MyCarCheck, the UK consumer vehicle data provider, has published new statistics on used car buying risks. It has also commissioned cartoonist Wil Walker to highlight the issues in a series of Reg Plate sketches.
The percentage of checks showing at least one adverse history marker (incl. stolen, previously written-off, finance debt etc) increased from 19.46% in June 2012 to 21.69% in June 2014.
The percentage of checks showing a ‘written-off’ marker increased from 14.01% in June 2012 to 15.04% in June 2014.
The percentage of checks showing a ‘finance’ marker (meaning money is owed to a rental company or lender) increased from 4.71% in June 2012 to 6.55% in June 2014.
The percentage of checks showing a ‘stolen’ marker dropped from 1.48% in June 2012 to 0.87% in June 2014.
Roger Powell, Divisional Head at CDL Vehicle Information Services, which owns MyCarCheck.com, commented: “Since we first posted on Facebook in the summer of 2012, we’ve seen an increase in the percentage of cars with adverse history, particularly in the previously written-off and finance debt categories.
“Shockingly, the scene depicted in Wil’s first Reg Plate cartoon is based on a real customer experience, as relayed to a rep at our Glasgow call centre. The used car buying stories we hear are often sad and occasionally frightening, but sometimes they can be very funny. For us, there is nothing better than stopping a customer from making an expensive mistake.
“The good news for used car buyers is the percentage of checks showing a stolen marker has fallen slightly over the last couple of years. However, with criminals increasingly using high tech equipment to steal cars, establishing whether your potential pride and joy is stolen remains a key reason to check before you buy.
“Whether you check via MyCarCheck.com or the MyCarCheck app, we hold up to 70 fields of data for each car number plate in the UK. Dealers conduct these checks as a matter of course so, given how affordable they are now (our basic check costs £2.95 and our most popular check, including finance, costs £9.95), it amazes me that more consumers don’t do the same. You wouldn’t buy a house without a survey, so why buy a car without knowing what you’re getting into?
“The vehicle provenance industry used to be all about confirming if a car had been written-off or stolen. Today a major part of our business is flagging up that a vehicle has finance debt against it. Used car buyers need to be aware that the registered keeper of a vehicle – the name on the V5C form, the logbook – is not necessarily the legal owner. Unlike a personal loan, under both PCP and HP the finance company often retains legal ownership of the vehicle.”
The MyCarCheck research also revealed:
The most checked model between June 2012 and June 2014 was the BMW 3 Series, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and VW Golf.
The average CO2 emissions of cars checked (according to manufacturers’ figures) fell by 3% over the period to 170.7g/km (compared to the current new car average of 128.3g/km).
Roger Powell added: “Our list of most checked models correlates closely to the number of these vehicles available for sale. You could see the BMW 3 Series as ‘the new Mondeo’ and Corsa, Focus, Astra and Golf are all very popular secondhand buys.
“As to the drop in average CO2 emissions since 2012, the improvements are quite fantastic. The motor industry often doesn’t get the credit it deserves for such impressive advances in technology.”