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What Makes Scrap Car Scams So Dangerous?

5th Jun, 2017

Car scams are, unfortunately, nothing new. Cars are a universal commodity that’s relatively expensive, and many are bought and sold informally, making the car market an easy target for fraudsters. However, if you’re practised and you know what to look for, you’ll often be able to sidestep any dodgy deals. And true to form, we’re here to help on that score too.

The Dangers Of Car Scams

handing over keys

Fraudsters pose a number of dangers to people trying to scrap their cars. Firstly (and most obviously) there’s the financial aspect. A common car scheme in years past was for the fraudster to hire a car, and then sell it to several different buyers. Then they’d return the car to the rental company and disappear with the money. It’s a sore point to lose money to any of these sorts of scams, but there are sometimes even more serious consequences.

Cut and shut vehicles are another type of scam which has seen an unfortunate surge in popularity in recent years. We’ve talked in-depth about them before, but essentially it’s the term that refers to when halves of two separate (damaged) cars are glued together to make one whole one. The people who do this job are usually more concerned with shifting them for some quick cash than they are with rendering them even vaguely safe or roadworthy. The final result is a car on the road which could fall apart at even the slightest impact – or even none at all. In this way, fraudsters can not only pose a threat to your bank account, but even to your physical safety.

Then there’s the legal angle; scammers deliberately never process paperwork correctly. That means that when you sell your car over to them, it’s often still registered in your name. So if it’s caught speeding, or even in active criminal pursuits, it’s not the new owner who’ll end up with the fines – as far as the DVLA’s concerned, it’s you. It’s yet another reason why you should always take extra care when selling or scrapping your car.

Scrap Car Network’s Top Tips For Avoiding Scammers

 top tips for avoiding scams

Luckily, we’re on hand to help you out! We’ve got a few easy steps to minimise your risk of getting defrauded, and you may well be doing a couple of them already:

Do Your Research

If using a company for the first time, it’s never a bad idea to look into their background a bit first. The easiest place to check is their website, and legitimate facilities can be found in telephone directories too. Look for signs of an established presence – a threadbare or badly maintained website might be a sign that it’s been set up hastily, which is never a good indication! While you’re at it, make sure to check for a physical address.

Get A Certificate Of Destruction

Whenever you sell or scrap your car, you should always receive this document. (At Scrap Car Network, we’ll have it to you within seven days.) It officially releases you from any responsibility with the car, and transfers it to the owner. Remember, a Certificate Of Destruction is exactly that. It’s not a Document of Collection, or any other made-up name, so don’t let anyone fob you off with one. Unless it’s a CoD, it has zero legal standing.

Never hand over money without seeing the car

This is another key step, especially if you’re talking to someone online. We’ve run you through how to check that a car isn’t a cut and shut (link above), and don’t be afraid to take it for a test drive either. Be wary of being pressured into handing over a deposit with lines like “having another buyer interested”. If they’re legitimate, they may try and hurry you along a bit, but they’ll also respect you wanting to take your time in turn. It’s also a good time to check the car’s VIN, too.

Use An Authorised Treatment Facility

Of course, you can save yourself a lot of bother in the first instance by simply checking if the dealer is an Authorised Treatment Facility. They’re the only ones legally allowed to scrap your car, so unless they can prove to you they’re an ATF (licenced and monitored by the Environment Agency), steer well clear!

At Scrap Car Network, we don’t mess you about when it comes to scrapping your car. There’s no changing of prices at the last minute – you can simply enter in your postcode and car reg on our website to see an instant price for your scrap car. Not only that, but all of our dealerships are registered ATFs, so you know we’re well operating well inside the law. Don’t hang around – start scrapping your car today!

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