CCPC issues warning to car dealers about misleading consumers in selling crashed or clocked cars

October 12, 2021

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has today issued a warning to car dealers reminding them of their legal obligation to give complete and correct information to consumers when they are selling a car.

It is an offence for traders to give false, misleading or deceptive information about the history of a car. This can include information about whether the car was previously involved in a car crash, was recorded as an insurance ‘write off’, or displays the wrong mileage.

If a car dealer is found guilty of such an offence, they may be liable for a fine of up to €4,000 and up to six months in prison.

The CCPC’s warning follows a series of inspections of garages and second-hand car dealerships in Louth, Limerick and Tipperary last month. Authorised officers from the CCPC, assisted by colleagues from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, inspected premises for evidence that traders may have misled consumers.

Speaking about the inspections, Patrick Kenny, Member of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said:

Misleading a consumer about the history of a car is a very serious offence. Not only can it be costly but critically, it can be dangerous.

Consumers need to be able to rely on accurate information from car dealers about a vehicle’s roadworthiness and its history, particularly its mileage and any damage history.

The CCPC will continue to conduct unannounced inspections around Ireland and we will use our powers to take enforcement action against traders who are breaking the law.

The CCPC’s helpline has received 2,122 contacts from the public so far this year in relation to vehicles, with 196 of these relating to potentially clocked or crashed cars. Other issues that consumers shared with us included reports of traders withholding important information about a car’s history, and car dealers acting as private sellers (also known as ‘disguised sellers’) to avoid having to fulfil their legal obligations.

The CCPC is also reminding consumers to exercise caution and do their research before they buy a second-hand car.

We have lots of information and advice on what to consider, along with a car checklist, which lists important questions consumers should ask before they purchase.

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