Sourcing Motor Vehicles
Our online experience of sourcing nearly-new and used vehicles tells us that buyers have an ever-increasing selection, together with a highly-competitive source of vehicles, available to them.
The problems begin when you source a car online which looks just right for you, but you have to travel more than 100 miles to inspect it and, hopefully, purchase it.
How do you confirm the vehicle’s history/provenance and current condition?
We have experienced poor vehicle condition descriptions, at times even from dealerships with the highest of profiles.
Don’t be afraid to ask difficult, probing questions and ensure that you get definitive answers to questions, such as:
- Have you carried out HPI and DVSA investigations on the vehicle and, if so, are there any negative reports on it?
- Have you carried out a National Mileage Register Check on the vehicle and, if so, are there any negative reports on it?
- Is the vehicle the subject of any finance agreement?
- How many owners has the vehicle had?
- When is the next MOT due on the vehicle?
- Are there any advisories on the MOT Certificate?
- Has there been any accident damage or any paintwork repairs carried out on the vehicle?
- Have you carried out a detailed, mechanical, electrical and aesthetic, pre-sale inspection report on the vehicle and, if so, could you email a copy of this to me?
- Can you provide details of the service history and, very importantly, the contact details of the service providers? Or better still: could you make a copy of the service history and email it to me?
Why take the risk of trusting someone or an organisation that you don’t know?
If you don’t obtain satisfactory answers to any of the above questions, our advice is to remove the vehicle from your thoughts and look to source one from an operation that will provide you with every piece of information available to them.
Here is an example of what can happen if you don’t carry out the required research prior to buying a vehicle.
A transaction experienced by one of our customers and uncovered by us.
Our customer found the age and specification that he was looking for on the AutoTrader website.
- The vehicle was just under three years old, with c35,000 miles on the odometer.
- The vehicle was being sold by an operation which was registered as a Motor Trader with AutoTrader.
- There was a clear HPI check and National Mileage Register check on the vehicle.
- Records confirmed that the vehicle had only been registered to one keeper.
- It had two main dealer service stamps in the service book.
- The vehicle was in very good condition, inside and out.
- There were no signs of paintwork repairs having been carried out on the vehicle.
- On the face of it, there was nothing suspicious about the car or the sellers, other than the fact that the seller traded from a home address (a trigger for a more in-depth investigation into the background of the seller).
The best vehicle fraudsters source stock that looks the part and they provide as much history/provenance, as possible. They attempt to paint a picture that makes the vehicle look like it really is what you see in front of you!
In the case of our customer, he was too trusting of an individual he had no knowledge of and, unfortunately, he paid the price of misplaced trust:
- He accepted the word of the seller and did not carry out any investigation into the service history of the vehicle.
- He kept the vehicle for almost three years and serviced it with a good, independent, service provider.
- He came to us to acquire another vehicle and part exchange the one he had. This is when the fraudulent practice was uncovered.
- We checked with the main dealer, whose service stamps were in the book, which tied in with the c35,000 miles registered on the odometer when our customer purchased the vehicle.
- The main dealer advised that the vehicle had never been into their service department but it had been serviced by another main dealership. The last service had been recorded at c82,000 miles just a few months prior to when our customer acquired the vehicle.
- This meant that someone had fraudulently stamped the book and entered the service history details.
- Because the vehicle was under three years old when our customer purchased it, there was no mileage recorded by DVSA, because the vehicle was not old enough to require its first MOT.
Our customer is now the owner of a vehicle with incorrect mileage, which has travelled approximately 50,000 miles more than is recorded on the odometer. As a result, the value of his vehicle is between £2,000 and £3,000 less than he believed it was.
Taking legal action, if he can track down the seller, will be difficult, as it is more than six months since the transaction took place.
If you are not confident enough or just don’t want to spend the time carrying out the required research into the background and condition of a vehicle you are attempting to source, don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to provide advice, with no obligation attached.