Automobile Association

Automobile Association

August 09, 2013 08:51 ET

Third of Used-Car Buyers have 'Bought a Lemon' AA Cars Research Shows

- Quarter say their car suffered mechanical problems

- 11% of used cars had been in a crash

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Aug. 9, 2013) - A third (30%) of buyers say they have been misled about past problems with a used car they have bought, according to new research* among AA members, in the latest 'State of the Nation's Cars' report by the AA.

Nearly a quarter (23%) say they suspected their car had mechanical or other faults about which they were misled at the time of the sale.

In addition, another 11% of buyers suspect that their car had been involved in an accident during an earlier ownership, according to the AA/Populus research among over 19,000 car-buying respondents.

David Bruce, director of AA Cars says: "It's startling that so many people believe they have bought a 'lemon' of a used car.

"Earlier research conducted by AA Cars has shown that a third of people find buying a car a stressful experience and not knowing the history of the car you're buying will certainly contribute to that stress."

Other problems that buyers have discovered after buying their car include 'clocking' - 5% say that they found the mileage of their car was greater than that indicated on the odometer while an unfortunate 1% discovered that that the car still had outstanding finance.

"These are potentially serious issues," Mr Bruce points out. "Car buyers need certainty that their car doesn't have a hidden history.

"If a car has been involved in a crash and not well repaired there could be safety implications. If there's money still owed on the car, the finance company could claim it back, leaving the buyer with nothing but a large hole in his or her bank account."

Ever since used cars have been sold previous owners have often tried to cover up history that might affect the value of the vehicle. But that is becoming more difficult following Office of Fair Trading recommendations into selling of used cars.*

"Buying a used car today needn't be stressful," says Mr Bruce.

"AA Cars has just launched an online car buying platform that aims to take out the stress and is supported by a 26-point car history check on listed cars.

"Users of AA Cars also get a discount on a full AA vehicle inspection which covers mechanical and electrical systems, body repairs and a host of safety-critical issues.

"The last thing a car buyer wants is a sour taste left once they get their new car home."

Key findings of the research

In response to the question: Have you ever bought a used car which you later suspected had any of the following?

Problem All Male Female
Mechanical or other faults about which you had been misled at the time of the sale 23 % 24 % 20 %
Been involved in an accident 11 % 12 % 8 %
Been 'clocked' (ie mileage wound back) 5 % 6 % 2 %
Had finance outstanding 1 % - -

* AA/Populus carried out research between 11-18 July 2013 and 19,949 AA members responded. Of those, 30% (5,916) had bought a used car which they suspected of having at least one of the above problems. 66% (13,160) have bought a used car with no problems. The balance (873) had not bought a used car.

** http://www.oft.gov.uk/OFTwork/markets-work/cars

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