• ECC Ireland figures show car purchase or automotive parts as the number one area of complaint in cases involving Irish consumers and UK traders during 2017.

Dublin, 17th September 2018 – The Consumer Council of Northern Ireland, in partnership with the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Ireland and the Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service, has produced a new guide for car buyers that explains your consumer rights, what to check before you buy and what to do if things go wrong.

The guide, which is available on the ECC Ireland website, offers advice for consumers thinking of making a cross-border vehicle purchase from traders based in Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Figures from ECC Ireland show that the purchase of vehicles and automotive parts was the top area of complaint in cases (requiring direct intervention) reported by Irish consumers about UK traders during 2017.

ECC Ireland spokesperson, Martina Nee, said: ‘When it comes to the purchasing of vehicles, particularly second hand, Irish consumers regularly look for deals and certain models from traders based in the UK. Most complaints reported in 2017 related to faulty second-hand cars while others related to warranties, log books not being provided, and deposits. This new guide will hopefully help consumers be more prepared before embarking on the car purchase journey.’

Philippa McKeown-Brown, Head of Consumer Empowerment and Protection at The Consumer Council, explained: “Buying a car can be expensive, and it’s a purchase that most of us rely on, so when something goes wrong, it can throw a real spanner in the works. But if the trader is based outside your country of residence the issue can be even harder to resolve. It can be worse still if the person you bought from is not who they claim to be, or you have fallen victim to a scam.”

Damian Doherty, Chief Inspector at Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service, said: “Many of the complaints we receive are from consumers who have bought vehicles from sellers at a roundabout, the side of the road, or a car park. These can be from private sellers or a trader posing as a private seller. When you buy anything privately you have very few statutory rights. Do your homework when buying a car and always remember the phrase: Let the Buyer Beware!”

To get your free guide contact the European Consumer Centre Ireland or contact The Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022 or email You can also download a copy from or at



Notes to Editor


  • In 2017, most car purchase related cases pursued by ECC Ireland on behalf of Irish consumers with complaints about traders in the UK involved faulty second-hand cars. There were also complaints about warranties and administrative formalities (e.g. log book not provided and refund of a deposit).
  • Most cases involving automotive parts concerned the products not being in conformity – defective and not as described/incorrect product. Several cases also involved delivery issues with the part concerned.
  • In March 2016, ECC-Net published a report on cross-border car purchase as well as country specific fact sheets:


ECC Ireland is part of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net), which covers 30 countries (all EU countries plus Norway and Iceland), and offers a free and confidential information and advice service to the public on their rights as consumers, assisting consumers with cross-border disputes. ECC Ireland is co-financed by the European Commission and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

For media queries contact: Martina Nee, ECC Ireland press and communications manager, (0)1 8797643/ (085) 8895333, or email ECC Ireland can also be found on Twitter @eccireland.


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