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RAC launches first used car code to be fully accredited by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute

Posted 14/12/16

  • RAC Approved Dealers pioneer new code that gives consumers confidence and trust
  • RAC challenges second-hand dealers to end second-rate service

In a bid to boost consumers’ confidence when buying a second hand vehicle, the RAC has announced the launch of what was the UK’s first used car code accredited by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

The code, published today on the RAC’s website, applies to all vehicles bought through the RAC’s Approved Dealer network. Externally and independently accredited, it gives those in the market for a used vehicle certainty that the car they choose is dependable – and gives them full recourse in the unlikely event something goes wrong.

Buying a used car is one of the biggest and most important financial outlays most people make, but the industry has a for a long time been cast in a negative light with motorists often experiencing bad service and poor value for money. An RAC survey* conducted in 2015 found that nearly two-fifths (39%) of drivers who had bought a used vehicle had a bad experience and would under no circumstances use the same dealer again, while 29% of dealers dealt badly with putting problems right. Citizens Advice** meanwhile reported that problems with second-hand cars was one of the top consumer complaints in the first quarter of 2016, accounting for 11% of all cases dealt with.

The RAC Used Vehicle Code of Practice, adopted by every dealer that carries the RAC’s Approved Dealer branding, has been subjected to stringent tests by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. It was the first in the country to be formally accredited by the organisation – further evidence that consumers can buy from any of the dealers in complete confidence. The code explains in simple language the high levels of service dealers must demonstrate to customers, how complaints are handled and how stock must be advertised. It also sets out the RAC’s BuySure guarantee, which applies to all vehicles sold and consists of the following: 

  • A certificate confirming the vehicle has passed the RAC’s 82-point approved vehicle preparation standard
  • A minimum of three months’ RAC warranty
  • 12 months’ RAC Breakdown Cover (Roadside, Recovery, At Home)
  • A comprehensive car data check that provides independent confirmation the car is ‘clean’ – ie not stolen, written off or subject to a number plate change

RAC Approved Dealer network manager Gary Wrightson-Heyworth said: “Buying a used car remains for some consumers a daunting prospect and we are determined to help make the process as stress and risk-free as possible.

“We started by working hard to develop a nationwide network of dealerships that motorists can depend on again and again when they are looking to buy a used car. The independently-accredited code we are launching today is proof that we have complete confidence in the dealers that we have chosen to work with – and that consumers can have that confidence too.

“Importantly, for any motorist that has had their fingers burned in the past the code also gives them certainty that in the unlikely event that anything does go wrong, a clear process will be followed and a fair resolution reached.

“The code complements the RAC’s suite of services that are designed to boost motorists’ confidence when buying on the second-hand market. It includes the RAC Vehicle Check product, the UK’s most comprehensive vehicle data check, and RAC Vehicle Inspections that help ensure that a vehicle is both mechanically and structurally sound.

“By launching our used car code, we are also sending a strong message out to every motor trader in the country – with the RAC Approved Dealer network, backed by a code approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, consumers need no longer accept underhand sales tactics and second-rate service when buying their next used car.”

Leon Livermore, chief executive at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: "Few of us are car experts so when it comes to buying a car, especially a used car, that makes us vulnerable consumers.

"Often, the lower the budget the more vulnerable a person is and when things go wrong on a car that is financed, costs can soon start to snowball.   

“By becoming a consumer code sponsor the RAC has proved it is committed to consumer protection and delivering the highest levels of customer service and we are pleased to welcome them on board.”

For more information on the RAC Approved Dealer network, visit www.rac.co.uk/approveddealer.


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Notes to Editors

* www.rac.co.uk/press-centre#/pressreleases/car-dealers-failure-to-put-problems-right-fuels-lack-of-trust-among-buyers-1181878

** www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/Consumer%20publications/ConsumerAdvicetrendsQ12016-17.pdf

About RAC

With more than eight million members, the RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, insurance, buying a used car, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – the RAC offers a solution for all motoring needs. The RAC is committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.

The RAC is the motorist’s champion and campaigns to support the interests of its members and UK motorists at a national level, including advancing levels of road safety, supporting the needs of young drivers and voicing concerns about the increasing cost of motoring. The RAC’s annual Report on Motoring – first published in 1989 – provides a clear insight into the concerns and issues facing today’s motorists.

For the very latest news on UK fuel prices, check RAC Fuel Watch or follow #racfuelwatch on Twitter. RAC Fuel Watch is a comprehensive guide to the latest UK unleaded petrol and diesel prices – both at the wholesale level and at the pump. RAC Fuel Watch analyses how prices changed through the previous month and compares the most recent prices with those from three, six and 12 months before.

Key facts:

  • RAC patrols fix four out of five vehicles at the roadside and on average within 34 minutes
  • RAC vans carry more than 500 parts and tools to get members’ vehicles going again
  • 98% of members would recommend RAC Rescue to their friends and family

RAC press releases, news alerts and a wealth of motoring research is available from www.rac.co.uk/press-centre/.

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