Car traders warned after customer complaints

Consumers are being urged to do their research.

Local car traders have been warned after complaints made to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

The body says “a number” of complaints have been made and subsequent inspections carried out on car traders in Cavan and Monaghan over the past week.

It follows reports that customers were “misled” by car traders in relation to a car’s history.

The CCPC says it is aware that some traders in the border region “may import damaged cars from Northern Ireland with a view to repairing them and then selling them on”.

It says it is “crucial” that any trader who chooses to do this does not mislead the consumer about the history of the car. If they do so, they may be in breach of consumer protection law and the CCPC can use its powers to take enforcement action.

Under consumer protection law, it is an offence for traders to give false, misleading or deceptive information about the history of a car, for example, its mileage or if the vehicle was previously involved in a crash or recorded as an insurance ‘write off’.

If a car dealer is found guilty of such an offence, they may be liable for a fine of up to €3,000 and up to six months in prison.

Speaking about the inspections, member of the CCPC Úna Butler said: “Misleading a consumer about the history of a car is a very serious offence. Not only can it be costly but also, critically, it can be dangerous.

“Consumers need to be able to rely on accurate information from car dealers about a vehicle’s roadworthiness and its history, particularly its mileage and any damage history. This week’s inspections should act as a reminder to all car dealers that if you mislead consumers then you are liable to face criminal prosecution.”

The organisation has also taken the opportunity to remind consumers that they should do their own research if buying a used car.