One in five people admit to telling lies when selling their car privately, with money the main motivating factor behind being dishonest about faults and mechanical issues, according to a new survey.
The survey of 2,000 motorists by Trusted Dealers, a used car website backed by 40 of the UK’s top franchised dealer groups including Lookers, Marshall Motor Group and Ridgeway Group, shows that 1.4 million of the 6.8m used cars sold in the UK have potentially be sold dishonestly.
‘Money’ was listed as the main reason for telling lies, suggesting that many motorists are increasingly willing to tell lies and cut corners because of the pressure of recouping cost on a car during tough economic conditions.
The most common lies were designed to hide existing faults, with one in three (34%) designed to cover up mechanical issues and one in ten (10%) hiding a poor service history.
However some buyers admitted to more serious offences with one in 10 motorists prepared to lie about their car’s mileage and 5% omitting to tell buyers about previous accidents.
Following the findings, Trusted Dealers has launched ‘Scambusters’, a new consumer campaign to expose scams and dodgy dealings while providing topical consumer advice to help protect buyers.
As part of the campaign, Trusted Dealers has created a dedicated Scambuster webpage containing a downloadable safe buying guide, and is encouraging ripped off motorists to post details of scams to help warn other drivers of unscrupulous practices.
Details of any scams will then be passed to the Office of Fair Trading and the Police.
Neil Addley, managing director of Trusted Dealers, said: “This research demonstrates the hidden dangers of buying a car from a private seller and although the majority of lies covered small defects, a worrying minority were trying to conceal potentially serious problems.
“Trusted Dealers has brought together some of the most respected names in the motor trade to provide a safe place for motorists to buy a car and the Scambusters campaign will protect motorists and help to raise standards in the used car industry by identifying and exposing rogue operators and conmen.”
The research also found that Scottish sellers are the most likely to twist the truth (27%), followed closely by Londoners and sellers from Essex. Yorkshire was found to be the most trustworthy part of the UK with fewer than 13% of sellers prepared to tell a lie.
Over a third of private sellers (38%) said they had used diversion tactics to distract a buyer from a problem with a car, with 15% parking the car in a position to hide bumps, cracks and scratches. A further 3% used temporary air fresheners to hide permanent smells.