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are private car buyers getting more than they bargained for?
Experian highlights importance of checking the history of a used car when buying privately
Recent research by Experian’s CreditExpert.co.uk to find out which situations British adults were most likely to negotiate prices in has revealed that, as a result of the current economic environment, over half the population (57 per cent) are more willing to drive a hard bargain compared to 12 months ago.
Furthermore, a car purchase is where consumers have been most successful when bartering for a lower price (38 per cent).
Kirk Fletcher, Managing Director of Experian’s Automotive division, said: “Consumers are worried about the rising costs of living and so it is not surprising that they are more willing to try and negotiate a better price. However, with money worries driving a greater focus on getting a bargain, there is a greater chance of consumers missing the warning signs and ending up with a used car they would never have bought if they’d had all the information about it.
“Any one who thinks that they are getting a bargain should ask questions about the car’s authenticity. Why are you getting it so cheap? Does it have a history that you should be investigating? The industry is reporting a dramatic increase in the number of people selling their cars without repaying the loans on them. Will you be left out of pocket because the car still has unpaid finance on it? Or worse still, could it be a car that is actually a write-off and deemed unroadworthy by insurers but sold on fraudulently to you?”
The research also found that men are around one and half times more likely to have been able to negotiate a better deal on a car. This is also increasingly the case the older the car buyers get. For example, car buyers aged 45 to 54 years old were two and a half times more likely to have secured a better price on a car than those aged 18 to 24 years old.
Experian advises consumers to follow some basic rules to reduce risk when buying a used car.
· Know who the seller is by checking their identity. Ask for a passport and a recent utility bill. Do not allow a vendor to bring the vehicle to you and do not meet them in a car park or other neutral ground. If they claim to be a motor dealer, visit the premises to ensure it is a genuine sales area. Motor dealers do not normally conduct a legitimate business from a private address.
· Ensure that you do check all the documentation. The vehicle must have a full new style DVLA (Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency) or DVLNI (for Northern Ireland) Vehicle Registration Document (V5C). Do not accept an old style V5 Registration Document.
· Be wary of paying in cash.
· Be wary of a 'bargain' that seems too good to be true. You must question the reason for a vehicle being sold below the current market value. A quick sale is often not all it seems.
· Get an independent mechanical inspection. In order to ensure that it is mechanically sound.
· Carry out an AutoCheck– one of the UK’s leading vehicle history checking services - before buying the car. This will give you up to 26 pieces of information about the car in question and reveal any adverse information that would affect your decision to buy it.
For further information about AutoCheck, please visit www.autocheck.co.uk
Notes to Editors
About the research
** Based on an independent online survey conducted by ICM Omnibus on behalf of CreditExpert.co.uk. ICM Omnibus interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,040 British adults aged 18 or over during the period 22 – 25 August 2008
 Based on a poll of 1,040 consumers carried out for Experian’s CreditExpert service by ICM Research (August, 2008).