40% of people said they have had a problem with a vehicle bought from a used car dealer and almost a third (29%) said the dealer did not do at all well in putting the problem right.
And, one in three (30%) car owners say they have actively told people not to use a particular car dealer.
Despite the negative experience of some highlighted in the survey conducted for the launch of RAC BuySure, 56% of motorists say they would buy a used-car rather than a brand new vehicle because new cars depreciate more quickly.
In addition, a further 44% think they feel they get better quality and a higher spec of vehicle if they buy from a used car dealer.
RAC BuySure spokesman Mario Dolcezza said: “The used car dealer is still the first place many people look when they are in the market for a car and our survey suggests 65% of motorists go to a dealer in their area because they think they provide the best value. But this is not always the case as some dealers are clearly not living up to the expectations of their customers.
“Our research findings show that dealers need to be very conscious of the importance of having a good reputation and making sure they always deal well with any issues their customers might experience after buying a car from them otherwise motorists will go elsewhere.”
The prime reason for deciding to change cars was revealed as increasing repair bills (50%), followed by unreliability (41%), however nearly a third (31%) said they just fancied a change while for 29% it was the miles on the clock getting too high.
Dolcezza said: “We understand that for many motorists buying a used car is a big financial commitment and there is real anxiety about unwittingly buying a ‘lemon’ and having no comeback after driving off the forecourt. Dealers really need to make sure they do everything they can to give buyers the utmost confidence in their cars as trust is key in the buying process.”
In response to these long-standing consumer concerns about dealers and stereotypical perceptions of the ‘second-hand car salesman’ the RAC is rolling out its BuySure initiative across the country following a trial period in select locations.
The scheme is being introduced throughout the RAC’s network of approved dealers to ensure used car buyers can drive off the forecourt with confidence in their purchase from a local dealer as each vehicle is prepared to an 82-point RAC standard and comes with a minimum of three months’ RAC breakdown and three months’ RAC Warranty.
Dolcezza said: “From a dealer’s perspective it also makes sense as those involved in our trial have seen their sales increase as a result of increased consumer confidence which is clearly a win for both the dealer and the customer.”
NFDA says its members give best service
The National Franchised Dealers Association said motorists can buy with confidence from its members as they “adhere to the strictest set of standards for selling used cars covering customer service and security”.
Director of the NFDA, Sue Robinson, said: “Obviously, any research which improves levels of service to customers is welcomed.
“The RAC findings imply a level playing field when it comes to customer service within the motor industry but this just isn’t the case.
“We know from information provided to us by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) that our members rank highly in terms of customer satisfaction.
“According to the most recent CAB report, although franchised dealers are responsible for the vast majority of used car sales in the UK, they are responsible for just 14% of complaints both to the CAB and the NCS.
“As an industry, we have worked incredibly hard with our dealer members to introduce a range of initiatives designed to offer car buyers the highest levels of satisfaction when it comes to buying a used car.”
This included the launch of the Trusted Dealers used car portal two years ago, which led the way in being the safest way to buy a used car online. More than a quarter of a million people use the website every month to source their next car.
NFDA members also have access to the RMI’s National Conciliation Service, designed to act as an unbiased service for consumers experiencing problems with a used car purchase.