Internet 'helps second-hand car buyers avoid rogue practices'

More than half (59%) of car dealers believe the internet helps buyers avoid rogue practices, according to a new study.

The research also found that some 47% of dealers say the ability to browse online has had a "wholly positive impact" on the used car market, although 45% claim it has led to customers becoming "too price focused".

One of the dealers questioned for the report said customers are much more informed than in the past about the model, mileage and specification of car they want, which means that "rogue traders are flagged up now".

Another dealer, based in Gloucestershire, commented: "Last Friday a guy drove for eight hours to get here to get a specific type of Land Rover. It shows how dogged they (customers) can be."

The survey of 250 dealers was commissioned by CarGurus, one of the USA's leading car classified ad websites.

The firm launched in the UK one year ago and its chief executive, Langley Steinert, claims it could become the country's number one website for used car buyers because of features such as price ratings and dealer reviews aimed at boosting transparency.

Mr Steinert, who co-founded travel review website TripAdvisor, told the Press Association: "Consumers are excited about the fact they can get this transparency. They can see if a car is priced properly, they can read the dealer reviews, they can see how many price drops the car has had.

"It allows them I think to make a better, more informed decision.

"AutoTrader is a great company. They've done a lot of good things. But I think consumers and dealers are looking for a different choice in terms of having that level of transparency."

AutoTrader is the UK's largest online automotive marketplace. The company was founded as a magazine in 1977 and became a fully digital business in June 2013.