A guide to vehicle recalls for motor dealers

What dealers need to know about vehicle recalls

what dealers need to know about vehicle recalls

In 2005, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), responsible for the safety of vehicles on UK roads, introduced the General Product Safety Regulations to ensure that customers are protected from unsafe products.

These regulations set out guidance and best practices so that suppliers are aware of their responsibilities when selling products to customers.
The legislation applies to all consumer products, including new and used vehicles. So, it's crucial for dealers to understand their responsibilities, and what they need to do with any vehicle recalls.

What does it mean for the motor trade?

what does it mean for the motor trade

Vehicle recalls are usually issued by the vehicle manufacturer, or the DVSA when there is a potential safety issue with a vehicle or one or more of its parts.
This legislation means that dealers must take responsibility for any vehicle recalls on vehicles they have for sale and ensure that they are fixed before selling them to a customer.

It is illegal in the UK for dealers to sell a car for sale that has an outstanding recall!

This is an ongoing risk that dealers need to continually monitor, as previous owners of stock you buy may not have fixed any outstanding recalls, or new ones could’ve been issued. Not all recalls are safety-related, however, if a manufacturer has issued a recall that affects your stock, it is important to check and carry out any necessary work before putting the car up for sale.

How can you check your stock for vehicle recalls?

how can you check for vehicle recalls

The UK government launched a website back in 2018 that allows anyone with a valid registration to check the current vehicle recall status of any vehicle. So, we advise incorporating this check into your car buying and preparation process.

If your dealership specialises in certain makes or models or sells higher volumes of specific cars, we recommend monitoring the DVSA and VOSA Databases to ensure you are kept in the loop.

Dealers can also advise customers to ensure that their DVLA details are up to date and correct, and where possible, register their ownership of the vehicle with the respected manufacturer. So, if the manufacturer announces any future recalls of the vehicle in question, the customer will be notified of the recall and will be able to arrange the repairs themselves.

What can you do about vehicle recalls?

what can you do about vehicle recalls

Dealers can arrange for the affected vehicles to be repaired at a manufacturer-approved franchise dealership, as this ensures that the repairs are carried out according to the manufacturer's specifications and using genuine parts. Alternatively, dealers can also request the necessary parts from the manufacturer to fix the issue themselves.

Consequences of not checking for recalls

consequence of not checking for vehicle recalls

Customers have the right to reject a vehicle they’ve bought from you, whether it was paid for in cash or on finance, if there are outstanding vehicle recalls that haven’t been fixed before point of sale. Also, dealers could find themselves getting into legal troubles and faced with a possible fine, and customers could be at risk of driving a car that is potentially dangerous, which could invalidate their insurance.

Dealers have been taken to court and fined for advertising vehicles for sale that had outstanding vehicle recalls that had not been rectified.
In 2023, a dealer was found guilty of misleading customers by not addressing vehicle recall issues and failing to disclose the outstanding recalls at the point of sale. As a result, the dealership faced substantial fines amounting to thousands of pounds and suffered reputational damage due to the negative press coverage.

The benefits of checking for vehicle recalls

the benefits of checking for vehicle recalls

Checking for vehicle recalls should be part of your process. Not only will you stay on the right side of the law, but you will also protect your dealership from any reputational damage from legal proceedings and any potential fines.

Making vehicle recall checks part of your process isn’t just a regulatory obligation; it’s also a sign that you care about your customers and your business, and happy and safe customers are more likely to turn into repeat customers.

We strongly advise to keep yourself up to date on any changes or amendments to the existing regulation and legislation issued by the DVSA.

Partner with us

Partner with us

If you want to work with one of the best sub-prime finance companies in the UK, First Response Finance is here for you. Our flexible criteria, award-winning service, and consistent recognition from the industry, we are the go-to sub-prime finance company in the motor trade that you can trust.

Partner with us and experience the difference of working with the best subprime finance lenders, dedicated to helping you and your dealership get more deals over the line. If you don’t currently work with First Response Finance and would like to discuss how we can help you and your sub-prime customers, click the button below fill out the form, and Brad from our team will be in touch to discuss how we can help you sell more cars on finance.

Partner with us

If you would prefer speaking to us directly, give us a call on 01156711755, and ask for Brad.

You may also like 

This guide aims to give you an in-depth overview of the benefits of offering car finance to your customers, and the benefits to your dealership.


If you're considering using AI in your dealership, we have put together a few handy tips on how to get started.

Why you should partner with First Response Finance
We are dedicated to helping finance led dealers thrive in the motor trade and, more importantly, help them sell more vehicles to more customers.  
We have put together a list of our top 10 tips, to help car finance dealers get more engagement, likes, follows and sales from their their social media in 2024.