We all like to find a good ‘deal’, especially at this time of year – whether it’s searching Amazon for that elusive Christmas gift, darting in and out of shops looking for special offers on gift sets or saving money by finding cheap car insurance.
Some imports are very tempting. I know I wouldn’t say no to that most famous of Japanese imports, the Nintendo Wii!
We all know someone who claims they saved a fortune by buying an imported car, often from the UK.
But there are some risks with choosing an imported car. By making yourself aware of the potential pitfalls you can avoid falling foul of some of the most common types of problems.
The three main issues that can arise with imported cars are:
The car may have been ‘clocked’ – this is where the odometer is turned back to incorrectly display a reduced mileage.
The car may have been originally purchased by a finance lease deal (this is often the case with UK imports) and the finance not paid off.
The car may previously have been written off and could be unfit to be back on the road.
Worryingly, new statistics show that as many as one in three cars imported from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland have major issues. The study – carried out by Cartell.ie (a website that helps protect used car buyers against fraud) – was based on a sample of over 5,000 cars.
It found that 11.4% of cars had been clocked, 9.1% had previously been written-off and 9.2% had outstanding finance due on it.
Cartell director Jeff Aherne said the results constitute “a serious risk for Irish buyers hunting for bargains in Northern Ireland.”
The study also found that certain makes of cars are more likely to have been clocked than others – the top three were BMW (10.6%), Audi 16.4% and VW (13.3%).
Surprisingly, clocking a car is not a criminal offence in Ireland. Earlier this year Cartell drafted a bill with the aim of criminalising the act of clocking a vehicle and presented it to the Oireachtas. Other supporters of making clocking illegal include Conor Faughnan of the AA and Tommy Broughan TD.
It is worth noting from an insurance view point that rates tend to be higher on imported cars. Also when insuring an imported car you must disclose the full details of the vehicle to your insurer, preferably by providing your insurer with the vehicle’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) – this is a unique serial number used on every car, truck, van and SUV built after 1981, which gives the full details of that particular model.
To read the full report, go to www.cartell.ie/2010/12/one-in-three-imported-vehicles-have-serious-issues/.