Buying a used car

Third of used-car buyers have ‘bought a lemon’ AA Cars research shows

Third of used-car buyers have ‘bought a lemon’ AA Cars research shows

Third of used-car buyers have ‘bought a lemon’ AA Cars research shows

A third (30%) of buyers say they have been misled about past problems with a used car they have bought, according to new research* among AA members, in the latest ‘State of the Nation’s Cars’ report by AA Cars.

Nearly a quarter (23%) say they suspected their car had mechanical or other faults about which they were misled at the time of the sale. 

In addition, another 11% of buyers suspect that their car had been involved in an accident during an earlier ownership, according to the AA-Populus research among over 19,000 car-buying respondents.

Car buyers need certainty that their car doesn’t have a hidden history

David Bruce, director of AA Cars

David Bruce, director of AA Cars says: “It’s startling that so many people believe they have bought a ‘lemon’ of a used car. 

“Earlier research conducted by AA Cars has shown that a third of people find buying a car a stressful experience and not knowing the history of the car you’re buying will certainly contribute to that stress.”

Other problems

Other problems that buyers have discovered after buying their car include 'clocking' – 5% say that they found the mileage of their car was greater than that indicated on the odometer while an unfortunate 1% discovered that that the car still had outstanding finance.

“These are potentially serious issues,” Mr Bruce points out. “Car buyers need certainty that their car doesn’t have a hidden history. 

If a car has been involved in a crash and not well repaired there could be safety implications.  If there’s money still owed on the car, the finance company could claim it back, leaving the buyer with nothing but a large hole in his or her bank account.

Ever since used cars have been sold previous owners have often tried to cover up history that might affect the value of the vehicle.  But that is becoming more difficult following Office of Fair Trading recommendations into selling of used cars.

Key findings of the research

In response to the question: Have you ever bought a used car which you later suspected had any of the following?

Problem All Male Female
Mechanical or other faults about which you had been misled at the time of the sale 23% 24% 20%
Been involved in an accident 11% 12% 8%
Been ‘clocked’ (ie mileage wound back) 5% 6% 2%
Had finance outstanding 1% - -

(20 August 2013)

* AA-Populus carried out research between 11-18 July 2013 and 19,949 AA members responded.  Of those, 30% (5,916) had bought a used car which they suspected of having at least one of the above problems.  66% (13,160) have bought a used car with no problems. The balance (873) had not bought a used car.

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