The essential used car buyer's guide to car slaeman 'Tradespeak'
Compiled with the help of police, car buying professionals, and even ex-car criminals, GAUK Motors used car buyer’s guide is probably the most comprehensive guide to buying a secondhand motor ever written
Motoring Used Car Guide: Talk-u-thru-check-list
This is also the category which will include stolen cars, so care must be exercised when dealing with these types. It can only be repeated, that not all car traders are devious, amoral, under-handed creatures of the night. But why take that chance with your hard earned, or borrowed cash?
Here are a few ‘give-away’ clues from the WBTs who don’t declare they are trading.
The colour is invariably quoted as from the new car sales brochure, e.g. Diamond Black, Lachs Silver, Island Green and so on. Somewhere in the dimmer recesses of the collective T&W-BTs subconscious, probably lurks the specter of The 1968 Trade Descriptions Act, to which these out of- character declarations pay homage.
With little variation, the model on offer is a superlative example. Where do they find them?
- Coachwork – instead of body – totally unmarked.
- In stunning/pristine/fabulous – the colour
- Superb/outstanding/showroom condition.
- Lovely inside and out – but probably not underneath.
- First to see will buy. Playing on your insecurity. A list of the standard equipment – as well as the genuine extras – to lull you into believing this car is somehow special.
- Very rare. Attempting to capitalise on an unpopular model – which you shall find out when you trade it in – unless it’s a Type 23 Bugatti.
- Any inspection welcome. Trust me! No need to call the AA/RAC – or anybody.
- Mechanics A1. Body isn’t too appealing.
- Motorway mileage. Complete with tachographic proof?
- Expensive stereo. Always gets a mention. Disconnected remarks like possible p.ex, finance available, ‘viewing welcome’, ‘genuine reason for sale’ – of which only the impending hefty repair bill carries any credibility.
- No canvassers. Those companies who phone up advertisers to help them sell their cars. And, of course, a W-BT does not require this help.
Finally we come to the pièce de résistance in used car parlance: the word HENCE. Used to convey the act of ultimate self-denial. For some reason or another, the car is virtually being given away and implies no further negotiation on the sale price is possible. The similarity between these worded adverts and those ‘T’ marked adverts is chilling.
Mundane facts such as its exact age; the exact mileage; the exact number of registered keepers; the exact length of the MOT and road tax; its average mpg or range per tank are all omitted.
So an advert reading:
2 door, 1988, auto, VGC, FSH + bills, one owner, 97,000 miles, dark green, almost fully equipped, no aircon, no leather, economical 28 MPG, £3,500.Tel 123456789
Would appeal to the writer, because it deals with unalterable priority facts, such as the model and body style, the year, the gearbox, the condition, the service history and bill receipts, the number of owners and the mileage.
If you’re looking for this model, the ad assumes you know a little of the car, so the standard equipment isn’t listed. Compared to the awe-inspiring image creation of the trade, this advert wastes no time. It states what exists and does not confuse us with non-relevant information.
This sounds like a very nice car. One owner must have looked after it for eight years, mileage isn’t too high by comparison with some, the full service history may not be by BMW, but so what!
Pouring quality oil into the engine and changing the oil filter every 5,000 miles requires only the assistance of any one of the service companies on the last page of the manual. And the bills for parts and servicing, covering the period between and including the two previous major services, is proof enough of the state of the car – provided they’re on the usual authentic, original, aged looking bill paper with the VAT number and a paid stamp. But be quick. This advert will have the traders lining up.
The more attuned you become to what sellers say, and how they say it, the less time you’ll waste on trips to see rubbish cars. In fact, you’ll get so used to reading between the lines, that you won’t bother phoning some ads, because they’ll scream ‘BOGUS!’
Or, when you do, you’ll know as soon as the seller opens his mouth, you’ll be wasting your time. It’s an adventure in low-life-land with the demimonde, without leaving your front door.
DOCUMENT V5 AND DVLA (UK)
The combination of Information Technology and car thieves is a nightmare combination unfolding as you read this. No matter how tempting, never buy cars from publications which update their adverts daily, nor from computerised find-a-car agencies – since you have no idea from where the car is coming.
Weekly publications slow down car thieves. So, don’t be too keen to get next week’s adverts by fax, before they’re published.
If speed doesn’t kill you…the rip-off will!
V5 details can be obtained from DVLA Swansea, under false pretences. A new log book can be produced on a colour photocopier and all the details printed up in a couple of minutes. Your call to any one of the car information companies will not confirm the authenticity of the V5 details. Your call to DVLA, or your local VRO, will not confirm the authenticity of the V5 details.
Some small legislative obstruction called the Data Protection Act. Hastily written, poorly interpreted and frequently abused, this data to which the VRO/DVLA are zealously guardian, is the same data anyone can obtain by applying on form VQ3, bogusly or otherwise.
Q. What can DVLA do for you, the potential buyer?
Not enough, obviously!
DVLA is efficient in its way. It co-operates with the police, insurance and car information companies, on cars which are reported stolen, written off or crushed. The problem lies with cars, that are not reported stolen.
Because their owners still have to discover they have been stolen: because the owner is either on holiday for two weeks, or he’s in the supermarket shopping for an hour. Car fraud can happen as fast as that.
When all the answers on paper present an image in your mind of the car you want, don’t hang around. Get down there. ASAP!
The more rubbish you go out to look at, the more frustrated you will become, until eventually your patience snaps along with your concentration, and suddenly you find yourself the less-than-proud owner of a ‘dog on wheels’.
Achieved, solely through your frustration and wasted effort looking at one rubbish car after another – because the seller has deceived you and you haven’t picked up on it.
GOBBLEDYSPEAK AND ABBREVIATIONS
Before you phone your first seller and start your conversation, it will be useful for you to understand the gobbledyspeak and abbreviations particular to used car adverts.
The following abbreviations are most common:
(UK) 88E/89F/90G and so on: year of first registration; indicating the car was first available from the 1st August 1987/1988/1989 – apparently one year younger than in reality. You might believe this to be a classic case of misrepresentation, which flies in the face of the Trade Descriptions Act. And you’d be right – but the car trade can get away with it.