Dealers are being urged to back a campaign to change the law around write-off data to protect themselves as well as motorists.
Provenance check provider Vcheck is lobbying the industry and government to force insurance companies to register write-offs with industry databases.
Its latest study of an unnamed used car sales website showed that 16,700 vehicles were identified as ex-salvage, of which 4,000 were said to be write-offs.
However, they weren’t on the Motor Insurers’ Anti-Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR), which is a voluntary scheme.
Vcheck founder Adrian Mierzwinski said: ‘We have highlighted the issues of write-off vehicles for two years and seen a minimal movement to address the problem.
‘There seems to be a deadlock between the insurance companies, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau and large provenance providers.
‘It is now time that more positive action is taken to force change and protect dealers from unknowingly selling write-offs as “provenance check-clear” vehicles to motorists who risk financial loss and a potentially dangerous, unroadworthy vehicle.’
Vcheck said it was working with motoring bodies to raise the issue with the government and push for change.
Mierzwinski added: ‘Dealers face damage to their reputation and legal action if they unwittingly sell a write-off to a consumer.
‘We’ve seen cases that range from superminis to supercars, and on each occasion the dealer was faced with a huge amount of work and cost to resolve the situation.
‘It is time to solve this issue once and for all.’
In the meantime, he said, Vcheck was offering a fixed and affordable way to help dealers protect themselves from vehicles that have slipped through the net.
A Motor insurers’ Bureau spokesperson said: ‘We welcome this report. It has helped to highlight the serious problem that some people think it is acceptable to sell on vehicles that may have been stolen or damaged.
‘They need to be categorised as vehicle salvage – known generally as written off. We are committed to keeping roads safe and MIAFTR is one of the services provided to help do this.’
The spokesperson added that insurers sent MIAFTR about a million records a year, and in 2019 it took an average of 22 days between the insurer learning of a claim and the data being uploaded, because of a series of controls.
‘At present, it’s not possible for MIAFTR to be a complete solution because some vehicles currently sit outside insurance processes, such as self-insured large fleets, and therefore wouldn’t be uploaded to MIAFTR,’ said the spokesperson.
‘Like insurers, we’re keen to see changes to policy to help tackle the issue.
‘We are committed to continuing to work closely with the industry and DVLA to improve data quality and the service as a whole to make it harder for people to sell on vehicles in this way, to reduce the impact on honest motorists.
‘For example, earlier this month we introduced a new field to help us measure how quickly the database is being updated by insurers after the salvage category has been applied.’
Dealers can support the campaign via Vcheck’s website at vcheck.uk
This story was originally published on November 30 and updated on December 1