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One of the main concerns that motorists have when purchasing a second-hand car is being the victim of a scam. Sadly, there are a lot of criminals out there who are using various techniques to part you from your money. It can sometimes be difficult to tell the legitimacy of the car, so it is worth outlining what the most common scams are.
Ringing is a scam where a vehicle is stolen and given the identity of an automobile that has been written off. Typically, ringing is a scam carried out by organised gangs who disappear once you have paid for the car.
To ensure that you are not being taken for a ride, it is vital that you go over the registration document with a fine-tooth comb and ensure that the chassis and engine numbers match those that are on the car. You should also make sure that you are viewing the vehicle at the address that is listed on the registration document.
Clocking is the process of reducing the displayed mileage on the odometer so that you believe that is low-mileage. Clocking is now easier than ever due to the rise of digital odometers, so be wary if you are viewing an automobile with one of these.
If it is a traditional odometer, look out for signs that it has been removed (scratches in surrounding paintwork or damaged screw heads). You can tell for both types of odometer by checking that the wear and tear matches the mileage and by asking for the car’s service history (where mileage is listed).
Similarly to ringing, cloning is a scam where the car you are looking at is actually a stolen one which has been given a different identity. Instead of a written off car, cloning uses the identity of a legitimate automobile and it is very easy to get caught out. To avoid being a victim of the scam, check the chassis number matches the one on the registration document, inspect the car at the privately owned residential address (which matches the reg document) and pay by bankers draft instead of cash.
Cut & Shut
Cut & Shut is a scam where two written off cars are merged to create one vehicle. Literally cut in half then welded together, the car may look fine but it is extremely dangerous to drive and could collapse under the slightest contact. To avoid paying for a cut & shut, you should look along the top of the windscreen and underneath the seats for evidence of a join. Mismatched trim and mismatched paint are other signs.