May 292018
 

As the common saying goes: ‘if it looks too good to be true, it usually is’.

The above can be especially true if you’re buying or selling a car, as there are lots of untrustworthy people out there willing to cheat you for an unfair price.

Making sure you’re armed with the knowledge to spot a potential scam. Warranty Direct discusses common pitfalls for motorists and its top tips on how to avoid them.

 

Selling a car

Offers to buy without viewing

If someone offers to buy your car without looking at it first, this should be considered a warning sign. A buyer may get into an accident or damage the car on purpose, claim it was already damaged when they bought it and expect you to pay for the damages.

To avoid this, make sure you describe your car as accurately as possible when creating your advert and ask the person to sign a ‘sold as seen’ receipt before a sale is agreed.

Swap scam

Swap scams are an increasingly popular con which exploits auction and classified websites where consumers advertise their car for sale. Crooks will contact the seller to express an interest but suggest a swap instead. However, the swap car will often be on existing finance, or sometimes even stolen.

Make sure to research the history of the other car before you exchange and ask to see all documents and service history. A genuine seller will have all of this prepared and be happy to show it to you.

Vehicle matching

Cold callers may approach an owner claiming to have a buyer waiting and ask for an upfront fee which they say is refundable if the car isn’t actually sold.

Typically, the car is never sold and the seller is never refunded, resulting in lost money. If you find yourself in this situation, do not feel pressured into giving your credit or debit card details out to people you don’t know. However, if the worst does happen, contact your bank straight away to see if they can recover your funds and report the incident to Action Fraud which ensures the correct crime reporting procedures are followed.

Buying a car

Virtual vehicle

The ‘virtual vehicle’ scam involves the fake advertisement of a car for sale and the sole purpose is to extract money fraudulently from an eager buyer.

The car will often be advertised for slightly lower than the going rate, with seemingly great mileage for its age. They will ask you to transfer money, sometimes a large deposit, without even seeing the car.

Once parted with the cash, you’ll soon realise it doesn’t exist. So, always make sure you see the car before you buy it and get a receipt. If possible pay on a credit card, so your funds are in part protected should the transaction turn out to be fraudulent, according to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

Fake mileage

Changing a car’s mileage to increase value is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Although modern cars are getting harder to modify, the number with mileage discrepancies is on the rise.

2016 research by car history company HPI shows one in 16 cars had an illegally-altered mileage reading which equates to roughly 2.3 million in the UK displaying incorrect mileage.

Be sure to check the vehicle history, as this will show the recorded mileage and highlight any discrepancies. Checking the MOT certificates will also reveal any odd gaps or points where the mileage for one year is lower than the previous.

Fake payment

Always make sure payment is cleared before handing over your car.

Fake customers who seem legitimately interested in buying a car will sometimes pay for it using stolen details, from a credit card or through a fake bank account.

Others may contact you saying they have accidentally overpaid you, ask you to refund the additional sum of money and then withdraw the original payment. You’re then left out of pocket and potentially without a car.

Always be over-cautious when buying or selling a car. Read through all documents, research the history of the car and check the condition thoroughly. The last thing you want is to be conned into buying or selling and end up with nothing at the end of it.

Apr 132018
 

Warranty Direct to sponsor the 2018 FirstCar Awards

We are happy to announce Warranty Direct is the lead sponsor of the 2018 FirstCar Awards. The event will be held at the Royal Automobile Club in London on 25th April 2018 and we are really looking forward to celebrate the industry and its worthy winners.

The FirstCar Awards, in association with Warranty Direct, recognises and rewards companies leading the way for young drivers. A FirstCar award will help guide young drivers when making key purchasing decisions and give added credibility to the winning manufacturers.

These awards will reward the best in class across a range of different categories – all specifically relevant for young drivers. Along with being the main sponsor, Warranty Direct will also sponsor the ‘Used Car of the Year’ and ‘Car of the Year’ awards.

Contenders for the Warranty Direct Sponsored Used Car of Year Award are:

  • Citroën C1
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Kia Picanto
  • Volkswagen Polo

Shortlisted for the Car of Year Award are:

  • Ford Fiesta,
  • Nissan Micra
  • VW Up

Cars from both categories will be assessed for their reliability and safety using Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index and Euro NCAP criteria. The judges will also be looking at a variety of other key features to contribute to overall scores, including:

  • Value for money and running costs, such as fuel economy and insurance
  • Both new and used cars should be easy to drive, dependable and safe
  • Affordability is key for both purchasing and throughout the ownership of the car
  • The standard fitment of important safety features

Speaking about the upcoming awards, our CEO, Simon Ackers said:

 “With First Car offering advice, tips and expert opinions to help their audience be better informed and safer motorists, we are proud to work with a partner whose values mirror our own.

