Dispatches, Why Is My Car So Expensive, Channel 4, 15th August 2022, Ginny BuckleyDispatches, Why Is My Car So Expensive, Channel 4, 15th August 2022, Ginny Buckley

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Cazoo and Cargiant offering written-off used cars to unsuspecting buyers

  • Undercover investigation finds two major retailers offering previously written-off cars for sale
  • Cazoo and Cargiant try to reassure customers their cars are checked pre-sale
  • Revelations to be aired during Channel 4 show Dispatches tonight at 8pm
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Time 9:00 am, August 15, 2022

Cazoo and Cargiant have been found to be selling undeclared written-off used cars to unsuspecting buyers.

An undercover investigation carried out by Channel 4 discovered some of the country’s most well-known car dealers, including Cazoo and Cargiant, were selling dangerous written-off cars that purported to be clean used cars complete with multi-check reports.

The Dispatches programme, fronted by journalist and broadcaster Ginny Buckley, found a BMW 1 Series for sale with online used car dealer Cazoo.


In the car’s advert there was no mention of a previous accident, but a salvage report revealed the 1 Series had been in an accident so severe to have deployed the airbags.

Meanwhile, at Cargiant – which bills itself as the world’s largest used car dealership – a Skoda Karoq up for sale for £18,299 was also not described to have had an accident in the past, yet a salvage report showed it was classed by the insurance company as a ‘Cat S’, ie, structurally damaged but repairable so it’s roadworthy again.

Cazoo and Cargiant said the cars were safe.


According to The Sunday Times, Buckley approached Cazoo about the 1 Series and was told: ‘We don’t sell any vehicles that have been in any accidents.’

When an undercover reporter queried the Skoda Karoq, Cargiant said ‘[a] car has to go through all the multipoint/multiple inspections which is almost 114,169 checks’.

When confronted with the claims, both companies reiterated the checks their used cars go through before being advertised for sale.

A Cazoo spokesperson said the BMW 1 Series incident was ‘highly unusual’, adding: ‘All our cars undergo thorough quality checks, including searches for any previous accident or damage history.’

Cargiant said its used cars were ‘checked against the industry standard vehicle history database and undergo rigorous inspections’.

With regard to the Karoq, Cargiant said it had paid market price from ‘one of the world’s largest vehicle remarketers’.

The spokesperson added: ‘The vehicle passed both theirs and Cargiant’s physical inspection and [industry standard database] checks.

‘Once Cargiant learnt that the insurer failed to declare the car’s write-off status, it immediately withdrew the vehicle from sale. Cargiant now checks all their retail stock with [a wider database] and found this to be the only undeclared write-off.’

It’s not the first time Cazoo’s ‘300-point’ check has come under scrutiny.

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In April 2022, BBC’s Watchdog featured three customers who had complained about the quality of the cars they had bought from the online dealer.

The cars variously had problems with the gearboxes, brakes and bodywork.

‘Dispatches: Why Is My Car So Expensive?’ airs on Channel 4 tonight (Aug 15) at 8pm.

Since publishing this article, Cargiant contacted Car Dealer to say: ‘As far as we are aware the C4 programme identifies a car that was offered for sale, there is no accusation that we had previously sold written-off cars to buyers.

‘We immediately withdrew the car from sale and carried out further checks on all our retail stock and found this car to be the only undeclared write-off.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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