Second-hand car buyers are put on alert over an 'alarming' level of false documentation
Cars repossessed immediately; buyers face total loss of their money
Motorists are being put on the alert over an 'alarming' level of fake documentation for second-hand cars.
Victims of scams have been left distraught after cars they'd bought in good faith were seized and immediately taken away after gardai discovered they had fake papers.
If it happens to you, it means you lose the car and the money you've spent on it.
The trail of misery starts after buyers send the Vehicle Licensing Certificates (VLC/logbook) of the car they've purchased to the Department of Transport. That's when the false certification is discovered.
The risk is being highlighted by car-history check experts MyVehicle.ie who describe the trend as "a very serious matter" that is "taking place at an alarming rate".
The experts say car criminals are getting increasingly more sophisticated in forging Vehicle Registration Certificates (VLCs) so that they match the 'identity' of the car they are trying to off-load.
Justin Kavanagh, MD MyVehicle.ie, told Motors he is astounded "people find bargain priced vehicles on classified websites, meet the seller in a car park and hand over thousands of euro, in cash, without doing the relevant checks"
He adds: "Then buyers are completely shocked when they find out the car they bought is written off, clocked, previously damaged or stolen."
People should have such cars thoroughly checked out before parting with a cent, he says. As a history check website, obviously you expect him to say that - but it is good advice nonetheless.
The trend Mr Kavanagh is highlighting serves to emphatically illustrate how far fraudsters are prepared to go to take your money.
Intending buyers should cross-check (or get someone to do it for them) and verify all relevant ID numbers of the vehicle, the VLC and the NCT certificates, to make sure they match.
Some forgeries can be convincing at first glance, but there are some tell-tale signs. For example: by holding the VLC up to the light, you will clearly see a dashed line/security thread between Pages 1 and 2. The thread says 'TEASTAS CLARAITHE' in small writing. On a fake document there will be no security thread.
Among other checks to avert the nightmare, courtesy of common sense and MyVehicle.ie, you should:
* Check insurance and tax discs. If not displayed, why not?
* Do tax/insurance disc details correspond with car's reg?
* Ask if the seller is the registered owner? If not, why not?
* Do chassis numbers on the registration document correspond with those stamped on the vehicle?
* Are there documents to support service history? Is there a dealer to support it?
* Do the reg plates look newer than the vehicle? Are there lots of screw holes in the reg plates? (suggests replacement).
* Does VIN show signs of interference; has the plate been removed?
* Does the engine number show signs of interference/match the registration document?