“This year, the share of used passenger cars for which advertisements state that they have not been in an accident was 99.4 percent. In reality, it is different. For ten-year-old cars, two-thirds of them are after the accident. But the buyer almost never learns about the damage from the seller,” Martin Pajer, head of Cebia, told Novinkám.cz. This helps buyers verify whether the car has been broken into or whether the number on the speedometer corresponds to the actual number of kilometers driven.
Although sellers often hide the damage in the offers, most motorists know that they can check the car’s history with several companies. The digital footprint each car leaves in shared databases makes screening easier. Specialized companies analyze data from insurance companies, branded car repair shops and previous car advertisements, in the Czech Republic and abroad.
Databases show, for example, that in Germany the vehicle was sold as a wreck and suddenly appears in the Czech Republic as a “polished”, i.e. a polished, undamaged older car. Verification systems may not pick up every damage or tachometer deviation, but with millions of records, they can detect a lot.
“When buying a used car for hundreds of thousands of crowns, I recommend that buyers invest hundreds of crowns in an international service history check. This will reduce the risk of buying a wrecked car by more than 90 percent,” confirms Jiří Grund, chairman of the Used Car Trade Association. In addition, large car dealerships already have this certificate available for free for every car.
When selling, it is important whether someone scratched the car with a shopping cart in the parking lot, had slightly crumpled sheets, or had a serious accident on the highway.
Polished wrecks, invalid papers, twisted kilometers. Used cars from Germany are not what they used to be
“However, advertising portals usually do not make it possible to distinguish a crash from damage in their offers. Sellers prefer not to state anything,” stated Pajer from Cebia, which is number one on the Czech market in the verification of used vehicles. In addition, there may be a note about the fact that the car was damaged in a more detailed description of the car being sold.
Cars for which bazaars state their German origin currently make up less than a fifth of the offer, and their share is decreasing. According to Cebia, the average value on the tachometers of sold used cars fell from 153,000 to 146,000 kilometers year-on-year.
However, experts point out that as long as it is possible to order a simple device for lowering the speedometer via the Internet for a few thousand crowns, the data on kilometers driven can only be indicative. According to Cebia, the reduction occurs in roughly a third of used vehicles, and even more so in foreign imports. Although bottling is a criminal offense, it is difficult to enforce in practice.