Thinking of buying a used car?
Bristol Street Motors warns drivers wishing to purchase a used car to be vigilant amid fears that a regular car scam could become more popular before the release of 22 license plates on March 1st.
In most cases, category C or “Cat C” vehicles – vehicles that have been written off by their insurance company – usually end up being auctioned off to car dealers and garages that can complete repairs at bargain prices.
If the repairs are done at a high level, then there are usually no problems, but some buyers fall victim to unscrupulous sellers who have completed inappropriate repairs.
Car dealers and sellers have to disclose whether a vehicle has been written off, while private sellers do not, causing some drivers to unknowingly buy a written-off car that is potentially dangerous to the road.
“Unfortunately, not disclosing the full history of the car is a common type of fraud that many car buyers fall victim to,” said a Bristol Street Motors spokesman.
“This is something that has significant implications for costs, as the true value of a car is usually less than what the buyer pays, and once a problem is identified, it will significantly affect its resale value.
“If problems make the car dangerous to drive, the cost can be even more significant, threatening the lives of both the driver and the passengers.
“The market for private sellers is not regulated like car dealers, so some sellers are still deceiving buyers. Buyers need to be vigilant when buying a new vehicle, especially in the coming months when new registered cars will see an influx of used cars into the market.”
“The car was probably dangerous to drive; there could be problems that could have caused the accident. “
Craig learned about the history of his car only a few months after buying the car, which, in his opinion, “looked in good condition and well-groomed.”
The reality was a different story.
“Previously, the car was written off in insurance category C and before the purchase was a dubious repair,” said Craig. – I only found out when curiosity overcame me and I paid for an HPI test where it instantly came back as a write-off. It was scary.
“It is possible that driving the vehicle was dangerous; there could be problems that could have caused the accident. In addition, my insurance could be invalid because the previous write-off status was not disclosed to the supplier.
Craig is not the only one facing this type of scam.
“I was later contacted by a Trading Standards investigator who was investigating a salesman who had apparently tried to deceive people in this way several times before,” he said.
“I was told that the handwritten receipt and ‘bought in kind’ were an attempt by the seller to shift any guilt onto the buyer.”
Looking back, Craig can now see some of the red flags he missed during the sale.
“The seller handwritten a receipt that said ‘bought as seen’ and made me sign a copy,” Craig said.
“Another thing was that the vehicle used to have personal license plates – I think that makes it difficult to check in the first place.”
6 tips to help avoid car fraud
1 Check your car history online
Before buying a car, you should check its history online. Some checks you can do are free, such as checking car information with DVLA (you will need to ask the seller for registration number, test number and mileage) and with state MOT history check.
When buying from a private seller, you can also pay for a private history check. An inspection usually costs around £ 20 and detects any serious problems with the car, such as if it has been stolen, written off or has outstanding funds.
2 Don’t get bogged down in virtual cars
Some scammers sell cars they do not own. Most often on the sites of the marketplace, they copy the ads from the existing list and offer good mileage at a slightly lower price.
They will encourage you to pay for the vehicle – or at least send a deposit to withhold it – without seeing it first. Once they receive your details, they can withdraw cash from your account and the car will not be delivered.
Always inspect the car in person before agreeing to buy it, and beware of fictitious excuses why you can’t.
3 Take someone with you to get a second opinion
Some private sellers may try to get you to make a decision before you fully consider your options and decide.
Bring a friend or family member with you when viewing a used car. It will be helpful for you to have a second opinion and they may notice what you don’t have.
4 Take it for a test drive
Test driving a vehicle is the only way to make sure the car is in good working order and check if it is right for you.
Drive for about 15 minutes on different roads, listening to unpleasant sounds.
5 If in doubt, don’t buy it
Your instinct is a good marker of whether something should be done. If not, don’t buy it.
The used car market is currently evolving, so you’ll probably be able to find the same model elsewhere that is more authentic.
If buying from a private seller worries you or seems too complicated, buy from reputable sellers.
Regular dealers have already carried out all the necessary inspections of vehicles, which gives you peace of mind that there are no unpleasant surprises.
6 Be careful with unexpected contact with DVLA or insurance companies
If an administrator is involved in car transfer ownership and insurance, you may fall victim to a phishing scam shortly after purchasing a new car.
Scams and emails claiming they are from a DVLA or insurance company are common. They usually claim that there is a problem with the vehicle tax or coverage, and users need to enter their details to fix the problem. This can lead to theft of personal data or money.
Be careful with unexpected contact with DVLA or your insurance company and never click a suspicious link in a text message or email.
Note any indications that the letter may be invalid, such as spelling errors or a vague greeting, such as “Dear Customer.”
https://www.farminglife.com/lifestyle/cars/6-tips-to-avoid-car-scams-ahead-of-22-reg-plate-release-3571837 6 tips to avoid car fraud before the release of 22 reg