Hidden histories of dodgy cars

2013-05-03 11:20

You could end up with a car that has a dodgy history when buying from a dishonest dealer. One in three cars checked by HPI, a vehicle history check business, is found to have a hidden history.

A team from BBC’s 'Watchdog' TV show investigated a dealer who was selling vehicles with known faults and cheating used-car buyers. The report revealed the dodgy sellers were also pushing prices up to well over real value. HPI warns consumers to do their homework and conduct an independent vehicle inspection in order to avoid any unforeseen complications.


HPI's Nicola Johnson said: "This Watchdog episode reminds us how easy it is to be duped by smart sales patter and a friendly approach. Too many used-car buyers take the seller’s word at face value. This leaves them at risk of being told a pack of lies and spending good money on a car that turns out to be a nightmare on wheels."

When buying from a dealer, buyers should ask to see the history and odometer checks the dealer should have conducted. If buying from a reputable dealer, consumer rights are comparable with buying from any other retail outlet.

Nicola Johnson concludes: "By taking some simple precautions before signing the deal, such as completing a full vehicle history check, they will be happily driving their car a long time after the keys have been exchanged."

  • WollieVerstege - 2013-05-03 12:34

    Why always what happens in Britain?

  • Andrew Van Der Watt - 2013-05-03 15:18

    I nearly fell for a dodgy car salesman. (Indulge me so I can give credit where its due.) Earlier this year we tried to buy a Hyundai i30 for my wife. We were after a 2012 model - which a salesman was happy to sell us. Unlucky for him, I pulled a verification report from www.carvalue.co.za on my iPad, and found that he was trying to pass off a 2010 model as 2012. Needless to say, we told him to get lost... PUBLIC WARNING: PLEASE BE CAREFUL WHEN BUYING A SECONDHAND CAR!

  • Joberto Kotzé - 2013-05-03 15:19

    I fell victim to this here in SA. Dodgy dealer

      Nicky Troll - 2013-11-08 12:12

      Hi, I'm a journalist investigating dodgy odometer readings - please contact me - nicky@nitromedia.co.za. Cheers, Nicky

  • Adrian Snyman - 2013-05-03 16:07

    What irks me is the fact that car registration papers are based on the first year of registration .. NOT the production date. It's even WORSE with motorcycles !! Cars are then passed off as later models, and only if you are really astute, will you pick it up before the sale. Sadly there are way too many people conned by this. Why can't they simply add an extra line on the registration paper indicating year of manufacture ?

      Mark Smith - 2013-05-03 16:25

      The registration papers of a vehicle shows when a car was first registered. It says on the reg papers "Date of liability for first licensing (Not year model)" and below that is "Vehicle Status" which would indicate New or Used. That is why it is called "Certificate of Registration in Respect of Motor Vehicle.

      Freddie Jones - 2013-05-03 17:26

      Adrian, The VIN Number tells you when a car left the factory. The Year of Registration is just that! It is normal practice to buy cars towards the end of a Month/Year and drive on 'Paper Plates' until the 1st of the following Month/Year. I did it at the end of Dec 2007 and I still drive that 2008 car.

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