Month: March 2016

What is an insurance write off?

If a vehicle has been in an accident, an insurance company may send out an assessor to decide what level of damage has been done to it. They will place it in one of four categories and you should be aware of these when buying or selling a vehicle. Vehicles classed as Category A or B should never see the road again. Vehicles classed as Category C or D are potentially salvageable but will be considerably reduced in value and you should consider the economic value of buying or selling one. Below is a more in depth explanation of each category.

Category A —  is the most severe level of damage and should under no circumstances end up back on the road. It may not even be in a fit state to used for parts eg. flood or fire damage.

Category B —  is the second most serious level of damage and like Category A should under no circumstances end up back on the road. The majority of Category B vehicle are classed as end of life. They may either be destroyed or broken apart for non-safety critical parts.

Category C —  vehicles will have suffered some form of significant damage in the past, however the insurance company decided that the parts and labour involved in repairing this vehicle would have been more expensive than replacing it. This is called ‘beyond economical repair’. Category C vehicles are normally sold on to salvage dealers who either strip for parts or repair and put them back on the road.

If buying a Category C vehicle it would be advisable to get an inspection by a qualified mechanic or assessor to report on whether the vehicle has been safely repaired. A Category C Vehicle is worth considerably less than an identical vehicle that has never been written off. Normal depreciation percentage would be approximately 20% depending on the quality of the repairs.

Category D —  vehicles will have suffered some form of damage in the past, but of a lower level than a Category C write-off. An insurance company decided however still decided that repairing this vehicle would have been more expensive, perhaps due to the cost of covering a rental car or waiting for parts, than replacing it.  The same advice applies as with buying a Category C write-off.

Our advice when buying a car is to make sure it is TrustHub Verified and that you do a car history check on it from one of the many providers out there. If it comes back as a insurance write-off then consider it carefully, it may be worth it to you for the reduced price, but do get an inspection done if you’re still interested.  http://www.MyVehicle.ie for example can provide both.

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How to choose a dealer

We here at TrustHub HQ are on a mission to make private sales of cars safer but sometimes you just won’t be able to find the car you’re after privately and you’ll want to visit a dealer. So far so good but the next problem is which one? How do you choose which dealer you can trust? We know many fly-by-night operators who set up and within a year shut down only to pop up again under a new name. They do this when the amount of complaints gets too much – by shutting down the company they can avoid their legal liabilities.

Our advice is to make sure the dealer is a member of a reputable trade organisation. Sound simple? It very nearly is. Some disreputable dealers move into premises with the trade organisation’s logo still on the wall and may even put their logo on their website in the hopes they won’t be spotted, so always do a internet search on them through the body they say they’re a member of.

If you’re buying a vehicle in the UK the organisations to look for are:

If you’re buying in Ireland check out this website:

Being a member of a trade association like those above mean that they have to subscribe to a code of conduct and gives you extra reassurance. There are many independent dealers who we would be happy to deal with too so don’t discount them. If you need more advice don’t be afraid to get in touch with us @TrustHubHQ

By the way, as we’ve previously talked about, sometimes dealers can pose as private sellers to get around their statutory duties and offload a poor quality vehicle (a lemon). We try to prevent this at TrustHub using our internal controls but if you discover a dealer posing as a private seller you can stop others falling for their tricks by getting in touch with us on twitter @TrustHubHQ and we’ll add them to our blacklist.

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Bank drafts – should you accept them?

Good question. The answer, as is often the case, is it depends. Some people think that bank drafts are just as good as cash but they’re wrong – you have to take precautions. Bank drafts are an attractive target for fraudsters because they’re easier to fake than cash and yet make them appear legitimate. Your account may initially be credited with the amount on the draft too but that won’t last long.

Fraudsters will pay for your vehicle with a bank draft, immediately advertise it (or may have it up on another website already) for below market value then sell it for cash. When you discover the bank draft is fake a week or so later you report the car stolen and the unsuspecting buyer has the car taken from them if it can be found. One person recently lost €40,000 this way and this scam regularly happens to innocent buyers and sellers. Misery for everyone but the happy fraudster.

Our advice is that you can accept bank drafts under certain circumstances. The best advice is to enter the bank branch with the prospective buyer and watch them receive the draft at the counter and immediately hand it over to you. Don’t wait outside the branch and don’t let them distract you enough to switch it with a counterfeit one.

If you can’t do that then you should get details of the bank draft in advance and check with the bank that it is legitimate and from the bank/branch it is said to be from. Also get and note the identification of the buyer – if they’re unwilling to provide these details then walk away from the deal.

Fraudsters go to great lengths to make bank drafts appear legitimate including glueing genuine holograms on it so don’t rely on your eyes. They’re also expert at crafting stories to hook you and may pay over the odds for your vehicle to entice you to accept the fake bank draft. If it seems too ‘convenient’ or too good to be true then it probably is.

Two final points – never refund any difference in the value of the bank draft and the vehicle especially if the person is offering to post the draft to you and you ship the car to them – that’s a guaranteed scam – and don’t accept cheques because they can be canceled after they’re issued.

Happy buying and selling and drop us a line on twitter @TrustHubHQ if you have any questions!

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