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.

Sep 032017
 

The prospect of buying a brand-new car is an exciting one, especially as some of the newest models give access to the latest features in terms of safety, performance and comfort.

It’s vital you give your decision careful consideration though, as different needs, budgets and features, means finding the right option can be confusing.

That is why we’ve put together our Warranty Direct guide on what to look for when buying a new car.

Budget

Before you start looking at favoured options, you should finalise a budget and know how to maximise it. Some will be able to buy a new car outright, but many of us will need to consider finance options. Some of the most cost-effective finance deals are available with 0% APR and if size is not an issue smaller models can be a good option as many are available from as little as £150 per month.

How much your loan costs will depend on your credit history, and knowing this can be useful as it will give a better idea of what to expect from lenders. The Consumer Credit Act allows consumer access to credit reports by post or online.

Longevity

Taking a more practical view when it comes to vehicle choice is a good way to pick a car that’s best for the long-term. Whilst a small sports car may retain its value well and be suitable for your current lifestyle, it might be completely inappropriate for your needs a few years down the line.

Economy, in terms of MPG and fuel type, will also be important with the new diesel tax on the horizon. Smaller petrol cars will be good to consider after this change, as they will most likely retain their value better and have lower road tax.

Features and extras

Motoring technology is advancing at an unparalleled rate and in-car systems such as WiFi, 4G connectivity and voice control are becoming commonplace. However, technology will continue to develop features such as parking assist, night vision cameras and autonomous safety features, meaning more improved safety and comfort.

Assessing and researching these latest features will allow you to work out which deals are the best value for money when it comes to meeting your own, personal requirements.

Models that hold their value

The biggest issue when buying a new car is they can lose their value quickly. Most cars depreciate at a rate of around 20% per year over the first three years of ownership. Some models shed cash quicker than others, meaning you’ll get a lot less when you come to sell it on.

It’s important to research which vehicles usually retain their value better than others, such as budget SUVs or smaller sports cars.

For more information on depreciation, you can also consult our guide.

You can guard against any potential loss of value by investing in a GAP insurance policy, which is particularly worthwhile if you’re paying for a new motor on finance.

When it comes to a car, assessing your needs, financial situation, and forthcoming industry developments will mean you’re well-placed to get the maximum for your money and your vehicle will retain more value for longer.

Oct 282015
 

You might be very bored by the whole Volkswagen ‘cheat software situation’, but should we be worried? Will it make VWs worth less? Should we still buy a used VW? Warranty Direct can help answer those questions, especially as it also relates to companies that are part of the VW group, including SEAT, Skoda and Audi.

For the moment though it is probably best to keep on driving your VW group diesel. If you are happy and it does the job then don’t worry and certainly don’t panic sell.

Want to buy a diesel? A used one may well be a tad cheaper and you can play all sorts of games with sellers, especially dealers who can only see a depreciating asset in the corner of the forecourt. If you are spending say up to £5-6K you won’t lose that much over a few years.

Do you really need a diesel? I have been consistent on this matter, and clearly the environmental arguments don’t exactly stack up. Their economy is good and better than anything else even if that might be called into question as well. But essentially, for knocking around the locality, you could choose a less problematic petrol.

Don’t believe us? Well, Euro Car Parts spoke to one of their customers D&D Autos, in Ashford, Kent, is a recent winner of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF)Garage of the Year award.

Bosch Master Technician, Matthew Pestridge, workshop manager at D&D Autos, said: “It is surprising to see a brand like VW suffering an issue like this but, despite all the headlines, we have not had a single call about it. Owners who bought a VW because of their environmental performance will rightly be shocked, but most buy on comfort, reliability and badge.”