News item

NTSB funds used to launch car buying app for consumers

A wheel bentJust in time for Trading Standard Institute's (TSI) National Consumer Week, an app is being launched to help used car buyers check it before they regret it. The app is the work of the North East Trading Standards Association (NETSA) Scambusters team and the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB).

The Car Buyers Guide app provides key information and checklists needed when buying a used car including MOT evaluations; things to look out for; and legal rights. A checklist of more than 20 key points will also help the consumer complete a thorough examination before buying the car. 

'During a recession in particular, buying a used car is often the second biggest purchase a consumer will make after a house,' said NETSA chair David Ellerington. 'It's important that these consumers are aware of what they're doing so they do not get ripped off.'

The NTSB funded app builds on the National Consumer Week message that consumers should complete thorough checks before buying a used car. In conjunction with MOT checks, consumers should check the reputation of the seller and legal status of the car before making the purchase.

'This mobile app is a clever way to help consumers who are buying a used car to ensure the vehicle is safe and that mileages are not being wound  back by unscrupulous car traders,' said Lord Toby Harris, chair of the National Trading Standards Board. 'This app, in conjunction with National Consumer Week, goes a long way to educate consumers about buying a used car. The convenient real-time checklists provided by the app will help protect vulnerable consumers from scams, which is a goal NTSB teams continually strive toward.'

The idea for the app was developed years ago when Dorset trading standards officers designed a booklet to help consumers make informed used car purchases. The information from the booklet, which is now the national guide for used car buying, is the mobile extension of the Car Buyers Guide. 

'It's interesting how this app came to being,' said Dorset Trading Standards Officer Jonathan Harris. 'It went from a local authority to a national app, which is a natural development for a good educational resource designed to help consumers.'

In the last 12 months, Citizens Advice has addressed more than 84,000 complaints related to second hand cars. These complaints amounted to more than £363 million in consumer spending. 

The Car Buyers Guide app is one more tool to help consumers make a wise decision when buying a used car. To download the Android version of the Car Buyers Guide, which was released today, click here: The iPhone version will be released in a few weeks. 

For more information about the National Consumer Week 'check it, don't regret it' campaign developed by the Trading Standards Institute and Citizens Advice,


For more information contact David Ellerington on 01912116119 or the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 6089430 or

Notes to editors

The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards. 

NTSB provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.

Scambusters is a NTSB funded project aimed at targeting rogue trading, doorstep crime and scams, providing a support across England and Wales through eight regionally based teams: 

1. Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CeNTSA)

2. North East Trading Standards Authorities (NETSA)

3. Trading Standards East Midlands (TSEM)

4. Trading Standards North West (TSNW)

5. Tri Region Scambusters (TRS), on behalf of Trading Standards South East Ltd (TSSEL), East of England Trading Standards Association (EETSA) and London Trading Standards Association (LOTSA)

6. Trading Standards Partnership South West (SWERCOTS)

7. Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards Group (YAHTSG) and

8. Wales Heads of Trading Standards (WHoTS)

There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland. 

DATE: 07 November 2013