Motor Industry News
Drivers looking for a bargain buy have been warned not to be taken in by plummeting car prices which may hide a vehicle's history.
While the credit crisis threatens to drive down the price of second-hand cars criminals are using it as an excuse as to why a vehicle may seem such a bargain when really it has something to hide, claim experts from mycarcheck.com.
"In the past, people may have been a little suspicious if a vehicle was being offered at a price which appeared too good to be true, but now all criminals have to do is blame the credit crunch and an unsuspecting buyer could get conned out of their money," said Roger Powell, General Manager of mycarcheck.com, one of the UK's fastest growing vehicle data checking companies.
"In the last couple of months we've noticed a number of customers telling us about cars advertised at knock-down prices where the seller claims the credit crisis has forced him to sell. However, when we look into the vehicle there's often another reason such as it has been involved in an accident, written-off or even reported stolen."
In the last few weeks more than 14 per cent of vehicles checked by mycarcheck.com had been previously written-off by insurance companies and over 12 per cent did not match their official vehicle identification number (VIN).
"The most common signs to look for when viewing a car are missing log books, serial numbers altered and chassis being tampered with," warned Mr Powell. "Motorists should be extra vigilant and not rush into any deals just because they think they're getting a bargain."
Used car values are plummeting at a rate faster than they did during the bleak 1990s recession, prompting fears that crooks can offer cheap cars without suspicion.
It is estimated that the average 3-year old car is worth only 38% of its list price - 2% lower than in 1992 - when bank rates and inflation were soaring.
mycarcheck.com is able to carry out vehicle history data analysis which can tell a prospective buyer if a car has ever been stolen and recovered, involved in an accident or subject to an insurance claim.
"It is probably more important than ever to check a car's history before handing over any cash," said Mr Powell.