Buyer beware – paperwork is worth the legwork
Gardaí have warned the AA of a new scam, of which they’ve seen multiple cases since October last year, involving used cars being sold privately on popular websites. Unscrupulous sellers are placing ads for cars at very low prices (sometimes under €1,000), stating that they have six months’ tax and/or NCT. When the seller arrives to look at the car, all seems well and they hand over the money. However, once they realise the car has no tax or NCT, the seller assures them that it does, leaves to retrieve the paperwork and simply never returns. The buyer is left with an untaxed car that may be unroadworthy or may need further work to pass the NCT. But with no recourse – and no laws broken beyond false advertising – they are left to foot the entire bill. Gardaí are advising never to hand over money without proof of tax, NCT and the logbook, also known as the Vehicle Registration Certificate or VRC.
This type of scam is easily-combated through a background check on the car. When buying from a private or trade seller, just ask for the serial number on the VRC and the NCT cert/disc number. Enter this data on an AA Car Data Check and we’ll cross-reference these with what’s on file for that car, so we can authenticate the VRC and the NCT cert number. You can also find out if the car is currently taxed, written-off and or used as a taxi or hackney.
It’s also worth getting an AA Vehicle Inspection, which complements our Car Data Check by looking into the areas paperwork doesn’t cover. AA engineers pore over every physical detail on a used car, checking the interior, engine bay, bodywork, paintwork and underbody. They also carry out a full road test on every car they examine and give a same-day verbal report, followed by a written report the next day. Our inspections are professional, affordable and backed by the AA’s century-long reputation as a champion of the Irish motorist.