“We are really looking forward to celebrating those in the industry who are leading the way, promoting safe driving and enabling young drivers to make knowledgeable decisions and become confident on the roads.”

Other categories at the awards will include: Driving Instructor of the Year, Regional Driving School of the Year, National Driving School of the Year, Driving Instructor Car of the Year, Best Safety Technology and Safe Car of the Year.

One thing’s for sure, there is always a real sense of team spirit and support at these awards, which not only honour the accomplishments of driving schools and their instructors, but also the motor industry’s ability to revive and improve their safety products every year.


Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075.

Mar 192018
 

Recent reports have shown although roads are busier than ever before, casualties are at the lowest level on record. The exact reasons for these statistics are not quite known, but the fact vehicles themselves are becoming safer due technology advancements could be a contributing factor.

For example; manufacturers are developing car systems which not only mitigate the effects of a collision, but can prevent the chances of having one altogether. Volvo has even promised no one should be killed or seriously injured in one of its new cars by 2020.

With 79 percent of consumers describing car safety as very important, Warranty Direct has put together a guide to the modern safety features keeping us safer on the roads…

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

ABS has become a standard in most cars. It helps prevent car wheels from locking up, so reducing the likelihood of skidding. One of the most dangerous aspects of wheel lock is the loss of steering control, but ABS ensures drivers will be able to steer after an episode of hard braking.

Blind spot monitoring

Blind spot monitoring systems help drivers be more aware of what’s in the adjacent lane to their vehicle. Using a radar system to scan the space around your car, it will use a bright LED light in your side view mirror to visually alert you if another vehicle is in your blind spot.

Airbags

Since 1987, frontal air bags have saved 44,869 lives. Sensors in the car monitor deceleration rates, then fire the airbags to cushion impact. Modern developments include dual-stage airbags which have sensors to generate different responses depending on the seriousness of a collision. These advances reduce the chances of airbag-related injuries.

Seatbelts

Apart from brakes, seatbelts are the oldest safety feature around. According to ROSPA,  tens of thousands of lives are estimated to have been saved in the UK since making the law for wearing seat belts mandatory.

While the overall design hasn’t changed, it continues to evolve. Ford has developed rear inflatable seatbelts for some of its models and in the event of an impact, this innovative technology is designed to minimise the likelihood of injuries.

Dash cams

Dash cams are onboard cameras that continuously record the view of your journey through a vehicle’s windscreen. They can be used to provide video evidence in the event of a road accident. During parking, some dashcams still can capture video evidence if vandalism is detected too.

They have become increasingly popular with motorists in the UK, with dash cam ownership increasing from one to 15 percent in just four years.

Bluetooth devices

Using a hand-held mobile phone or sat nav while driving is illegal and you are four times more likely to be in a collision if you use your phone when driving.

Many cars now come with Bluetooth hands-free calling connectivity to help combat such issues. Once you connect your phone to your car system, Bluetooth allows completely wireless access to calling functions from your phone through your vehicle, via the dash, a control screen, steering-wheel buttons, or voice commands.

It increases car safety as you’ll keep both hands on the wheel and won’t need to look down to dial numbers, hold a handset to your ear, or do things like changing the volume to music.

Child car seats

The law requires all children travelling in any vehicle to use a child car seat until they are either 135cm in height or 12 years old, whichever comes first. With plenty of options to choose from, always speak to an expert to help you decide which are best for your needs and to assist you in correctly fitting the seat to your car.

Most modern family cars now have Isofix connectors built into them, making it easier for fitting baby and child car seats.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

ECS helps drivers avoid loss of control in bends and during emergency steering manoeuvres by reducing the danger of skidding. This has become such an important development in terms of road safety, manufacturers are now required by law to install ESC in all new vehicles.

Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075.

Mar 192018
 

Did you know negotiating on the price of a new car could save you as much as 13 percent?

Prices of new cars may seem fixed, but if you’d like to save yourself a little cash, think of them as a starting point instead.

There is the potential for huge savings, if you know the right questions to ask and the best places look.

To help you secure the best possible price for your new vehicle, Warranty Direct has put together its top tips to help you negotiate like a pro.

Do your homework

Research your car shortlist and make a note of exactly what you need to support you in your day-to-day life. Having an exact specification in mind will prevent you from being swayed into looking at other models and knowing the manufacturer’s recommended price puts you in a strong position to negotiate.

