Consumer Zach Robinson is given advice on what to look out for when buying a car by Angela Gilliland (Trading Standards Service) and Philippa McKeown-Brown (The Consumer Council).

New guide to help steer clear of car purchase pitfalls

Second-hand cars top complaint in Northern Ireland

The Consumer Council has produced a new free guide for car buyers that explains your consumer rights, what to check before you buy and what to do if things go wrong. The guide also explains what to be mindful of if you are buying outside your country of residence. 

‘A Car Buyer’s Guide’ has been produced jointly by The Consumer Council, Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service, and the European Consumer Centre, Ireland.  

Encouraging you to get your free copy of the guide, Philippa McKeown-Brown, Head of Consumer Empowerment and Protection at The Consumer Council, explained: “Buying a car can be expensive, and it’s a purchase that most of us rely on, so when something goes wrong, it can throw a real spanner in the works. 

“But if the trader is based in Great Britain and you live here in Northern Ireland, the issue can be even harder to resolve. It can be worse still if the person you bought from is not who they claim to be, or you have fallen victim to a scam.”

According to Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service, second-hand cars continue to top the list of complained about goods. Their complaints handling service ‘Consumerline’ dealt with a total of 1,056 complaints about second-hand cars last year, an increase of 5% on the previous year.

Damien Doherty, Chief Inspector at Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service, said: “Many of the complaints we receive are from consumers who have bought vehicles from sellers at a roundabout, the side of the road, or a car park. These can be from private sellers or a trader posing as a private seller. When you buy anything privately you have very few statutory rights and traders are aware of this.

“If Trading Standards reinforces just one message from this guide it is never buy a car from anyone in these circumstances. It is highly unlikely that you will gain any redress if things go wrong, and quite often they will. Do your homework when buying a car and always remember the phrase:  Let the Buyer Beware!”

To get your free guide contact The Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022 or email [email protected] You can also download a copy at 

Last updated 1 year ago