Trading Standards scrutinise used car and tyre dealers

Posted on: 26 January 2016

Trading Standards officers are focusing on the practices of used car dealers and garages across Devon and Somerset.

Every year Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service receives over 2,000 complaints about second hand cars and servicing.

Since April 2015 officers have visited 18 forecourts with 13 cars withdrawn from sale, and inspected 38 premises selling part worn tyres, with 23 traders having inadequate documentation,  14 had non-compliant labelling and 13 partly worn tyres with structural defects withdrawn from sale.

Officers also submitted a car to 13 garages that offered free safety checks.  Twelve passed, but one trader returned the vehicle in an unsatisfactory condition after carrying out work on the brakes.

These actions follow the Used Car Commission proposing a greater focus on information gathering so issues could be quickly acted on and are based on an assessment of intelligence received.

The service is urging traders to sign up to the Buy with Confidence (BWC) scheme, which shows that a trader operates within the law.

In October 2015 the new Consumer Rights Act came into force.  The Act clarifies consumer rights when they have purchased faulty goods.

Paul Thomas, Head of Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service said: “The new provisions of the Consumer Rights Act provide an opportunity for improved levels of consumer satisfaction but this will only be achieved if both traders and consumers are aware of, and understand, their rights and obligations.”

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Devon and Somerset Trading Standards, said: “I am pleased that Cllr Roger Croadour officers have adopted a balanced approach to their enforcement activities by trying to have a national influence on policy, providing advice and assistance to local traders, and only taking formal action against the most serious offenders. The results of this year’s activities have shown that the majority of traders are operating professionally, with most of the problems found being willingly rectified.”

Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council added, Cllr David Hall“Looking for traders that have signed up to relevant codes of practice, or buying from a BWC member should help consumers avoid unnecessary problems.  BWC members have been audited by trading standards officers and consumers can be assured that their trading practices are honest and fair.”

To complain or for details regarding the protections for consumers contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline: 03454 04 05 06.

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