Tag Archive | "Citizens Advice"

Used Car Mileage Lottery


Once, a lot of fuss was made about shady, medallion toting used car dealers with dubious moustaches who would leave a Gideon Bible on the back seat and swear the car had been owned by a nun. Those days are long gone. Today, the crooks are way more professional than the spivs of old and the average car buyer really needs to stay on the ball.

According to HPI, the long established worldwide car data company, one in three cars have what is described as a ‘hidden history’. Potential buyers of used cars, they say, should ensure they establish their legal rights before buying a used car. Obviously the company wants more people to use their services but it is surprising the number of people who do not employ a data checker before they buy. It’s not as if it costs a lot of money. Buy a car that has been stolen, for instance, and you’ll have to give it back to the original owner. You won’t get your money back.

Regardless of whether you buy through a dealer or a private seller you’ve got to do your homework. There are some tempting bargains and some very plausible vendors, especially in the private sector. As we always say on Motor Blogger, if something looks too good to be true then it probably is. The only rule that governs private sellers is that ‘the car must not be mis-described’. So, as they say in all the best Latin textbooks – caveat emptor - let the buyer beware.

You could try suing of course; that’s if you can find the bloke you bought it from. Some say that he might be in Marbella, but you can never be sure. Recourse to the law could also be expensive, leaving you out of pocket. Better then to play safe.

It doesn’t take a minute to enter a registration online, pay the fee, and get the information you need. You can even do it over the phone, as you view the vehicle. These checks will tell you if the car has been reported stolen, if there is outstanding finance or if it has been in an accident or written off. HPI also owns the National Mileage Register which holds records on over 150 million motors, so it is easy to check if the odometer seems right.

The car should come with a full set of paperwork. The V5 registration document, ideally a full service history and an MOT, if appropriate. If buying from a dealer and you really feel like pushing the boat out you can check on the history of the business as well. A good dealer should have conducted their own checks. It helps a buyer’s peace of mind if the dealer is a member of the Retail Motor Industry Federation or have signed up to the Motor Codes Scheme. Research these for more detail. The Office of Fair Trading or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau have plenty of free consumer advice available. There’s really no need to buy a lemon.

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