Buyers sold ex-rental or company cars without warning to get compensation?

Drivers who unwittingly bought an ex-fleet or rental car may be entitled to damages following an Advertising Standards Authority ruling

ex-rental cars

Motorists who have unknowingly bought ex-fleet, ex-business or ex-rental vehicles from used-approved dealers through misleading advertisement could be entitled to anywhere between 25 to 100 per cent of the purchase price back in compensation, leading lawyers have told Auto Express. 

Damon Parker, head of litigation at law firm Harcus Sinclair said a recent ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) now means owners have a “viable case” against used-approved dealers that failed to inform them the car they bought was once used by fleets, rental companies or for business use. 

In October this year, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled on behalf of Auto Express reader Ashley Rumbold who complained about two advertisements on Alfa Romeo’s used-approved website. The cars were advertised as having one previous owner, but it was later discovered both were ex-fleet vehicles.

Ex-rental cars for sale with histories 'hidden' by dealers

The ASA said: “If a dealer knew that a vehicle was ex-fleet because it had previously been used for business purposes, then that was material information likely to influence a customer’s transactional decision.”

The ruling required the used approved dealer and Fiat  Chrysler Automobiles, the parent group of Alfa Romeo, to ensure future ads do not omit misleading material. A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spokesman told Auto Express it has already introduced interim measures to inform buyers cars on the company’s used-approved site may be former fleet vehicles. He added: “In the long term, there will be a change to our online systems so that individual vehicle pages will enable the retailer to flag the status of each vehicle advertised for sale.”

An ASA spokesman said the organisation is now communicating the message to the rest of the automotive industry: “We are telling advertisers that they must include information that they do not currently always include: specifically, if a car is ex-fleet or ex-hire or similar. We are telling them they need to change that aspect of their advertising. If they need to put in place new functionality on their websites to achieve that then they will need to do so.”

• Buying a used car: your complete guide

However, the ruling also means that used-approved dealers could be liable to pay refunds to owners who’ve bought ex-fleet or rental cars advertised as being privately owned. Parker said: “The ruling confirms our position that this is a viable claim for people who find themselves misled by dealers.”

The practice of omitting ownership details is in violation of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Parker said: “An interesting feature of the Regulations is that, where it is impossible to quantify the difference in value  [between the market price for a privately owned car and an ex-fleet, business or hire vehicle] damages are then calculated as a percentage of the purchase price.” 

• Best used cars to buy

The percentages vary between 25 and 100 per cent, depending on how severe an omission was made, and how much difference the information would have made to the sale price.

However, an industry-wide litigation suit is difficult, according to Parker. “It’s difficult to put a number on how many people have been affected by this, so we will have to look on a case-by-case basis.”

Auto Express reader Ashley Rumbold has started a campaign (www.usedcarscandal.co.uk) where drivers who know they’ve been sold a vehicle that was falsely advertised can find out more. 

Have you ever bought an ex-fleet used car? Let us know your experience below...

Recommended

Best car leasing deals 2021
Best car leasing deals - header
News

Best car leasing deals 2021

Car leasing is one of the cheapest ways to drive around in a brand new motor, and we’ve picked out some of the best new car leasing deals available ri…
12 Jul 2021
Cheapest vans on sale 2021
Cheapest vans to buy - header
Vans

Cheapest vans on sale 2021

Businesses need vans to do the job without costing an arm or a leg. The UK’s cheapest vans should fulfil both criteria...
18 Jun 2021
New Genesis G80 2021 review
Genesis G80
Genesis G80

New Genesis G80 2021 review

Is the new Genesis G80 a worthy competitor in the executive saloon segment?
9 Jun 2021
Company car tax guide 2021/2022: everything you need to know
Executive saloons make popular company cars
Consumer news

Company car tax guide 2021/2022: everything you need to know

Company car tax is bound up in a complex net of emissions, salaries and a car's value; we explain how the system looks for the 2021/22 Financial Year
27 Apr 2021

Most Popular

Limited-run Land Rover Defender Trophy Edition unveiled
Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition - front
Land Rover Defender

Limited-run Land Rover Defender Trophy Edition unveiled

Just 220 examples will be built to honour past Camel Trophy Land Rovers, all of which have been reserved for the North American market
30 Jul 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover
Volkswagen Taigo R-Line - front
Volkswagen Taigo

New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover

The new VW Taigo is a sportier, more aggressive looking version of the brand’s T-Cross and is aimed at lifestyle buyers
29 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021