In this blog, we will guide you through what you need to know when buying a car. We will cover your rights when buying a car, including the protection provided by consumer law, as well as the necessary practical checks you need to do before making a purchase. Whether you are a buyer or a seller, this post is for you.

Rights When Buying from a Dealer

When buying a used car from a dealer, the Consumer Rights Act is there to protect your rights. The Act states that the car should be of satisfactory quality, fit for its purpose, and as described by the dealer. If there are any issues with the car, you have a right to a repair or replacement, or a refund if the problem is severe.

Rights When Buying from a Private Seller

If you are buying a used car from a private seller, your rights are protected by the Sale of Goods Act. The car should be as described by the seller, fit for its purpose, and of an acceptable quality. If the car is faulty, you may be entitled to a repair or refund, depending on the circumstances.

Pre-Purchase Checks

Before you buy a used car, it is essential to do your homework. This includes checking the documentation and paperwork, conducting a thorough vehicle check, and taking the car for a test drive. You should always ask to see the car's logbook (V5C), service history, and any relevant certificates such as the MOT test certificate. This documentation verifies that the car's history is consistent with the seller's description. It is also a good idea to get an independent vehicle check done by a mechanic to ensure there are no underlying issues.

young couple in dealership with sales person
Woman using a laptop, with notepad, glasses and a coffee cup next to her.

Consumer Protection and Additional Protections

It is important to note that the Consumer Rights Act provides protection for up to six years after purchase. However, this does not mean that the car has to last for six years. It simply means that if there is a problem with the car that was not your fault, you may be able to get it fixed or replaced by the dealer.

Car dealers are also subject to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (2008), which protect buyers from unfair business practices. This means that dealers cannot mislead or pressure buyers into making a purchase, and they must provide all relevant information about the car's history and condition.

If you are buying a car using a credit card, you may have additional protection under the Consumer Credit Act. This means that if there is a problem with the car, you may be able to get a refund or repair through your credit card company.

Buying from a Private Seller

When buying from a private seller, it is important to remember that the car must have the right to be sold, be roadworthy, and match the description provided by the seller. It is your responsibility as a buyer to thoroughly inspect the car before making a purchase. This includes visually inspecting the interior and exterior, checking the tyres, ensuring roadworthiness, and taking the car for a test drive. You should also ask to see the car's documentation to verify its history.


Buying a car can be an overwhelming process, but understanding your rights and doing your due diligence can help you make an informed decision. Whether you are buying from a dealer or a private seller, always remember to check the documentation and history of the car, conduct a vehicle check, and take it for a test drive. By following these steps and being aware of your rights under consumer law, you can ensure that your car purchase is a positive experience.

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