Category: selling

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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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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Counterfeit cash and how to spot it

One of the main sticking points in any transaction is how to get paid. This is especially true when you’re meeting a stranger to buy or sell your car. Most cars are worth at least a few hundred quid and dealing with that amount of cash can be a worry – but don’t worry, TrustHub is here to help.

Cash has its advantages – it’s quick, you know when you have it in your hand that you’ve gotten paid and it feels more satisfying than lodging a bank draft. Fair enough – but it might not all be plain sailing. There’s always a chance that the person you’re dealing with will pass you fake notes.

So how can you spot a counterfeit note?

Strangely, the best way is not to use your eyes! Every wondered why the shop assistant insists on subtly rubbing their thumb over your note? All Euro notes have raised print on them (called intaglio printing) that you can feel with your finger and is very hard to fake. On the old versions this is contained in a small rectangle just to the right of the large 10/20/50 in the top right corner (See the picture below). Run your thumbnail over these ridge and check to see they don’t come off. Some criminals have tried putting creases in the paper to simulate the edge but it should feel very defined.

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In the new versions of the €5, €10, €20 notes, this raised print runs along both ends of the note. But wait, they’ve got holograms right? Well, the holograms are often faked in counterfeit notes with varying effectiveness. Luckily in the new €20 note there’s a nifty new security feature in the hologram. If you hold the note up to the light there is now a window on the right hand side where you can see the face of a woman (Europa herself).

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So, is that everything? No, there’s a few other tips we have:

Avoid large denominations as these are often used by criminals. In fact they’re considering removing €500 notes from circulation because they are almost exclusively used by criminals.

Check notes individually and don’t feel embarrassed to do this. The first few notes on the top or bottom (or both) may be genuine but conceal many more counterfeit ones underneath. This will give the appearance of a genuine sheaf of notes that will later turn out to be largely worthless.

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Transferring Ownership – the RF101

One of the most common mistakes we’ve seen when people buy or sell a vehicle is the transfer of ownership. This can range from a simple mistake, a mix-up of responsibilities or just plain old criminal intent.

When a vehicle is sold you must transfer the legal responsibility for it to the new owner – called the registered owner. This can be done easily in Ireland by filling out the back of the vehicle logbook (the RF101 aka Vehicle Registration Certificate) with the details of the new owner and then both parties signing it.

The two main problems that can befall buyers and sellers are failing to send the logbook to the NVDF (National Vehicle & Driver File) and incorrectly filling out the form.

As a seller your big pitfall is failing to send the logbook to the NVDF. Sometimes a con artist may try to pressure you into handing over the logbook when they pay for the car. NEVER DO THIS. They will most likely never register the car in their name and will continue driving it around and racking up fines in your name for which you are now legally responsible.

To avoid this make sure to ask for identification such as a driving licence and check that it matches the name and address of the buyer.  Then send the logbook to the NVDF YOURSELF.

As a buyer, make sure that you put the correct details on the logbook and sign in the correct position. If you make a mistake here you may not have full legal ownership of the vehicle you buy! When the seller sends the logbook to the NVDF it shouldn’t take longer than a couple of weeks to receive the new one in your name. In the meantime, you can check if they have sent the logbook by heading over to http://www.motortax.ie, selecting the Vehicle Transaction Enquiry option and entering the vehicle registration number. It will show if or when the change of ownership was received.

We can provide a sample contract for both parties that makes this process easier and more accountable for both sides – just tweet us @TrustHubHQ for a copy!

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What is a lemon?

While I was writing another blog I suddenly wondered why an unreliable car was called a ‘lemon’. One quick Google later: In America a pool hall hustle was called a lemon game (1908); while to hand someone a lemon was British slang (1906) for “to pass off a sub-standard article as a good one.” Or it may simply be a metaphor for something which leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth.

It’s first known use in relation to cars was this Volkswagen beetle ad:

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When dodgy dealer has a sub-standard car and wants to get rid of it the best thing they can do is tell you as a buyer as little as possible about it and hope you don’t find out for yourself.

Car criminals rely on both pressure tactics and knowing things about a car that you don’t. This information unbalance is what TrustHub fights. We give you the ability to show that the car is owned by the owner for at least three months and that it’s not stolen or otherwise untrustworthy. That way everybody involved is left, not with a bad taste in their mouth but, with a good deal in their pocket.

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What’s the best public place to meet?

