THE Office of Fair Trading has taken enforcement action against car supermarket Carcraft.
The OFT was concerned about the group’s practices when selling cars, finance and after-sale guarantees. Carcraft operates 11 car supermarkets across England and Wales.
Following its investigation, the OFT believes that Carcraft was not always properly carrying out pre-sale inspections as it had advertised. Customers complained vehicles suffered problems shortly after purchase.
They believed the company did not always meet its legal obligations to repair or replace cars when those that were sold were not of satisfactory quality.
The OFT added: ‘Carcraft did not make clear to some customers the terms of motor finance, such as the level of repayments or that they were signing more than one finance agreement.
‘It gave some customers a misleading impression about the scope of the after-sale vehicle guarantee, or that the guarantee was free when in fact it was being charged for and allowed some customers to drive vehicles off its premises without valid road tax.’
The OFT said Carcraft fully co-operated with the investigation and said it believed ‘its business practices complied with the law’.
Carcraft has now made changes and given undertakings about its future conduct, which address the OFT’s concerns.
Cavendish Elithorn, senior director of the OFT’s Goods and Consumer Group, added: ‘Car buyers often choose to purchase from a large dealer in expectation of peace of mind.
‘Carcraft promised customers that it aimed to help them “find the perfect car with confidence”, but we don’t think its practices ensured that it always lived up to expectations or met its legal obligations. We welcome Carcraft’s undertakings which should ensure customers are treated fairly.
‘The industry should take note of our action against Carcraft as it shows that dealers will face enforcement action where their practices cause serious problems for consumers.’
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