Research Warns of the Dangers of Buying a Used Car Privately

Anyone buying a used car is being urged to check the vehicle carefully before handing over any money, after a recent investigation showed that almost 90% examined had a shady past. The hidden history of the cars being sold privately includes vehicles listed as stolen or with unpaid loans still owed by a previous owner. There were also undisclosed number plates, colour changes, and large mileage anomalies.

The data investigation firm is shocked that so many of the hundreds of thousands of vehicles they checked in the year to April had some kind of hidden history with one in eight vehicles (13%) being previously written off after being stolen or damaged. The research comes at a time when an estimated 2.5 million used cars are sold privately in the United Kingdom each year, accounting for around 40% of the second-hand market. Car insurance firms are advising anyone thinking of buying a second-hand car to pay around £20 to have a background check done on the vehicle.+0

Neil Greig, policy and research director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said “This is a worrying survey and shows the value of making as many checks as possible on a used car before you buy. Many main dealers include vehicle history checks as part of their service and the reassurance that brings might be worth the extra price you have to pay. Remember, if a deal looks too good to be true then it probably is. Never part with your cash in a lay-by or car park when you have no chance of ever tracing the seller again.”

Both the AA and the RAC agree that buyers need to beware of any bargain basement offers. Many motorists are deciding to buy a used car that is more economical and reliable, but any hopes they have of cheaper motoring will be severely dashed if they buy a vehicle that is not what they expected. A simple car data check will significantly cut that risk. However, if a data check is not carried out and a car with outstanding finance is purchased, the new owner will not just lose the car, they will also lose the money paid out to the seller and there will be very little hope of getting the money back.

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