We previously wrote that meeting a public place is often the safest for both buyer and seller, particularly with TrustHub verification, but where exactly should that be?

This will vary depending on the time and day. In general, you want to meet in a busy, well-lit public space that you can drive to. It also helps if there is a working CCTV system there that you can park under. Examples of such places may be town centres, shopping centres or a large company car park but it will often depend on the time of day. A gym car park may be busier at night than during the day and a shopping centre the opposite. Meeting during the day at the weekend may mean a company car park will be deserted.

Some people meet outside Garda/Police stations but remember that many times the officers may be too busy to notice what’s going on outside or they may out and about.

So try to find the right balance between the amount of lighting, number of passersby and local CCTV surveillance. Criminals want to avoid all of them. TrustHub verification can also help alleviate any concern and mean you can meet anyone, anywhere at anytime.

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Meet at yours, theirs or in public?

When you’re buying or selling a car privately there’s an obvious problem: where do you meet? The advice is contradictory depending on which side of the deal you’re on.

If you’re buying – meet in the driveway of their house so you can be sure they own it.

If you’re selling – meet away from your house so that strangers don’t know where you live and can’t return to steal the car at a later date.

Confusing eh?

For both buying and selling – bring someone else with you.

That last piece of advice is interesting: what happens if they bring someone with them? Do you then bring two people? Do you tell them that you can both bring four people for back-up? Where does it end? It ends if a vehicle is TrustHub verified and there’s less of a need for that arms race. Both sides should exercise caution sure, but as a buyer you can rest assured that who you’re meeting is accountable with TrustHub.

Anyway – where to? Many people end up meeting in public places to stay safe but that’s often where car criminals want to meet as they don’t want to be traceable. Sometimes of course, with significant distances involved, it’s good to meet up halfway between you. TrustHub let’s you safely meet in public places now that the buyer knows that the car has been TrustHub verified. You as the seller no longer have to tell potential buyers where you live. Everybody wins.

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What are the benefits of using TrustHub?

It’s hard to pack so many benefits in so few words on the main page. That’s the hurly-burly world we live in. So we thought we’d write a blog post on them for those more curious individuals like yourself. Selling your vehicle privately is a good way to make more money from it. You don’t need to effectively pay dealers to ‘take your pride and joy off your hands’. That same dealer’s cut can instead be shared between you and whoever buys your car.

The problem is that it’s human nature to want as much of that ‘cut’ as possible. Its one of the many inherent conflicts between you and the buyer. For security you may want to meet in a public place rather than at your house – you don’t want them calling by to pick up the keys at 4am later that night…

If I was a buyer, however, I’d want to meet at your place to make sure you are who you say you are. So where to? With TrustHub you can meet anywhere – when your buyer knows that we know who you are and who owns the car, they can rest assured. This means that you stay safer, sell your car quicker and for more. That means less time fielding phone calls and more time spending the extra money you just made. Everybody wins with TrustHub.

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What do we do?

Our mission is to cut crime. First stop: car crime. To do this TrustHub has developed a unique system to verify the identity of both the owner and the vehicle that they’re selling. This means that any vehicle you see with the TrustHub verified logo has gone through our system successfully. That means we’ve checked:

  • The owner’s identity
  • The vehicle’s identity
  • The vehicle’s NCT (if it is more than 4 years old)
  • The vehicle’s ownership

So what does that mean for you?

Well, if you’re selling you can generate more interest in your vehicle and get a better deal.

If you’re buying you can be confident that the vehicle isn’t stolen and you’ve much more protection from scams.

Everybody wins with TrustHub.

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Welcome to TrustHub

Allow us to introduce ourselves.

We’re TrustHub and we’ve made it our mission to cut crime. We’re an Irish company made up of policing, fraud and IT experts with a passion for frustrating criminals before they get the chance to ruin your day.

Because of our experiences, we decided to start with cars. Buying or selling a car privately is probably the most valuable and yet highest risk transaction you’ll make. We focus particularly on private sales of cars because the lack of regulation in private sales has allowed car criminals to defraud thousands of Irish people a year. We’re here to stop that.

This blog is mostly about staying safe when buying or selling a car privately but we’ll also occasionally give tips about buying from a dealer too because not all dealers are on your side.If there is a major scam or alert we think you should be aware of you’ll also find it here.

So thanks for calling by, and if you’re wondering what we do when we’re not blogging, have a look at http://www.trusthub.ie where we help you buy and sell your car with confidence.

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