Talking Point: How to stop chancers clocking up profits at your expense
I GET a steady stream of enquiries from people with suspicions about cars they thought about buying. I tell them if they have a doubt, they are almost certain to have those doubts confirmed. They should walk away.
For some, sadly, it is too late.
The most recent survey here that I've come across suggests as many as one-in-10 used cars have had their mileage interfered with. That means the car you think has 80,000km may have 120,000km. And that means brakes, clutch, gearbox, engine may all be in a much more frail state than they should be. Obviously chancers know no boundaries but I always feel there is a bigger danger with imports.
Please don't forget it was never as easy to clock a car. The 'Financial Times' underlined that on Monday with a simple outline of how a few euro can now give those chancers all the means they need to transform a dead donkey into a dressed-up spring chicken.
So what do you do?
There are four simple things which bear repetition. Check if wear and tear on the car is about what you'd expect on a car with its mileage. If it says 50,000km and there is no rubber left on the brake, clutch or accelerator pedals and there are lots of scrapes on the boot rim, then it's almost certainly dodgy. Don't be taken in by explanations about damp floors covered up with new mats.
Get someone you trust to check for you. If in any doubt, walk. Check the car's documents, especially the service records. Are the mileages recorded for each service? Any chance they are forged? Only deal with someone who has a good reputation. There are so many chancers with little or no back-up, selling cars at 'bargain' prices. Why are they bargains? What is the point of buying trouble? Let me know your experiences and be careful out there.