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Session Three. Your rights when buying furniture, second-hand cars and carrying out home improvements. This session will cover your rights when :. Buying second-hand cars Buying furniture Carrying out home improvements. Buying second-hand cars. Office of Fair Trading research shows:.

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Session Three

Your rights when buying furniture, second-hand cars and carrying out home improvements.

This session will cover your rights when:
  • Buying second-hand cars
  • Buying furniture
  • Carrying out home improvements
Office of Fair Trading research shows:

Most used car faults appear in the first three months after purchase. This suggests that many second-hand cars sold are not of satisfactory quality.

Nearly 30 per cent of consumers did not have their problems resolved when they contacted their dealer.

Office of Fair Trading research shows:


Roughly, how much do consumers each spend to fix unresolved faults that are the dealer's responsibility to correct?


Consumers spend an estimated £425 each.

Second-hand cars and your consumer rights

Must fit the description given –‘clocked’, accident damaged, one lady owner, registered 2007 etc…

Car must be of satisfactory quality – even second-hand cars, though age and price are taken into consideration.

Fit for purpose – if you ask for a car that can tow a caravan it should be able to.

Second-hand cars and your consumer rights
  • Check and ask for:
  • V5 form - previous keepers.
  • MOT certificates.
  • Mileage - is it ‘clocked’?
  • HPI check – stolen, finance, accident damaged?
  • Service history.
Protect Yourself
  • Trading in? Know what your car is worth.
  • Check the warranty.
  • Buying on credit? Read the terms and conditions!
  • Get copies of all documentation.
  • Look for a reputable dealer – ask family and friends for advice.
  • Look for a trade association sign.
  • Bring a friend.
Protect Yourself

Be wary of private sellers or buying from the side of the road.

Car auctions – know what you’re doing. Bought as seen offers fewer rights of redress.

Disclaimers such as 'sold as seen', 'trade sale only' or 'no refund‘ restrict your rights.

Protect Yourself
  • If you spot something wrong, note the registration plates and chassis number and contact Driver Vehicle Agency.
  • If the seller is private, check the last keeper in the log book.
What to do if things go wrong

If you are returning a faulty car contact:

  • The trader if you bought the car from
  • a dealer.
  • The seller if it’s a private sale or you
  • bought your car from an auction
  • house.
  • The finance company if you paid for
  • the car using a credit card or a loan
  • arranged by the trader.

If you discover a fault with a car you bought from a trader, you should contact the trader immediately.

What to do if things go wrong

If the trader agrees to sort out the fault, what the trader will offer you will depend on:

How serious the fault is.

How long you've had the car. If you've had good use from the car it's unlikely you'll get a full refund.

Whether the fault happens again and again (recurring).

The cost of carrying out repairs or replacing the car.

What to do if the problem isn't sorted out:




Follow up your complaint in writing to the trader.

Contact Consumerline

0300 123 6262

Complain to the Motor Codes trade association. Check if the car dealer is a member.

0800 692 0825

2. Buying Furniture: Your Rights
  • As described – match the description on packaging or what the trader told you.
  • Satisfactory quality - the furniture’s seams should not be coming apart .
  • Fit for purpose – fit for the use described and any specific use you made clear to the trader, e.g. a folding table should fold.
Common Problems
  • Misdescribed leather sofas.
  • Non-delivery of items – only four chairs instead of six.
  • Sold “as seen”.
  • Faded or flawed carpet.
2. Buying Furniture: Your Rights


  • You have the right to ask for a refund if your furniture doesn’t arrive on the date you have agreed with the trader.
  • If goods have been misdescribed, contact Consumerline.
Warranty Tips
  • The trader may try to sell you a warranty when you buy furniture. A warranty gives you extra rights, e.g. to a repair or replacement when something goes wrong.
  • Before you buy a warranty, check the policy to see what it offers.
  • Damage to furniture may be covered by your home insurance policy, e.g. if it’s caused by flooding – check your policy.
  • New furniture may come with a free guarantee from the manufacturer - check the terms and conditions.
What to do if things go wrong

1. Write to the trader with your complaint. Give the trader a reasonable time to come back to you, e.g. 14 days.

2. If you need help with writing a letter, visit for a sample letter on how to complain about faulty goods

or phone and ask for a copy.

What to do if things go wrong

3. If the trader isn’t a member of a trade association and you want to continue your complaint, you may need an expert to:

  • Inspect your furniture.
  • Provide an independent report.

Note: There is a charge for this service.

What to do if things go wrong

4. If you get no reply or don’t agree with the response, check if the trader is a member of a trade association and complain to them, e.g. the Furniture Ombudsman.

Tel: 0845 653 2064

Email: [email protected]


What to do if things go wrong

5. If you and the trader still can’t agree, the Furniture Ombudsman can decide the case except for goods costing more than £5,000 or over 6 years since the date of purchase.

All of the Ombudsman’s adjudication awards are binding on the retailer – but not the consumer. 

What to do if things go wrong
  • If the problem still isn't sorted out contact Consumerline 0300 123 6262.
Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982

This Act covers all work carried out by people who provide a trade.

Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982






The law covers services carried out in the home or in other premises.

Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982
  • The work must be done:
  • With reasonable skill and care.
  • Within a reasonable time if no time limit was agreed with the customer earlier.
  • For a reasonable price (unless a price was agreed earlier).
Tips on Finding a Tradesman
  • Get recommendations from friends and neighbours.
  • Be wary of doorstep callers.
  • Be cautious of flyers through your door, especially adverts with only a mobile number.
  • Find out if they a member of a trade association.
Tips on Finding a Tradesman
  • Ask them can you see references of work done.
  • Ask them how long have they been in business.
  • Find out if they have business premises.
How to Spot a Rogue Trader

“You have loose tiles on your roof. Your roof has been leaking”.

“I see cracked brickwork on your house. You need to have some pointing on your chimney”.

How to Spot a Rogue Trader

“You need some work done to your driveway”.

“I’m doing some work in your area and have materials left over which we need to use it up”.

Protect Yourself

Never ever pay the whole amount up front!


Never sign up to anything on the spot!


Never accept a lift to a bank to collect money from a deposit.


Protect Yourself

Get at least three quotes!



Get the details of the job in writing.

Take time to think. Shop around. An honest tradesman will give you time.


What to do if things go wrong

Many disputes are settled quickly and amicably – but it will help if you know what to do.




Say what you want done and set a deadline.

Put your complaint in writing and keep notes.

Give the trader a chance to put things right.

What to do if things go wrong

Some trade associations have codes of practice

for their members to follow - conciliation or arbitration scheme. Contact them.

Keep copies of letters, photos and a diary of events. Make a note of any conversations especially about prices.

What to do if things go wrong

Paid by credit card?

You have added protection if you pay be credit card for a single item over £100 if something goes wrong.

As a last resort, you could consider withholding payments.