The shock findings are revealed in the consumer body’s latest issue, where it lays into car dealers with all guns firing.
‘Car dealers’ reputation for sharp practices could be justified,’ says Which?. This followed an undercover investigation that discovered lots of bad examples.
12 out of 26 dealers made ‘dubious or vague claims,’ for example. 4 of these could have broken new Consumer Protection Regulations.
Which? even suspected some dealers of using ‘bait and switch’ tactics. This is where a car is advertised despite car dealers knowing there is no stock. The aim it to upsell an alternative.
Examples of bad practice include:
• A Peugeot dealer saying he had a model that was advertised on its website. Later, the researcher was told the dealer didn’t have that model and was shown a different car.
• A Jeep dealer said an offer would finish at the end of the month despite the Jeep website saying it had months to run. The salesman claimed ‘there’s only about 10 left in the country’: Which? found no apparent shortage.
• A Vauxhall dealer advertised an Astra on a website. The mystery shopper was told to take a seat while the salesman ‘checked stocks’. The dealer walked into an office, came straight back out – in full view – and said that car was gone. ‘He then went into full sales mode, offering a used Astra, with several thousand miles on the clock, for the same price,’ reported the shopper.
Richard Headland, Editor, Which? Car, said: ‘The ghost of Arthur Daley’s alive and kicking, unfortunately. Dealers have had ample time to get used to the new rules, but too many still let car buyers down.
‘If dealers want to win the confidence of consumers, especially in these tough times, they need to play by the rules.’
What do you think of Which? magazine’s findings – are you outraged? Or are the bad guys letting you good guys down? Whatever your thoughts, do drop us a line or leave a comment below!!