Trading Standards are warning both consumers and businesses to be wary when purchasing replacement parts for vehicle repairs; especially when doing so at a distance.
This follows concerns raised about a number of businesses specialising in the supply of reconditioned and/or second hand engines, to both trade and private customers.
Customers of these businesses are being enticed with cheap deals found on the internet, often with a rebate on the purchase price if an old engine is provided in part exchange against its replacement.
In many cases, the parts being supplied are not reconditioned as advertised; not from the model or year of vehicle described; turn out to only be smaller parts of a larger item; and are not of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose.
There is also information suggesting that consumers are not being afforded statutory contractual information including, where applicable, notice of the 14 day right to cancel certain contracts made by a consumer at a distance.
Customers who opt for a fitting service as part of their contract have been experiencing significant delays to the promised repair service and, in some cases, finding that their vehicles, or components from them, have been kept without their consent.
Fiona Richardson, Chief Officer for Trading Standards Scotland said: “When making large purchases, it is always advisable to carry out some basic research.
“Prospective customers should check that any business dealing in second hand goods is licensed to do so by the local authority in which they are based.
“Companies House information can also be checked to verify the history of a limited company and its directors. Always shop around, but bear in mind that finding the cheapest deal should not be the only criteria.
Making payments for contracts of over £100 by credit card can afford consumers and small businesses additional protection. Always avoid making any large payments via bank transfer, debit card, cash, cheque or Moneygram.
Anyone seeking advice regarding a past or prospective purchase is urged to contact the Citizens Advice Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”