Trusted Dealers, the online used car sales website put together and owned by franchised dealers, is looking to raise awareness of car cloning and log book scams which can affect customers.
According to new research by Trusted Dealers there have been several thousand V5C registration certificates or ‘log books’ stolen from the DVLA which are continuing to help car cloners create false identities for illegal vehicles.
A survey of 1,290 buyers by the used car website reveals the vast majority (81%) are clueless about how to spot a fake registration document, with more than half (57%) unaware there are rogue documents in circulation.
Of the car buyers surveyed, nine out of ten (93%) said more needs to be done to raise awareness of the issue and only one in five (21%) said they had received communication from the DVLA on the reason for the V5C reissue. Over two thirds of drivers (67%) said they were unaware of the difference between the old and new certificates.
A log book is a compulsory document for every vehicle and is the DVLA’s official record of a vehicle’s ownership.
The authority is currently replacing over 34 million vehicle log books after an estimated 400,000 blank ‘registered keeper’ forms were stolen in 2006. The documents were due to be shredded following a printing error.
The Association of Chief Police Officers' (ACPO) vehicle crime intelligence service says it has recovered more than £13 million worth of illegal vehicles since the theft of the documents.
Buyers will continue to be vulnerable to the scam until the end of 2012 when the DVLA anticipates all original, blue log books will have been replaced by the new red versions.
Neil Addley, Trusted Dealers managing director, said: “For a number of years thieves have been using forged registration certificates to legitimise stolen vehicles as many car buyers who are presented with a convincing log book take it as proof of ownership.
“What continues to be worrying about this case is that despite many of the stolen books still being in circulation, little is being done by the authorities to highlight the risks to buyers.
“When the log books were originally stolen, the DVLA launched a hotline, however this is no longer active and with minimal information available on the Government website, we felt it important to help buyers by offering some advice. Trusted Dealers prides itself on being the safest way to buy a used car and all our members have already been through the processes required to guarantee that a used car isn’t cloned, illegal or unsafe.”
Trusted Dealers was conceived by Ken Savage from Perrys and Lookers’ Peter Jones with Robert Forrester of Vertu Motors joining them on the board when it was launched with 17 dealer groups in January 2011.
Trusted Dealers offers this advice to anyone considering buying a used car privately:
1. Check the V5C document serial number – if it falls within the following ranges contact the police and do not purchase the vehicle: BG8229501 to BG9999030 and BI2305501 to BI2800000.
2. The stolen blue certificates have a different background colour on the Notification of Permanent Export (V5C/4) tear off slip on the second page, which looks mauve on the front and pink on the reverse. On legitimate documents they should be mauve on both sides.
3. Check the provenance of any car before you buy it – find all the VIN/chassis numbers on the vehicle to make sure they match with documentation, and then use the HPI Check to ensure they tally with the registration number of the vehicle.