There are plenty of reasons why a consumer might decide to buy a used car, not least that it’s often much less expensive than a new vehicle. However, a used car may also have had a number of previous owners, and though you should be provided with a full history of the vehicle when you buy it, clearly there is more risk associated with these purchases. Thankfully, there are different types of protection available too.
For example, in certain circumstances, you can benefit from a 30-day warranty on used cars.
Different types of protection
The level of protection you can rely on when you are buying a used car will depend on whether you get it from a dealer, a private seller or at auction.
Buying from a dealer
If something goes wrong with a car purchased from a dealer, you have an automatic right to reject the car within 30 days. The Consumer Rights Act states that a car must be of satisfactory quality considering its age and mileage, fit for purpose, and ‘as described’.
If, within 30 days of purchase, you discover something about the car that means that it fails to meet these criteria, you have the right to reject the good and get a full refund. In this way, this legal protection acts as a 30-day warranty on a used car.
If you buy a car from a private seller, the car must still be as described, but you cannot enjoy the protection of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
Here, the onus is on the buyer to carefully check the documentation and the credentials of the seller. For example, is the log book up to date? Is the chassis number the same as the one in the log book? Does the seller have the right to sell it to you? Is there outstanding credit on the car? All of this is information a buyer has to ascertain from the seller before driving off with the vehicle.
Buying at auction
The rights that you can rely on when buying a car at auction vary, and can depend on the rules of the auction house. Generally, a car bought at auction from a dealer will be covered for 30 days by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, unless this is explicitly excluded by the auction house. If buying from a private seller, the rules for private sellers apply. If buying from an online auction, buyers are protected by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, which allow you to change your mind in the first 14 days of the purchase.
So, is there a 30-day warranty on used cars?
Yes, the 30-day warranty for used cars that the Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides is a legal protection. Remember though that this is not the same thing as buying an additional warranty. A warranty is an additional form of insurance to provide protection over and above the statutory protection of the Consumer Rights Act.
‘Approved used car warranties’ are often offered by dealers for up to 12 months after the date of purchase. These are usually effective on the condition that any repair work or maintenance is also undertaken by the dealership.
‘Aftermarket car warranties’ might also be offered and these vary greatly in terms of cover, cost and terms of protection. It is crucial to carefully read the terms of the warranty to see if it is appropriate for you.
Some cars are offered with no warranty at all. This is perfectly legal, so know what you are doing when you are buying a used car from a dealer.