Are you buying a car that has a few years of local use on its back? ‘Well maintained’, ‘gently used’, ‘lady owned’ seem to be the words that make us trust that a car is in good condition and is genuinely on sale. But do you know what to do to confirm the genuineness of the sale? Many people have paid to buy cars only to find out that they were duped.
Did you know that for every car put out there for sale: 1 in 6 cars is an insurance write-off, 1 in 4 has had a number plate change, 1 in 7 still has outstanding finance (car loan), 1 in 20 have a mileage discrepancy and 1 in 250 are scrapped (written off). Here are a few quick checks you need done before committing to the deal.
- Vehicle search
A quick vehicle search will show you whether the person selling the vehicle to you is its genuine owner. From a vehicle search, you will get car data that is also replicated in the vehicle logbook. In case of fraud, a vehicle search will save you by providing proper reference information on the vehicle on sale. This also includes information on possible number plate changes. You may also get to know if it was written off in a prior incident.
- Finance check
Some scrupulous individuals sell cars with outstanding financial loans without informing the buyer. This usually ‘quietly’ transfers the burden of loan repayment to the buyer, causing unnecessary trouble for innocent buyers. This is not common though since banks retain car logbooks against loans but some sellers have found a way of duplicating logbooks.
- Vehicle parts verification
Sometimes a vehicle may be fitted with parts stolen from other vehicles. You should have a record details such as vehicle colour changes, if the vehicle has been imported and/or exported, and registration plate changes such as private number plates and cherished transfers. Check and validate the vehicle VIN / engine numbers to ensure you have a genuine machine being transferred to you.
- Mileage check
Some shrewd individuals have today found quick ways to alter the vehicle mileage and dupe you into thinking it is ‘slightly and carefully used by a lady owner’. A mileage check will show you the exact vehicle mileage as compared to what may be offered you at point of sale.
Where can you do these checks?
Lucky for you, technology has made life easier, allowing you to do quick checks online. Most of the time the seller will initiate the search for you, but to be safe, this information is available on the websites of National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA); Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA). Get as much details about the vehicle (including number plate and current owner name) from the seller as possible and verify from your search.
Once you have identified your vehicle of choice, the good guys in the Valuation Team at the Automobile Association of Kenya will conduct a thorough inspection on your car. Inspection exposes the weak links on a car and ascertains the genuineness of a car’s parts along with its ownership. If you are a member you will be lucky to receive this service at KES 3,000/- but it is still available for non-members at a friendly fee of KES 5,000/-. This will save you from possible peril by ironing out any fraudulent situations early enough.