One in three people who’ve owned a second-hand car have had problems with their vehicles – but you do have rights. Have you ever been caught out?
From the moment I looked under the bonnet and didn’t notice the radiator reservoir was a bright shade of rust-orange, Fred knew he had me.
Before signing on the dotted line, my friend and I even took the converted Renault Master campervan for a spin. Despite noticing the breaks were a little spongy, we thought the price was right and I was eager to snap it up before someone else did.
And to further prove his trustworthiness, Fred had a life-sized Mother Teresa statue in his kitchen.
But looking back a couple of years and a consumer rights job later, all the warning signs (and dashboard lights) were there. Hindsight is such painful thing.
Not a fortnight into owning the campervan, an MOT mechanic told me the handbrake needed an overhaul and all the brake pads replacing to the tune of more than £400.
Then just over a week later, the clutch blew and lightened my wallet by another £600.
And because bad things always come in threes – it was the orange radiator reservoir’s time to shine. While struggling up a steep hill in the height of the European summer, the radiator cracked. That cost another $600.
Yet Fred somehow managed to dodge my hundreds of unanswered calls. Legally, despite probably knowingly selling me a lemon, he was clear; the onus was on me to check what I was buying.
Break down in trust
Looking back, I can only think how naive and trusting I was of the hustler with a Mother Teresa statue in his kitchen to not take the campervan to a mechanics for a once-over.
Fortunately, the brand-new parts bumped the value of the camper up again so I wasn’t left too out-of-pocket. But the shame of being duped still stings.
Have you ever been caught out like me and learned the hard way about how to buy a second-hand car?
You definitely wouldn’t be the only one. We surveyed a representative of the British public and found of those who had issues with their car, 6% of them were so bad it affected their essential functioning.
But did you know you have different rights if you buy from a dealer versus a private seller?