UK Car Dealers Fall Silent On Used Rental Car History
Buying a used car is an event that most people will experience at least once in their adult life, but the experience has left many drivers in the UK with a bad taste after dealers have neglected to pass on critical car history reports relating to rental fleet ownership. An investigation undertaken by the UK’s AutoExpress found that most car manufacturers do not mandate that their dealers pass on information regarding ex-rental fleet ownership of used cars to shoppers, even despite British laws that potentially point to that practice’s illegality. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPUTR) mandates that dealers provide any and all “details that could affect a purchase decision about a car at the point of sale.” In some cases, cars that have been advertised as having one previous owner were in fact owned by a rental company. Imagine hopping into what was supposedly a clean, one-owner car only to find that it ferried hundreds of drivers around for a few years.
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This seems like a glaring omission on behalf of the dealerships, but they see it differently. An Audi UK dealership argues that they aren’t specifically obliged to reveal rental history by law, that marking the cars as rentals is inevitably a turn-off, and that the quality checks performed pre-sale make a lack of rental history irrelevant.
In the US, dealers aren’t far off that sentiment. A few states mandate that rental cars be clearly marked in writing as coming from a fleet program, however most states don’t carry that clause. US car dealerships are not legally bound to provide a vehicle history report either, but upon request any reputable dealer will be able to produce a report for free or at a nominal charge.
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The US federal government does, however, mandate that all used cars sold in US dealerships receive a Buyers Guide, which outlines the condition the vehicle will be sold in, details of the warranty, the percentage of repair costs covered, and the major mechanical and electrical systems of the car.
Regardless of what country you call home, don’t sign on the dotted line until you have the facts in hand.