Importing a Used Car from the UK and Scams

If you are thinking of importing a Used Car from the UK you need to beware of Scams, Write-offs and Clocked Cars.

With Brexit and the decline of Sterling against the Euro, used cars being imported from the UK have shot up by more than 50% to well over 70,000 vehicles in 2016. This trend has accelerated further in the first months of 2017.
There is no doubt there is great value to be had in buying a used car from the UK these days. Whether you purchase the vehicle directly from the UK or from a dealer in Ireland who has already brought the car across the water there are savings to be made.
However, anyone considering the purchase of a UK import needs to be wary of scams and have their wits about them as Ireland is often seen as a dumping ground from clocked and written-off cars from the UK.
So, what can you do to make sure you don’t get caught out?

Get an online car history check

The number one piece of advice BEFORE you travel to the UK or part with your money is to check the car with or other similar websites. It will only cost you around €20 and could save you thousands, not to mention the heartache of having to deal with a clocked or written off car. All you need to do is enter the reg on the website, pay for the check and you’ll get the results on screen instantly. Checks include whether the vehicle has been written off, stolen, clocked or is under finance and the folks at Motorcheck provide a full customer support service to help with any questions you may have.

Beware of car scams

Scammers are everywhere these days but they can be particularly prevalent when it comes to used cars. Some of the most popular scams these days include the ghost car scam where the scammer clones an online car ad from a genuine car. Enquirers are told that the car will be shipped to them once they lodge a small deposit with Western Union or similar escrow service. It always turns out that neither the seller nor the car are real but the scammer always has very elaborate background stories and ways to part you from your cash. Spot a scam a mile away by asking yourself:

  1. Is the price too good to be true? Most scammers will attract your attention by advertising a ‘Ghost Vehicle’ well below its market value.
  2. Are any of the contact details suspect? Fraudulent ads will usually have a phone number that’s missing a digit or not available. The email address will be from a free email provider like Gmail or Yahoo and any attempts to make contact by phone will usually be rejected.
  3. Does the seller have an elaborate payment process? A typical online scammer will never actually show you the car. Their goal is to convince you to make a deposit or payment via Western Union, Ebay or Paypal without actually having seen the car.
  4. Does the seller have difficulty using English grammar? A common trait with fraudsters can be poor grammar and multiple spelling mistakes. Most of the perpetrators operate from outside Ireland and English may not be their mother tongue.
  5. Does the Motorcheck report show a large number of recent enquiries? If a car has a positive history check yet there have been a large number of enquiries (more than 5) over the past month we recommend caution. There must be some reason why the car hasn’t sold that Motorcheck is not aware of and an online scam can be one of them.

Other popular scams include stolen Irish cars being disguised as cars from the UK, or cloned cars being brought from the UK to be sold in Ireland. These are very difficult to spot but you should always check the VIN on the vehicle documentation against the physical VIN on the vehicle and once you are satisfied that these match check this against the official VIN on a Motorcheck report.