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4 July 2013, 10:58 | Updated: 4 July 2013, 11:01
Almost 2,700 people called Essex Trading Standard officers last year about concerns over a second hand car.
The calls ranged from complaints about mis-description of vehicles to inaccurate mileage, faulty vehicles and unsafe vehicles.
Officers say that young people are most at risk of buying a problematic car and have produced a checklist to ensure they have all the information they need when buying their first car.
Councillor Roger Walters, Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, said: "We want to ensure residents know what they are buying and do all they can to find out if the car is mechanically sound and safe to drive. Buyers need to be prepared before they make a purchase. They need to shop around, visit local dealers, check out the local press, motoring magazines and search online to compare models, prices and specifications.
"Spending time deciding which car will suit their requirements and setting a realistic budget will help. A car bought from a trader may cost more than buying privately but there can be benefits - if things go wrong, you are legally entitled to expect that the car is of satisfactory quality, fit for its purpose, as described, and roadworthy. If you buy privately, you will have fewer legal rights. But wherever you decide to buy your vehicle the key thing to remember is do your research."
The checklist is available to download at www.essex.gov.uk/tradingstandards