RAC launches first used car code

The RAC has launched the UK’s first used car code accredited by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

Published on the RAC’s website, the code applies to all vehicles bought through the RAC’s Approved Dealer network. Externally and independently accredited, it gives those in the market for a used vehicle certainty that the car they choose is dependable – and gives them full recourse in the event something goes wrong.

Buying a used car is one of the biggest and most important financial outlays most people make, but the industry has for a long time been cast in a negative light with motorists often experiencing bad service and poor value for money. An RAC survey conducted in 2015 found that nearly two-fifths (39%) of drivers who had bought a used vehicle had a bad experience and would under no circumstances use the same dealer again, while 29% of dealers dealt badly with putting problems right. Citizens Advice meanwhile reported that problems with second-hand cars was one of the top consumer complaints in the first quarter of 2016, accounting for 11% of all cases dealt with.

The RAC Used Vehicle Code of Practice, adopted by every dealer that carries the RAC’s Approved Dealer branding, has been subjected to stringent tests by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

The code explains in simple language the high levels of service dealers must demonstrate to customers, how complaints are handled and how stock must be advertised. It also sets out the RAC’s BuySure guarantee, which applies to all vehicles sold.

It includes a certificate confirming the vehicle has passed the RAC’s 82-point approved vehicle preparation standard; a minimum of three months’ RAC warranty; 12 months’ RAC Breakdown Cover; and a comprehensive car data check that provides independent confirmation the car is ‘clean’ – ie not stolen, written off or subject to a number plate change.

RAC Approved Dealer network manager Gary Wrightson-Heyworth said, ‘Buying a used car remains for some consumers a daunting prospect and we are determined to help make the process as stress and risk-free as possible.

‘We started by working hard to develop a nationwide network of dealerships that motorists can depend on again and again when they are looking to buy a used car. The independently-accredited code we are launching today is proof that we have complete confidence in the dealers that we have chosen to work with – and that consumers can have that confidence too.

‘Importantly, for any motorist that has had their fingers burned in the past the code also gives them certainty that in the unlikely event that anything does go wrong, a clear process will be followed and a fair resolution reached.

‘The code complements the RAC’s suite of services that are designed to boost motorists’ confidence when buying on the second-hand market. It includes the RAC Vehicle Check product, the UK’s most comprehensive vehicle data check, and RAC Vehicle Inspections that help ensure that a vehicle is both mechanically and structurally sound.

‘By launching our used car code, we are also sending a strong message out to every motor trader in the country – with the RAC Approved Dealer network, backed by a code approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, consumers need no longer accept underhand sales tactics and second-rate service when buying their next used car.’