Rohan Mathew

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Many people often prefer to purchase a second-hand car instead of buying a brand new one, mainly due to financial crunches. But just because they are investing in a used car, does not mean they want to compromise on its quality. 

In the UK, car history check services are carried out thoroughly by many service providers. But as a consumer, it is also one’s duty to have an understanding of the process before blindly trusting them. 

As per the reports, there was an average of 306 car theft offenses in England and Wales alone in 2020, which is the highest recorded ever. Thus, it is essential to make sure of the proof checking before investing.

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Vehicles history check process by dealerships:

In the UK, car history checks are carried out according to certain standard guidelines put across by the government. However, the companies who provide these services have additional policies that further secure the customer’s faith and convince them to choose the cars in their showroom. A few of the services offered by them are:

  1. Full vehicle identity check.
  2. Damage check, to see if there are any charges to be incurred or paid by the seller
  3. Check the paperwork and import duty if the vehicle is imported because the VAT alone is 22% for commercial vehicles in the United Kingdom. 
  4. Check the mileage of the second-hand vehicle.
  5. Check for due road taxes. If there is any, the customer can make appropriate payments.
  6. Commissioning NCT (National Car Test in the UK) failures. 
  7. The history of the owners of the vehicle and whether it has had any engine failure instances.

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Other tips for the consumer:

Usually, car history check services do most of the heavy lifting for the customers. However, there are still some points that the customer should look out for. Here are some pointers to look out for:

  1. Checking the DVLA information: Whether in Manchester or Cardiff, always check the details of the vehicle. Check if the car matches the information given in DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) records. One should also check for:
  • The tax expiration date for the vehicle
  • Color
  • Number plate
  • First registration date of the vehicle
  • CO2 emission
  • Engine size 
  1. MOT (Ministry of Transport) history of vehicles: This website lets the customer check for the specifications of the vehicle that interests them. It will let one know:
  • If the vehicle passed/failed any tests that year.
  • The location of each test that is done. 
  • As per the Ministry of Transport in the UK, the next due date for any due payments or taxes.
  • Mileage recorded.
  • List of any feature/part failures recorded in the past year. 
  1. Assure the vehicle is not a stolen one: Research shows a 56% increase in car thefts in the UK in 2020 alone. For instance, Suffolk Police recorded the highest percentage jump in one year; 44% higher from 655 to 945. Bedfordshire recorded a 37% jump and North Wales with 32%. If the car was purchased unwittingly and it turns out to be stolen, it is not the buyer’s property. There is a risk of losing both the vehicle and the money invested in one go if one does not do thorough research. To avoid this circumstance from occurring, make sure to:
  • Ask to view the logbook, registration number, and make sure the DVL watermark is present.
  • Check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and engine number to see if they match the logbook.
  1. If a vehicle is not written off: If the vehicle has been written off, then there is a huge possibility that it is not safe to drive it. The consumer will also have to pay hefty repair prices if they choose to buy such a vehicle. If it is laid off as unfit-to-use, the consumer should not consider it because it would be too unsafe to drive it.
  2. No outstanding financial debt: Many cars are brought in with a lot of financial dues these days. Financial companies usually expect the debt to be paid off by the customer who purchases the vehicle in such situations. 

If that vehicle was bought over good faith, and this situation arises, the customer can have a defense via the Hire Purchase Act (1964) as per UK laws. Still, it is always better to be careful rather than get into a hassle later. 

Kindly be responsible, be smart, always check for the vehicle history before investing hard-earned money. Do not be fooled by imposters, and always go for trusted sources.