A service customer came in a few weeks ago with a 12 plated S-Max. We had tried to deal him a few weeks prior, but he purchased an import from a Dublin car dealer (non-franchised). His complaint was that the engine warning light was on as well as another he didn’t know what it was. When we checked the car, we discovered some real horrors below the bonnet and then checked deeper and saw that there was frame and suspension issues and faulty airbags. When I did a HPi check, guess what, it was a complete write off in the UK. He paid €12,000 for a car that was worth 2-3 grand within 3 months. What’s more upsetting is there appears to be no legislation in place for the protection of that customer, so he may well be forced to drive around in a death trap, or, pass it on in the used adds. The gentleman has children, young children, who are at serious risk because of a dodgy car dealer and lack of legislation.
When I sell a used car to a customer, we make sure that the history of that vehicle is iron clad. We also make sure that the vehicle has never been involved in a major accident nor is there any outstanding finance on it. Then, and this is a BIG thing, we prepare the car to Barlo Motor group standards. We check everything on that car, if the tyres are under 3mm (legal limit 1.6MM) we change them, we will change discs and pads if required, bulbs, everything. When a lot of what I call pop up dealers (They pop up, sell for 6 months, then disappear) state their import will come serviced, what they mean is that they will change the oil & filter, that’s it. We take pride that we sell quality and want that customer to have total confidence when parting with their hard-earned money. Let me give you an example: We recently had a 40KM Kuga into our workshop, now, although it was a nice car, it needed 4 tyres, oil & air filter, oil change and also 4 sets of brake pads and rear discs. My bill from my workshop for getting this car to standard, was just over €1,100 + VAT. I guarantee, had that car been an import, they would no way have put the money into that car to get it right.
So, there are two things, prepared to standard and also full history verification. Then, it’s an Irish vehicle, which in 3 years’ time, will hold its value more than a UK car, because guess what, the proper garages who are still trading, won’t want them and if they do, they will value them less as we know, you have paid slightly less.
Now we have 3 great reasons to buy at your local dealer, here’s another. A huge amount of speeding tickets being issued in Ireland, are actually being issued people who bought UK imported vehicles. Why, because although every customer believes they are the best driver in the world and never breaks the law, when their concentration slips a little, they look down and see 60, but that’s not 60KPH, its 60MPH, which 96KPH. It is so easily done and the fact that the car is in MPH, is unfortunately no defence in court.
There are now 4 great reasons to buy locally, now, let’s look at another one, Warranty. Would you trust a dealer, let’s say Barlo Motors, that have been trading with local people for the last 74 years to stand by their warranty and be there for you, the customer, just in case something went wrong, or a pop-up dealer that you have zero relationship with and will never see again? You choose, you know best. The gent at the start of this review who had the S-Max, was given a 12-month warranty, but we couldn’t fix it for him, why, when the warranty company found out it was a write off, they cancelled it and now, he has no protection. €12,000 was a lot of money to him and our car was €2000 more, but I wonder which he now feels he should have bought?
Lastly, the mileage on the imported car can easily be wrong, most likely will be wrong, why, because although in the UK, they have a computerised system called VMC (Vehicle mileage check), and whenever a vehicle in the UK goes into any garage or has any work carried out, the mileage at that point is registered. This has vastly reduced the criminal gangs clocking vehicles. But, when that car comes over to Ireland, we do not have access to VMC, so unscrupulous dealers are buying cars that are clocked, mostly through the auctions. Irish Franchised dealers almost always buy from Franchised dealers in the UK, thus being able to guarantee the mileage and also the history. If for whatever reason you want to buy a car from the UK, check what your local dealer can source for you. It will also save you masses amounts of time and effort.
That is 6 totally true and great reasons to make you think, think twice, before parting with your money on what you think is a great deal. You believe you have got one over the dealer, you got a bargain, well, you may as well go down to the Thurles greyhound track and place 10, 15, even €20K on trap 4, because that’s the level of gamble you are taking.
Legislation needs to be put in place to protect the Irish buying public, from unscrupulous dealers that give our industry a bad name and more importantly, place people’s lives at risk.
I am all for competition, competition keeps you honest, but this is not competition, this is fraud, this is unfair to the hardworking people in local communities who want to get the best value for money deal but have their head turned. The cheapest price is genuinely not always the best price. You are not buying a loaf of bread.
One major piece of advice, ONLY buy an import from a Franchised dealer. Franchised dealers will make sure the correct VRT paperwork is completed for you, they will guarantee the history and mileage of that vehicle and they will also prepare the car to Franchised dealer standards, meaning your investment is protected. The guarantee that they put in place will be solid and the car will be prepared for sale to a much higher standard.
Buy smart, Buy safe, Buy local.
Another review by the Sales Manager of Barlo Motors, Thurles, James Mc Vicker