Though you’re still able to buy a car using ‘click and collect’ or have it delivered to your home, showrooms themselves are not set to open in England until at least April 12 under current lockdown restrictions.
For many buyers, though, they want to get a feel of the car before committing to it and signing on the dotted line, which has proven a challenge for dealers as to whether they’re legally allowed to offer a test drive.
However, Trading Standards and the Office of Product Safety and Standards has now given some clarity, and said that car buyers ARE able to test drive a car under current restrictions. This has been confirmed by automotive legal firm Lawgistics, which has been seeking clarity on the move in the latest lockdown.
While test drives are now allowed, car buyers must place a deposit with the dealer either online and over the phone to be able to drive a car legitimately. Drives also must be carried out away from the dealership, such as being dropped off from the customers’ home.
Speaking to Car Dealer, Nona Bowkis, a legal advisor at Lawgistics, said: “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.”
While Bowkis said the decision to allow test drives was a “moral decision” for a dealer and customer to think about. They also must be carried out in a Covid Secure way, and should be unaccompanied, with dealers needing to have the right insurance in place to allow for this. If you have any questions regarding this, it’s worth speaking to the dealer in question.
Click here to learn more about visiting a dealership and safely buying a car in lockdown.
February 24, 2021