If you’ve set your heart on a specific model, be wary of special offers on a lower-specification car. An alternative model is often more beneficial to the dealer than to you. Unless the deal is obviously worthwhile and meets the needs you originally listed, stick to your guns. Ultimately, you’re the one who knows which features will best suit your lifestyle.

You can check your options using our Reliability Index, which calculates individual car models’ reliability considering the following factors:

  • the number of times a car fails
  • the cost of repairing it
  • the average amount of time it spends off the road due to repairs
  • the average age and mileage of the vehicles we have on our books

This ‘real world’ picture of particular models could help make your decision an easy one.

Shop around

Different dealerships will have different targets, margins and prices, so shop around to see where the best deals are. You can use your research as a bartering tool. If one dealership gives you a quote, take it to another to see if they can beat it.

Online sites such as Car Wow and UK Car Discount have changed the way we buy cars and could help you save thousands. You can compare costs of new cars from a range of sources in the comfort of your own home to find the best deal. It may mean travelling a bit further for your vehicle, but the savings may be worth the journey.

Think about the time of year

You might get between 10 to 12 percent off the ‘list price’ of a new car, just by buying at the right time of the year. Car salespeople have targets to hit, so look out for deals and ask for greater discounts during quieter times of the year. This is usually in December, at the end of the month or financial quarter.

One of a dealer’s biggest annual events are the registration plate changes. Showrooms offer big discounts on cars with old plates as they need to shift them before sales slow, which is often before 1st March and 1st September.

Prioritise perks

High sales at larger dealerships may mean they’re able to offer better deals. Keep an eye out for finance with 0 percent interest, discounted models and free extra equipment.

Dealerships are often incentivised to sell cars on finance as they can make more money from the sale. This means if you are thinking about a finance deal, you may be in a good position to negotiate a few more extras. However, be cautious. Keep a close eye on the APR, or interest rate, as some deals are better than others.

Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075.

Feb 142018
 

A good mechanic can help keep your car running longer and save you money on repairs. However, finding a decent, reliable garage to look after your car can be harder than you might think.

If you are in need of a new mechanic and unsure where to start, Warranty Direct has put together its top tips for finding the best garage in your area.

Get advice

Ask your friends and family members where they take their cars for repairs in your local area and why. If the same business keeps coming up with positive feedback, it’s probably safe to assume it’s both reliable and fairly-priced.

Online forums are a great place to ask for local recommendations. Anyone who has had major problems with a garage may have taken to the internet to share their experiences. Also on specialist car forums, you could also potentially encounter someone who has had the problem you are faced with. Perhaps take advantage of this, if they seem like a reputable source. Ask for advice on how much the problem cost to fix and how long the repair took, to help with your own research.

Research prices

It’s possible to get an idea of how much a service or repair is likely to cost before a mechanic even looks at your car. If you know roughly what needs doing, websites such as ClickMechanic allow you to obtain quotes from garages in your area, so you have a good idea of how much to budget for particular repairs or services.

If you’re unsure of exactly how much needs doing and how long your repairs will take, call around a few garages to ask about their hourly rates, though bear in mind completion times will vary slightly. Always check if VAT is included in the price quoted. Legally, the garage should tell you, but if overlooked you could end up with a heftier bill than anticipated!

Make sure quality isn’t being compromised in return for a low price. The average cost, according to the Money Advice Service, of a car repair is £125, so if the price of a garage seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Many garages now offer deals like free services and ‘service bundles’ to entice more customers. Motorists could see big savings, but what may not be clear is many of these services do not include things such as tyres or brake pads, so you could still be stung by additional costs.

Essential expertise

At Warranty Direct we offer a Preferred Repairer Network, consisting of over 3,000 specially selected garages, helping you find a dependable local business. These garages can either be a main dealer or independent.

For inclusion, all nominated garages must meet and agree to a 43-point service level agreement before they can join our Preferred Repairer Network. These garages are highly professional, experienced and also accountable for work undertaken, so customers can be sure they are leaving their cars in safe hands.

You can also check if the garage is part of any reputable industry schemes, such as The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) who accredits professionally trained technicians or The Motor Ombudsman, which sets garages a code of conduct and operational standard.

Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable and make sure your mechanic shows you exactly what the problem is and the parts affected. A reputable mechanic should be willing to do whatever it takes to put you at ease and gain your confidence.

Warranty Cover is arranged and administered by BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075