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Don't believe all of the so-called 'Facts'

Posted on Thursday 23rd January 2014

No matter how savvy a used car buyer you may be, there will always be friends and acquaintances who are happy to offer you 'friendly advice' and 'top tips' to use when buying a second hand vehicle. To separate fact from fiction can sometimes only be done by learning from mistakes, which in the used car world can be costly. Rather than let these delusions go on unquestioned, we have gone through the most widely circulated of these 'tips' and attempted to shed the light of truth on them.

1) You don't have to view the car at the owner's house, any public area will do.

You may have contacted the seller of a car you are interested in and wish to view it. The seller has said he will meet you with the car at a car park nearby. Is the seller merely doing you a favour?

The fact of this is that many unscrupulous sellers use tactics such as this in order to sell cloned or stolen cars. This is so that you have no fixed location to return to or identify the seller in case of any problem with the vehicle. When you're buying a car privately, you should always arrange to see it at the seller's home, and make sure the address is mentioned on the vehicle's V5C document.

2) Payment and keys have changed hands, so the car is now yours.

You've paid the seller the full amount for the car they were selling, the seller has given you the car's keys, and the documentation has been updated to show you are now the registered keeper. Surely the car is now legally yours?

This is not always the case. You may be recorded as the registered keeper, but this is actually not the same legal standing as being the legal owner. Should the vehicle you've bought turn out to be still on finance or even stolen, then the legal owner will be someone else, such as the financing company. Being the registered keeper does not protect you from losing both your car and your money if you are not the actual legal owner.

3) The car is seriously overpriced, you should buy it straight away.

You've seen a car being sold for £8,000, whereas you know it is actually worth much more than that. Surely this is a bargain and you need to buy it ASAP?

In a situation like this you should be very cautious and apprehensive, as everything may not be as it seems. No-one in their right mind is going to attempt to sell their car at well below the market value, unless their is something wrong with it. The car may have significant mechanical problems, or could actually be a stolen vehicle, with the seller offering a low price to get rid of it. Be armed with numerous questions if you go and view it, but always walk away if you are unsure.

Remember, around a third of all checked vehicles have some sort of adverse or hidden history, and the criminal minds are always working on new schemes and scams to do with used cars. For peace of mind, always opt for a full paid vehicle background check, to find out about any outstanding finance, mileage discrepancies, legal standing with the police, and many other pertinent details.

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