Buyers beware of NCT and tax used car scams

Consumers have been warned to be wary of a scam where cars are being sold at rock-bottom prices falsely claiming to have NCT and/or six months motor tax.

Gardaí have warned the AA of the new scam of which they’ve seen multiple cases since October last year, involving used cars sold privately on popular websites.

The scam involves unscrupulous sellers placing adverts for cars at rock bottom prices — sometimes under €1,000 — stating that they have six months’ tax and/or NCT. When the seller arrives to look at the car, all seems well and they hand over the money to purchase the vehicle. When the buyer realises the car has no tax or NCT, the seller assures them it does, leaves to retrieve the paperwork and simply never returns.

Crucially, the buyer is left with very little recourse in law as no laws have been broken beyond false advertising. As a result, they are left footing a much larger bill than they expected.

Gardaí advise consumers to be on the look-out for the scam and never to hand over money without proof of tax, NCT and the logbook, also known as the Vehicle Registration Certificate or VRC.

Director of consumer affairs for AA Ireland Conor Faughnan said the scam is easily combated by using the car background check service provided by the AA.

“When buying from a private or trade seller, just ask for the serial number on the VRC and the NCT cert/disc number. Enter this data on an AA Car Data Check and we’ll cross-reference these with what’s on file for that car, so we can authenticate the VRC and the NCT cert number. You can also find out if the car is currently taxed, written-off and or used as a taxi or hackney,” he said.

Chief executive of the National Consumer Agency (NCA) Karen O’Leary said: “If buying from a private seller, make sure you have thoroughly checked out the car before handing over any money. Don’t go to see the car on your own; bring a mechanic or someone who has experience with cars or buying cars and make sure to ask to see the car’s service log. When paying do so by bank draft or cheque instead of handing over cash.”

* www.consumerhelp.ie


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