As the second article on this new chapter for second hand car dealers we will look at some of the practical steps given in the Office of Fair Trading guidance.
Pre sales Checks
The guidance draws to your attention to consider what information the customer needs to make an informed purchasing decision, and, of course, that information must be truthful and not misleading. As a point to consider you could ask yourself what you will want to say to promote the sale eg if it has a full manufacturers’ service history then it’s a plus point for the sale. However, if it has a chequered service history or no service history, you are required to be up front about this also. As another example, if it has no ‘advisories’ with the MOT you will want to provide that information. However, if there are ‘advisories’ the customer will be interested in that. The new rules turn car selling very much on its head and are designed to make sales totally transparent.
The vehicle history checks suggested, as you might expect, are HPI/Experian type checks. The guidance also suggest you need to check if it is an ex business use vehicle which will have had multiple users. It also suggests the customer should declare the history as correct/incorrect/unknown on the purchase invoice, asking for documentation, checking the registration details with DVLA, and checking the MOT results.
Mileage checks are a requirement in the guidance. Unless you are satisfied the mileage is accurate the guidance suggests you should not quote it in advertisements or verbally/in writing elsewhere. The guidance goes on to say you should tell customers what mileage checks you have carried out and what you have found out.
Mileage disclaimers are considered a last report when your checks show the mileage to be incorrect or it has been impossible to verify the correct mileage. Where you find, say, the mileage to exceed that displayed then the guidance suggests the information you find out should be disclosed rather than simply the using a disclaimer.
We will look at further aspects of Pre-Sales checks in future bulletins.
In remembrance of Dennis Chapman 1951 -2015