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Car Related Crime – How To Avoid Dodgy Vehicles

At WeWantAnyCar.com we pride our business on our hassle-free, friendly service. In order to provide the best possible service to our customers, our quick and easy car buying service involves stringent vehicle checks. These checks allow us to carry out our due diligence before purchasing a car from a member of the general public. As a business within the automotive industry, we have noticed a rise in car related crime over the last couple of years and would like to raise awareness, advising the unsuspecting public on how they can avoid becoming involved with costly, and potentially dangerous vehicles.

Clocked cars

Data provided by DVSA (The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) suggests that 6% of cars have been ‘clocked’. This is the term used to describe the process of altering a vehicle odometer to reduce the mileage. While modifying the mileage of a car is not illegal – as there can be some legitimate reasons for doing so – selling a car without declaring its true mileage is an offence.

The illegal act comes when a seller ‘clocks’ a vehicle to deliberately defraud a potential buyer, lowering the mileage shown on the odometer to ask for a higher price than the actual market value. Cap HPI says that this practice is costing motorists around £800 million every year, as drivers pay over the odds for high mileage cars.

Often, this issue does not come to light until the new owner comes to sell the vehicle. If a purchasing company carry out checks which reveal the true mileage as being higher, the current owner can stand to lose out considerably. Not only this, but a mileage discrepancy could be hiding serious levels of wear and tear, as well as potentially dangerous safety issues.

While it is almost impossible to check if a vehicle has been clocked just by looking at it, there are history checks that can be carried out to give buyers some protection and peace of mind before making a purchase.

Car Related Crime - How To Avoid Dodgy Vehicles

Cloned cars

Cloned vehicles are something we come across more and more and it’s an important issue for buyers to be aware of. A vehicle is stolen, and the criminal takes the identity of a legally registered car of the same make and model and then applies it to the stolen car in order to sell it without it being flagged up as stolen. If the thief can successfully hide the real identity of the stolen car, they can sell it and pocket the cash.

Sometimes, if the VIN number has been so skilfully altered, it is almost impossible to tell a cloned vehicle from the legal original. However, the consequences for the innocent buyer can be significant if it is later revealed that they own a cloned vehicle. They can be accused of carrying out the cloning themselves, which is of course an illegal offence, and its highly likely you will lose both the car and the money you paid for it.

To avoid this nightmare it’s important to ask the seller for details of the car before you view it. Run the registration number and model details through the DVLA’s free online vehicle enquiry service. If nothing is flagged up make sure to inspect the car thoroughly, checking that the VINs on the vehicle match each other and those in the V5C logbook. Most importantly, if the price seems too good to be true it probably is! Cloners look for a quick, hassle-free sale and will try to draw attention away from themselves by pricing the car well.

Car Related Crime - How To Avoid Dodgy Vehicles

Damaged cars

In 2019 it was revealed by Auto Express that a huge number of cars were passing vehicle history checks without any issues but had been deemed insurance write-offs following a serious accident. These cars were then being sold on to unsuspecting drivers. It resulted in key players from the motor insurance industry joining forces with the DVLA to close database gaps in an attempt to end the loophole.

But how do damaged cars slip the net? Well, unfortunately, it can be all too easy for damage to go goes unreported or unrecorded. Many buyers then purchase a vehicle without being made aware of previous damage, with it only becoming an issue when they come to sell the vehicle.

During vehicle inspections, it is not uncommon for our purchasers to notice evidence of damage repair, despite the owner having no knowledge of the car being involved in an accident in the past.

Unfortunately, if your car has been in an accident it can negatively affect the value, with or without a record of the accident, and even if the damage has been repaired. This depreciation is called diminished value. There are 3 main reasons why this may affect the value:

  1. Safety: A car may not be repaired to a high level or with original manufacturer parts, effecting the initial vehicle safety rating.
  2. Aesthetics: A car may never look the same after an accident. Often, we find panels have been replaced or resprayed, but the paintwork does not match the rest of the car exactly.
  3. Appeal: Due to the safety and/or aesthetics, the vehicle may simply lack resale appeal.

The bottom line is that dealers and private sellers have a duty to tell buyers about any previous damage or faults. According to Whatcar.com “failing to do so is considered a misleading omission under the Consumer Protection From Unfair Regulations Act 2008. It could also be in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 if the car is described as in perfect or pristine condition because the necessary repairs meant this would have been false.”

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About WeWantAnyCar.com
WeWantAnyCar.com is an online car buying service which offers free car valuation and a quick, simple way to sell your car. We’ve been trading since 2010 and have expanded since to over 70 branches across the UK.
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