Your Responsibilities As A Car Dealer

If you’re a motor trader, it’s your responsibility to make sure that any vehicle you sell is roadworthy and exactly as you have described during the sale.

This is because of the Trade Descriptions Act and the Consumer Rights Act. These include rules that give buyers protection against paying for faulty or improper goods, including motors.

As many of you will know, selling vehicles can be quick and simple or a lengthy negotiation. Whichever it is, one thing remains the same – your legal obligations to either make the vehicle roadworthy, or make it perfectly clear that it is not.


Replacing the Sale of Goods Act, this recent legislation provides further protection for buyers, including anything from a toaster to a transit van.

The scope of the act is wide-ranging, but can be summed up by demanding that all products must be:

  • Fit for purpose
  • Of satisfactory quality
  • As described

If a car does not meet these standards, then buyers are entitled to reject it within the first 30 days of purchase. They are also entitled to a refund. This applies to both brand new cars and second hand vehicles.

In addition, you will be liable for faults with the vehicle that were present at the time it was sold. This even applies if they only become apparent later on.


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 however, have to be roadworthy.

If a car you’re selling is not roadworthy, you need to clearly state this in all of your advertising. You will need to make sure that the buyer is fully aware of the car’s condition.

Want more? Read about buying cars at auction here

Get a quote

We specialise in all kinds of motor trade insurance. For a quick competitive quote, get in touch below.

Share Article:

Browse other guides

A Motor Trader’s Guide to Buying Cars at Auction

Car auctions can be a little intimidating to newcomers, but they can make you some good money if you get the right motors at the right prices.

Selling Cars at Auction

What to consider when planning to sell cars at auction – including auction house commission fees and reserve prices.

A Guide to Personalised Number Plates

The DVLA began holding back licence plate numbers that had individual appeal in 1983 and then began selling them in 1989.

Payment options for your motor trade insurance

Pay for your motor trade insurance in the way that suits you, with our range of payment and finance options.

How to become a motor trader

What you need to know, and do, before you set up as a motor trader – here’s our guide, with resources and links.