Car buyers can test drive under lockdown regulations, Trading Standards confirms

Dealers must take a remote deposit before allowing customers to test a vehicle.

Dealer handing over keys
Dealer handing over keys

Car dealers are allowed to offer test drives to customers under the current lockdown rules, it has been confirmed.

Legal firm Lawgistics has received the confirmation from Trading Standards and the Office of Product Safety and Standards and is advising dealers that they can offer test drives providing they have taken a deposit for the vehicle first.

Taking a deposit first is the key to allow the test drive to take place, and can be taken either online or over the phone. Meanwhile, dealer forecourts and showrooms must remain closed, with customers able to take delivery of the vehicle at their home for a test drive to take place off-site.

Solicitor Nona Bowkis told Car Dealer Magazine: “We have always advised that we would be more than happy to defend any dealer who received a fine for test drives as offering a test drive on a vehicle ordered remotely is not against the law.

“We were pleased to see in writing that local authorities, based on central government advice, are on the same page.

“This will no doubt be why we are yet to see any evidence of a single fine being issued in regard to Click & Collect test drives.”

Bowkis added that the ‘moral’ decision about whether offering test drives was ‘right’ would be down to each dealer, though.

Prior to today’s confirmation, there had been confusion about whether the sale had to be completed before a vehicle was delivered to a customer. Buyers were protected by distance selling regulations, that allow them to change their mind within 14 days of buying the car when bought fully online.

When buying a car, if the dealer offers a test drive you should check they are offering it in a Covid-secure manner and it should be conducted unaccompanied, too.

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