The AA warns buyers to avoid simply taking a used car seller’s word for it

Research from the team behind the AA Car Data Check service reveals that many used car buyers are likely to believe they could trust the person they were buying a used car from*. Even if they suspected something was not right with a vehicle, 1 in 8 buyers would take the seller’s word on its condition. The AA is warning used car buyers that signs, such as mismatching paintwork, or misaligned panels, could point to a very dangerous type of used vehicle – a cut ‘n’ shut.

When asked, 42% of used car buyers said they would not walk away from a vehicle that had mismatching paintwork – a sign that the car may not be what it seems. The AA reminds buyers that a vehicle history check can offer buyers vital protection against the risk of buying a dodgy vehicle hiding beneath shiny paintwork and a low price.

“It’s clear from our survey that consumers can be a very trusting bunch, but this leaves them open to unscrupulous sellers out to make a quick profit,” says Amanda Moore of the AA. “A car with mismatched paintwork might simply have had a re-spray for cosmetic reasons, but it could have been an insurance write-off, or even worse – a cut ‘n’ shut. Used car buyers are risking their safety, as well as wasting their money on a nightmare on wheels.”

If an insurer deems a vehicle that has been involved in an accident to be too badly damaged or too costly to be repaired safely and go back on the road, it will be declared a write-off, or total loss. Unfortunately, some of these cars end up being illegally returned to the roads in the form of a cut ‘n’ shut. A cut ‘n’ shut is two crashed or written-off vehicles of the same make and model which have been welded or stitched together to form what appears to be a complete car. These are then sold on at a bargain price to unsuspecting car buyers.

Moore continues, “Cut ‘n’ shut vehicles are fundamentally dangerous because the integrity of the car’s structure has been altered, significantly weakening its ability to withstand any impact in an accident. Buyers need to make sure they take a closer look before purchasing a vehicle. Signs such as misaligned panels, differing colours to upholstery, and mismatching paintwork could point to something more serious, so as well as conducting a history check the AA encourages consumers to get a professional vehicle inspection if they suspect something is not right.”

Although 47% of the respondents surveyed by the AA said they would walk away from a vehicle that had been in an accident, the AA advises buyers that some vehicles can be repaired properly and returned to the road – and could represent a bargain.Using data from the Motor Insurance Anti Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR), the AA Car Data Check canhelp buyers spot the difference between a bargain and a potential death trap on wheels. Advice from the AA is not to believe everything a seller says because they may have something to hide. Get an AA Car Data Check, and Vehicle Inspection, before purchase to be sure.

“It would be nice to think that every seller is genuine, but our experience shows this just isn’t the case,” Amanda Moore concludes. “However, not all write-offs are death-traps, so some buyers in our survey could be walking away from a genuine bargain. The best way to make an informed and safe buying decision is to conduct a vehicle history check. It’s the ultimate protection from the risk of buying a vehicle that could be stolen, cloned, on outstanding finance or an insurance write-off and could help you spot a real bargain.”