If you’re a motor trader, there are a few things to think about when dealing with your customers. Mainly, your duty as a seller and, when you’re meeting in-person, your duty towards customers’ health and safety.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to stay in line with consumer laws when selling a vehicle so as to avoid any unsatisfied customers. And, in light of the recent Coronavirus pandemic, we’ll also cover the best ways to ensure your dealership or garage follows government guidelines, so that your motor trade business can continue running smoothly once it’s safe to do so.
WHAT TO THINK ABOUT WHEN SELLING A VEHICLE
When selling any vehicle, it’s important to make sure that it is roadworthy and is exactly as you have described to the customer buying it.
As many of you will know, selling vehicles can be quick and simple or can sometimes be a lengthy negotiation. Whichever it is, it’s important that you give the buyer a full description of the vehicle they’re buying. If you don’t, you may be breaching the laws mentioned above, so it’s always best to be upfront and make the condition of the car as clear as possible.
THE CONSUMER RIGHTS ACT
The Consumer Rights Act was passed in 2015, and replaced the previous Sale of Goods Act. It’s an important piece of legislation, as it gives more protection to buyers – including anything from purchasing a toaster to a transit van.
The scope of the act is wide-ranging, but it can be summed up by demanding that all products are:
- Fit for purpose
- Of satisfactory quality
- As described
If any car was sold and it didn’t meet these standards, the person who bought it could reject the car and ask for a refund. If this was within the first 30 days of their purchase, they would be legally entitled to get their money back.
These laws apply to both new cars and second-hand vehicles – in either case, it’s important to be clear about the condition of any cars which you want to sell so as to avoid any buyers becoming unsatisfied with their purchase.
It’s also important to make sure the customer knows about any faults with the vehicle before they buy it. This is because you could be found liable for any faults with the car that were present at the time it was sold – even if they only become apparent later on.
WHAT IS SATISFACTORY QUALITY?
The AA describes satisfactory quality in car sales as meaning:
‘the vehicle should be of a standard a reasonable person would expect, taking into account things like its age, value, history, mileage, make and description.’
So, an older car with high mileage would not be expected to perform as well as a younger one with less on the clock. All cars which are sold to be driven, however, have to be roadworthy.
You can still sell cars which aren’t roadworthy – after all, people often buy unusable cars to use for parts. However, if you do decide to sell a non-roadworthy car, you should make this clear in all of your advertising, and also make sure that the buyer is fully aware of the car’s condition. You can read more about buying cars at auction here.
HEALTH AND SAFETY REGULATIONS
As mentioned, it’s also important for you to think about the health and safety of any customers when meeting in person. This could mean meeting a customer face-to-face or when any customers come to visit your premises. Either way, it’s important to have a good grasp on the rules so that you keep your customers – as well as yourself – as safe as possible.
By now, most of us are familiar with the regulations set out by government guidelines, which we’ve listed below:
- You and your customers should wear masks indoors, aside from those suffering with respiratory problems.
- You should maintain a 2m distance between one another. It might be useful to have limit on the number of people allowed in at one time, or use a one-way system to make it easier for people to stay apart.
- If you’re able to, you could put some hand sanitiser at the entrance of your premises so that people can sanitise their hands when entering or leaving.
- Try to regularly clean the areas which people might have touched, i.e., door handles, pens or chairs.
- If possible, think about using appointments with your customers so that your garage or dealership doesn’t become overwhelmed with too many visitors at one time.