USED CAR CLAIMS
Leading industry experts estimate that every year roughly 1 million used vehicles are mis-sold to purchasers.
We allege that these vehicles were mis-sold because they were either actively described as having had ‘one previous owner’, when in fact they had previously been owned by fleet/hire companies and used by multiple people, or it was simply not made known to the purchaser that the vehicle had had more than one previous owner.
We believe that purchasers of affected vehicles are entitled to compensation of between 25% and 50% of the purchase price or the amount due under a hire-purchase contract.
In a decision in 2017, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) issued the following guidance: "If you’re a fleet operator selling ex-business use vehicles the ASA will expect information about the ex-fleet nature of the vehicle to be included in your advertising. This is because it considers it to be material information that would influence a consumer’s transactional decision in purchasing a vehicle."
This practice appears to be endemic within the industry and we understand it to be the method by which vehicle manufacturers are able continuously to make and sell more and more vehicles each year: cars are sold or let into large fleet or rental companies before being passed on to consumers after one or more years. Guidance issued by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in 2020, and before them the Office of Fair Trading in 2010, has made it clear that used-car dealers should tell buyers about the history of their cars and that by failing to do so dealers may breach consumer protection regulations.
CAN I CLAIM?
If you have purchased a used vehicle within the last 6 years not knowing it was ex-hire, ex-fleet or had previously been used as a taxi then you might be eligible to join the claim.
If you bought your car by finding it on a manufacturer’s used car website or through a manufacturer’s approved dealership, and it was between 6 months and 2 years old when you bought it, you may well have been sold an ex-hire or ex-fleet vehicle, or even a vehicle that had previously been used as a taxi.
The most straightforward way of checking if your vehicle is affected is by looking at its V5 logbook. If the previous keeper is a corporate entity then it could have been a car rental company. Several car rental companies are not transparent when registering as a keeper of a vehicle. A list of rental car companies and the most common names under which they register is set out below. If the previous keeper of your vehicle was any one of these entities it was highly likely to have been used as a rental car. We are also working with Vehicle Ancestry, who can help you determine whether or not your vehicle was once used as a taxi.
In 2018 the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) changed its practice regarding V5s after the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation. For vehicles purchased after May 2018 it no longer names any previous keepers, only the number of them. However, you can request details of the previous keeper(s) using this standard DVLA form.
If a used car owner purchases their vehicle not knowing its previous owner to have been (for example) a rental company, the false representation made to the purchaser is a breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, 2008, Part 2. The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014 provides for a right to compensation for the false representation made.
We are bringing claims on behalf of consumers who purchased used ex-hire or ex-fleet cars, or ex-taxis,
but were not informed about the vehicle’s previous use by the manufacturer or dealer they purchased from.
If such information was withheld from the purchaser, we allege that the purchaser was mis-sold their vehicle
and is eligible for compensation.
If you were mis-sold a used vehicle and if we succeed in bringing a claim on your behalf, it is likely you will be eligible for compensation. This is because you will probably have overpaid for the vehicle and may, unfortunately, have issues selling it in the future for the price you would have expected.
We also believe it is important to hold the industry to account for misleading consumers and to ensure they are offered transparency from dealers and manufacturers in the future. We are aware that dealers enquire about previous ownership and usage before they buy vehicles and we believe the same information should be available to the consumers to whom they sell them.
The motor industry has been aware of the OFT's guidance for over 10 years but is not following it.
HOW DO I JOIN?
Please register your claim by completing the questionnaire accessed by clicking the link below.
At this stage of the litigation Harcus Sinclair UK Limited propose to act on an interim retainer basis, until third party funding is secured. We will not charge any up front fees to act for you in this matter.
If you are concerned that your vehicle may have previously been used as a rental car, please check the previous registered keeper listed on your V5 logbook/request this information from the DVLA. A selection of some of the more well known rental companies is included in the table below. You will see that not all rental companies are easily identifiable by the name they use when registering as a keeper of a vehicle. Please note that rental companies do not always purchase the vehicles they rent out and accordingly they may not appear as the registered keeper. For example, we are aware of a case in which Peugeot Contract Hire appeared as the previous registered keeper of a vehicle that had been leased by Europcar and almost certainly used as a rental vehicle by multitudes of users.
Rental Car Company
Log book name
Thrifty Car and Van Rental
Scot Group Limited
Enterprise Rent A Car
ERAC UK Ltd
Europcar Group UK Limited
Scot Group Limited
Hertz (UK) Limited
Avis Budget UK
Alphabet (GB) Ltd
Budget Rental Cars
Avis Budget UK
Rental Car Companies
OUR LAW FIRM
Harcus Sinclair UK Limited is a leading law firm which is focused on litigation and specialises in bringing group action cases on behalf of large numbers of claimants who share the same essential complaint.
Based in London, the firm has a strong track record of delivering successful outcomes both in the UK and internationally.