Belter or banger? How to spot a scam when buying or selling a used car

When buying or selling a used car we all have a fear of getting ripped-off, getting taken advantage of or being the victim of a scam.

Here at MM, we have come up with some handy pointers of things to look out for when buying or selling a used car:

Be vigilant

When buying a used car customers should always be vigilant when it comes to scams such as clocking.

This is the scam by which dealers can wipe miles from the vehicles milometer and therefore increase the value of the car.


Customers should always be confident that the vehicle is not stolen or a vehicle that has been damaged in an accident.

Checking that all of the relevant documents such as the VIN Plate, MOT Certificate, V5C Document and Service History will eliminate much of the risk attached to this.

Check for damage

A thorough inspection of the vehicles paintwork, lights and trim should help to confirm whether or not the vehicle has previously been involved in an accident.

Make sure that the tyres on the car are at the legal limit for driving and beware of a practice known as Cut ‘n’ Shut Vehicles.

This is when two written-off cars of the same make and model have been welded together to form what appears to be a complete car.

This is extremely dangerous as the cars structure has been altered dramatically which will in turn weaken the ability for the vehicle to withstand any impact.

Selling a car

When selling a used car through a car dealership beware of hidden admin fees and payment charges and make sure that the price quoted IS the ACTUAL price.

Ensure the valuation of your vehicle is correct and if possible get two or three independent valuations.

Beware of financial scams such as pick-up agents who may attempt to pick up the car on somebody’s behalf before the payment for the car has reached your bank account or PayPal account.

Finally, it may sound obvious but never leave a potential buyer alone with your vehicle and the keys.

For more information on how to do this visit and

Image via piwojasne, with thanks

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