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Citizens Advice tackles dodgy used motors

A new report from Citizens Advice has revealed the extent of problems that UK drivers are facing after falling prey to 'dodgy deal' second hand car purchases. The organisation revealed that they received a total of 2,519 complaints regarding used car purchases in the first two weeks of September. Of these complaints, 83% concerned faults.

A new report from Citizens Advice has revealed the extent of problems that UK drivers are facing after falling prey to 'dodgy deal' second hand car purchases. The organisation revealed that they received a total of 2,519 complaints regarding used car purchases in the first two weeks of September. Of these complaints, 83% concerned faults. More than half of those complaining reported faults coming to light within one month of buying the car. Common issues included smoke coming from the engine, broken clutches and rusted brake pipes. Of the cases reported to Citizens Advice, the faults on 139 cars were so severe that they had to be scrapped.

Citizens Advice reported that they dealt with 84,000 issues with second hand cars in the last year, ranking this as the most common problem being reported to the consumer organisation. Related issues included poor services, misleading adverts and false information about the car being purchased. It emerged that UK drivers had spent a total of £363 million on the cars reported to Citizens Advice. Of the cars reported in the first two weeks of September, 53% developed faults within the first month after purchase and 80% required urgent essential repairs.

The findings were reported as Citizen's Advice, Citizens Advice Scotland and the National Trading Standards Institute teamed up to launch a new campaign aimed at dissuading people from dodgy used car deals. Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "People are spending, on average, over £5,000 on a second-hand car with many drivers saving for months on end or taking out expensive finance packages in order to afford it. With rising day-to-day costs putting extra pressure on already tight finances, people cannot afford for such pricey purchases to go wrong. Not only could it cost families money but it can mean their car is off the road because it is unsafe. The second-hand car industry needs to put the brakes on malfunctioning motors by making sure the cars they sell are in good working order."

Trading Standards Institute chief executive, Leon Livermore, added: "In this age of austerity, it is important for consumers to have the right knowledge when buying a used car."

The move was backed by the Government's Consumer Minister, Jo Swinson, who said: "Last year over seven million used cars were sold in the UK. As Citizens Advice's figures highlight, too many consumers end up footing the bill when their car needs repairs or, worse still, ends up on the scrapheap just weeks after purchase."

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