THREE of the UK’s biggest car dealerships have been selling insurance write-offs without telling buyers the vehicle’s been in a crash, according to a BBC investigation.
This could mean that buyers are paying “thousands of pounds” more for the cars than they are actually worth, reports the BBC’s Rip Off Britain.
Alamy Evans Halshaw is the UK’s largest used car retailer
In total, the investigation found 70 cars on sale at Evans Halshaw, Arnold Clark and Car Store that had previously been written-off but it suspects that there are “many more”.
Cars that have been written off by an insurer means it’s either so damaged that it’s not safe drive, or it is still safe to drive but costs more to fix than the value of the car.
If your car has been deemed unsafe then you’ll receive a cash payout for the loss from your insurance company.
Undercover reporters found scores vehicles that had been seriously danged for sale at salvage auctions just months before they appeared at the car dealerships with no sign of their crash history.
Why do people buy insurance write-offs?THE appeal of a write-off that’s available for sale is that it’s much cheaper.
And while it may have been deemed not cost-effective by the insurer to repair you may find you can make your money back using an independent garage, secondhand parts and even some DIY.
It’s a case of buyer beware though as there could be underlying structural damage beyond the surface repairs you can see.
Always get a mechanic to check over a potential purchase and make sure it can pass an MoT. Also check insurers will cover you and won’t charge a fortune.
Categories A and B remain no-nos to buy – these are cars that have been in big accidents or fires and should never go back on the road. They should be scrapped or broken up for parts.
Andy Barr – The Sun Glasgow Arnold Clark tell buyers they don’t sell insurance write-offs, yet still do so, according to BBC
BBC’s forensic car expert John Dabek visited the named car dealerships in March to examine the vehicles that the programme had identified as write-offs.
He said he was “surprised” that given the extent of the repairs he came across, there were no concerns raised by whoever assessed the cars at the companies before they ended up on sale.
Not only did he focus on the safety of the vehicles for sale, but whether, considering their history, they are worth the price they are being sold for.
Evans Halshaw and Car Store told the broadcaster they had no idea that the cars had been written off and have blamed the data systems they relied on to check a vehicle’s background.
Car Store Car Store blamed the incorrect information given to buyers on data systems
Arnold Clark said it believed it had done all the checks it could with the information available.
Meanwhile, AutoExpress journalist Hugo Griffiths told the BBC he’s not surprised that the dealerships may be unaware of the history of some of the vehicles they sell.
He has found “significant gaps” in the official database used by consumers and dealerships to check second hand cars’ history.
He said an estimated 80,000 of write offs a year (around 12 per cent of the total for sale) could be repaired and put back on the road, with new owners having no idea of their car’s past.
BBC’s Rip Off Britain airs on BBC One today, May 7, at 9.15am.
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You can be tricked into buying a former insurance write-off as history checks don’t always reveal a vehicle’s past.
Meanwhile, half of car dealers “will disappear by 2025” as we buy cars online instead.
And Brits are being warned over social media used car scams where second hand dealers are posing as fake sellers.
How charging your mates for lifts could see you slapped with a fine up to £2,500 and invalidate your insurance
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