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1 in 5 ‘Del Boy’ Drivers Admit Car Selling ConsBack

Del Boy

Del Boy Trotter - wheeler dealer extraordinaire

New research reveals pitfalls of UK’s 1.4M annual private car sales

The recession is driving UK motorists to become a nation of dodgy dealers according to new research that found that 1 in 5 people admit to telling lies when selling their car.

From innocent fibs to outright fraud, the research of 2,000 motorists by used car site Trusted Dealers ( – a used car website backed by 40 of the UK’s top franchised dealer groups – found that private sellers were increasingly willing to bend the truth to secure a sale.

With almost 6.8 million* used cars sold in 2010, the findings suggest that 1.4m used cars are being sold dishonestly each year with potentially dangerous consequences for unsuspecting motorists.

‘Money’ was listed as the main reason for telling porkies, 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 per cent) designed to cover up mechanical issues and one in ten (10 per cent) covering up a poor service history. However some buyers admitted to more serious offences with one 1 in 10 motorists prepared to lie about their car’s mileage and five percent omitting to tell buyers of previous accidents.

Following the findings, Trusted Dealers has launched ‘Scambusters’, a new consumer campaign to expose scams and dodgy dealings whilst providing topical consumer advice to help protect buyers. As part of the campaign, Trusted Dealers has created a dedicated Scambuster webpage 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 clearly 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 percent), followed closely by lying Londoners and wheeler dealing Essex Boys.

Yorkshire was found to be the most trustworthy part of the UK with fewer than 13 percent of sellers prepared to tell a lie.

Over a third of private sellers (38 per cent) said they had used diversion tactics to distract a buyer from a problem with a car, with 15 per cent parking the car in a position to hide bumps, cracks and scratches. A further three percent used temporary air fresheners to hide permanent smells.

To help buyers avoid and potential scams trusted Dealers has put together a list of the top 5 tips for buying in safety:

  1. Never buy a car without seeing and driving it first
  2. Never hand over cash to a seller
  3. Insist on seeing all documentation before paying
  4. Always take a friend, relative or partner with you when viewing a car
  5. If something looks too good to be true, be suspicious and prepared to walk away


Notes to Editors

*Experian Research is one of the safest places to buy a used car and is a unique collaboration between 40 of the UK’s largest franchised car dealers.

Launched in January 2011, the site is visited by over 300,000 people a month and features a ‘10 point difference’ to reassure car buyers including free theft, outstanding finance and write offs checks on every car. For more information visit

Posted by Paul Carpenter on 22/09/2011