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Case studies

True stories

Here are just some of the experiences people have had with buying a second-hand car.

Cut and shut

Four years old, in good condition and with a low mileage, one car buyer thought the Rover 45 they had just bought was a bargain - there was a catch though - it was a 'cut and shut' - two half cars which had been welded together.

However, it was only when the buyer got the car home and noticed differences in the paint finish that they decided to ask RAC to carry out an inspection.

RAC responded and sent out an engineer to inspect the vehicle. And it took the RAC inspector just five minutes to reveal the truth about the vehicle through using a paint meter. "Although the standard of repair was good it was cleverly done which meant the buyer was fooled into buying a car that was a death trap," says the RAC engineer who inspected the vehicle. "What they should have done was to have had a vehicle inspection before they purchased the vehicle, instead they wasted their money on a car that just was not roadworthy."

Now the car is used by the motoring organisation to emphasise the importance of having used vehicles inspected by an expert before purchase.

Written off and costly repairs

A lady car buyer thought she had picked up a real bargain when she bought a Citroen AX over the Internet. However, although the car had a full service history and seemed in good order, after taking it to a garage, it transpired that quite a bit of mechanical work was needed.

A second opinion at another garage revealed that the car had previously been in an accident. It was then recommended that she should get a Car Data Check. She couldn't believe it when they confirmed that the car had been 'written-off' by an insurance company back in 1996. She returned to the person who sold it to her to try to get some compensation, but to no avail. An agreement was made with the garage and following adequate repairs she was able to keep the car, but all at extra cost.

Unpaid loan

Mr A from Bristol thought that he and his wife had found the perfect car for their daughter using an intranet service at work. They contacted the vendor and were pleased to discover the 'R' reg Citroen Saxo was for sale at a reasonable price.

As the car was located in York, they decided to carry out a Car Data Check before travelling the long distance to view the vehicle. Working in the trade, Mr A was aware of car crime and wanted to make sure that the vehicle was legal. Fortunately, after taking full advantage of the vehicle check service, they discovered information relating to an outstanding car finance agreement. Without the check, they may have bought the Saxo only to later discover later that they may not actually own it. As it was, they came to a mutual agreement with the vendor and the finance house and completed the sale.

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True stories
Read some real case studies about some of the issues car-buyers face when buying a used car.
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