News item

Commission launched to address second hand car complaints

The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) and Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs Jo Swinson have announced an industry-led commission tasked with finding the best possible solution to mitigate the disproportionate second hand car complaints filed by consumers.

As highlighted during today's launch of National Consumer Week, used car complaints exceed all other complaints made to Citizens Advice. Citizens Advice received 84,000 used car related complaints in 2012.

The commission, which was announced by Swinson during the launch of NCW, brings together representatives from consumer groups, motoring organisations, regulators, industry trade associations and government. 

'There's been a lot of research done over the past few years on the causes of these complaints and potential solutions,' said TSI Chief Executive Leon Livermore.

'The commission will review the available evidence and come to a shared agreement regarding the right solution to those issues.'

Participating organisations include: TSI, the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB), Citizens Advice, the AA, RAC, the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF), Motor Codes and the Department for Innovation Business and Skills (BIS).

Swinson said: 'Last year over seven million used cars were sold in the UK. As Citizens Advice's figures highlight, too many consumers end up footing the bill when their car needs repairs or worse still, ends up on the scrap heap just weeks after purchase.

'Partners from industry, consumer groups and regulators recognise the effect unscrupulous dealers can have on legitimate traders and consumers. I hope the new commission will e in a position to agree to a set of customer service standards by March. This means consumers will be able to recognise easily the good dealers out there and it will drive out of the market those traders looking to exploit buyers.'

The Commission on Second Hand Cars is expected to present its findings to the Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP), which is designed to identify, prioritize and take action in areas of the consumer landscape that pose the greatest threat to consumers, by the spring of 2014.

'We feel that when a consumer is buying a used car, they should engage with an automotive professional that has agreed to work with an industry code of conduct,' said Stuart James, director of the Independent Garage Association.

'This commission will hopefully provide quality used car dealers with the recognition they deserve and identify the rogue traders, letting them know they cannot operate in an inappropriate manner.' 


Notes for Editors:

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact the TSI press office on 0845 608 9575 or

Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally.  We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities. TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. 
DATE: 05 November 2013