‘Tens of thousands’ of UK cancellations on Irish roads

New research from Irish company MotorCheck.ie suggests that tens of thousands of deregistered UK vehicles have been imported and registered in Ireland since 2014, some of them in dangerous and defective states.

The analysis, seen by Prime Time, was carried out by matching the vehicle identification numbers (VINs) of ex-UK cars registered here with the VINs in a database of canceled vehicles sold at UK salvage auctions.

MotorCheck’s Shane Teskey told Prime Time: “We decided to take that database of three and a half million vehicles and cross-reference every VIN number that has been imported into Ireland from the UK to see if any of those vehicles has crossed the water.

“We’ll incorporate the story in the UK throughout his ownership there and Ireland. And that’s why, when we ran that cross-reference, those 36,000 cars came out in a way that hadn’t been seen before.”

There is a wide spectrum of reasons why insurance companies write off vehicles. Often, it is simply that the vehicle is not economically repairable, meaning that the cost to repair it would be greater than the vehicle’s pre-crash value.

In Ireland, cancellations fall into four main categories.

Category A it is vehicles that must never again appear on the road, the chassis and all parts must be destroyed.

Category B The vehicles must also not be driven on the roads again, although some parts of the vehicle may be salvageable.

Category C These are vehicles that have suffered structural damage, possibly to the chassis or crumple zone, but can be returned to the road if properly repaired.

Category D it is similar, although they are vehicles that have not suffered structural damage but have suffered other damage that makes them financially irreparable.

The UK’s categorization is similar to that of Ireland, although they have replaced Categories C and D with Categories S and N; S for “structural” and N for “nonstructural.”

The largest cohort of cancellations highlighted by MotorCheck as imported to Ireland is Category S.

Again, there is nothing wrong with cars in this category being repaired and returned to the road, as long as those repairs are of a high standard and have returned the car to roadworthy condition.

Shane Teskey of MotorCheck

For Shane Teskey, this is the crucial point. “We need to be sure and confident that the repairs have been carried out to a high standard. Secondly, if a car has a write-off flag against it, it is known to be worth at least 20% less than an equivalent car. that doesn’t have a cancel flag would get”.

The big question is whether canceled UK vehicles on Irish roads and for sale in Ireland have been repaired to that standard.

Using data obtained by MotorCheck, Prime Time identified dozens of cars currently for sale here. Posing as buyers, we approached three dealerships to purchase the cars they had advertised for sale. These were vehicles that had been involved in serious head-on crashes.

Prime Time also arranged for an independent consultant and engineer, Liam Cotter, to examine the cars outside the dealerships.

In all three cases, the engineer identified serious problems with the accident repairs and the current condition of the vehicles. These ranged from a warped track control arm that put the steering at imminent risk of failure to a litany of electronic failures, including in the airbag system.

One of the dealers involved told Prime Time that he believed he had purchased the car in roadworthy condition and made the necessary repairs to the vehicle after being told about the defects by Liam Cotter.

Engineer Liam Cotter

When we asked the dealers as potential buyers, none of them informed us that the car had been written off, one didn’t even mention that the car had crashed.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission told Prime Time that: “It is a criminal offense for a dealer to provide false or misleading information about failure history. It is also prohibited for a merchant to omit or hide material information from a consumer.”

The CCPC’s criminal enforcement division is currently investigating the three dealers featured.

There are also canceled UK imports sold by private sellers, a scenario where consumers have very little protection.

A fact that auto journalist Geraldine Herbert says people should remember. “At least if you go to a dealership, the car has to be of merchantable quality, it has to be as described. It has to be fit for purpose. And that’s the key. It has to be roadworthy. So, you know , buying as a private buyer, you just have to be very careful.”

With Brexit and other supply issues driving the cost of used cars to unprecedented levels, due diligence is more important than ever. All three cars we inspected were flagged on both Motorcheck.ie and CarTell.ie as canceled imports, but we also found cancellations that were not flagged by some checking websites.

Some will give a green tick and say a car hasn’t been written off in Ireland, but you can also say that because the car is imported it’s not possible to say it hasn’t been written off elsewhere.

Some websites have access to information and databases that other sites simply don’t.

Journalist motorist Geraldine Herbert

Geraldine Herbert stresses the importance of running proper background checks before buying a car, but believes more needs to be done to protect all road users. “I think the issue of cancellations goes beyond consumer protection. You know, this is a security issue. These are cars we all share the road with. I think there should be something else, the State must intervene here. “

The UK is currently ahead of Ireland in that there is a shared, albeit voluntary, insurance database of canceled vehicles.

Ireland has no such equivalent.

It means that vehicles that have become more difficult to insure and put on the road there will find it easier to get to Ireland, where there will be no official review of their repairs or assessment of their roadworthiness before they are put into operation. . The way.

For Liam Cotter, it is unacceptable that vehicles can be brought in from another jurisdiction where they have been decommissioned and put into service or sold in Ireland without any official review of the quality of the repairs, especially in scenarios where the dealer refuses to reveal the full history of the vehicle.

“We chose three cars for the purpose of this program and all three, and in my opinion, they are not in good condition. As far as I am concerned, they are not roadworthy. There are many, very serious defects in them. If that It’s a snapshot of the real situation, so this is pretty serious, given the numbers you’re talking about.”

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