Help And Advice


IF YOU ARE GOING TO BUY A VEHICLE,this information is designed to help you:- 

The Internet is rapidly becoming the main source of search and information in our lives. Unfortunately, however, there is practically no legislation on the Internet to protect the consumer which, in short, exposes us to people and companies whose agenda may be to "rip us off" through scams, fraud and deception. If we reflect for a moment on the amount of spam and junk e-mail we all receive every day trying to sell us fake and counterfeit goods and services merely to extract money from us, this issue alone makes us painfully aware of the enormity of the situation. In short, in my opinion, the Internet is in unregulated chaos!. 

This applies to all areas of the Internet. Just think; there are mediums and products which are illegal in this country but which are freely available on the World Wide Web. Therefore, what chance do we have, when we innocently log on, of knowing exactly who we are dealing with or what we are really buying? Naivety is no excuse; we need to be cautious about where and with whom we deal.


Advertisers can write what they want in descriptions with very little ethics.They can promote items that are not genuine or, at worst, do not exist. There is no authoritative body to scrutinise these adverts for factual content or honesty. For example, a person can set up a business on the Internet and call himself  “The HUGE Car Company “. This leads you to believe that he is a substantial business. In fact he could have less than 10 cars available and is merely using such a name to create a false image. When you view his advert, only one car fills your screen, his company profile is befitting to the company name and you are led into a false sense of security.

There are advertisers that draw you in on the belief that you are getting a bargain, eager to secure it, you are encouraged  to submit your payment details, simple, easy - and that’s it! You become an Internet fraud statistic and they disappear.


When paper advertising was the main source of exposure, it was easy to differentiate between adverts. Generally the larger the company, the larger the advert, with motor spots right at the back of the publication singling out private sellers and small car traders. On the Internet, most adverts look the same, there is little or no difference between a large Main dealer add and a person selling a couple of cars from home. It is not easy to distinguish from the advert who we are dealing with and what type of company they represent. In fact it could be said that all adverts are now like motor spots, same size, content and not reflective of who they represent!



So What Can I Do?

  • Deal with people local to you so that you are sure they are who they say they are and their reputation is guaranteed.
  • Read testimonials or feedback to hear of other consumers’ experiences. Establish how long they have been trading.
  • Talk to people; make verbal contact. You can often get a feeling of who you are dealing with.
  • If you are due to visit a company, make sure they have premises - check this before you travel. If viewing is by appointment only, this generally means that the vehicles are in storage or in the streets and whoever is selling them has no facilities to receive customers. Be extremely cautious if the seller wants to meet on neutral ground. This could put you in a vulnerable position in surroundings that you are uncomfortable with.
  • NEVER buy with cash unless you are absolutely sure who you are dealing with. Neither cash nor people are traceable once the parties involved have parted. Be sceptical; if the vehicle you are interested in is better or cheaper than other vehicles you’ve seen or an absolute bargain, it probably isn`t. If is seems to good to be true, it usually is!


The rules of the world have not changed when buying on the Internet; "you get what you pay for!"


What effect does all this have on me when buying a vehicle?


All the above rules apply. You must be vigilant and confident of who you are dealing with and what you are buying.


Detailed below is advice and a number of helpful suggestions to guide you to a more informed purchasing decision. 

  • All vehicles are advertised without the necessity to declare registration numbers. As a result, the vehicle details or model / specification can be incorrectly advertised, therefore, making it sound more attractive than it truly is.                                                                                                                      To avoid this, ask the vendor for the registration number and carry out either an HPi /Data check or get an insurance quote to confirm the vehicle’s specification.
  • When an advertisement is placed, at no time is the vendor obliged to declare that the vehicle you are interested in has sustained major damage or is categorised as a write-off. They are also not obliged to disclose whether there is any money outstanding or third party interest in the vehicle.                                                                                                                                                        Find out yourself  by carrying out an HPi or similar data check which will confirm the vehicle’s current status.


      Most adverts listed concentrate initially on the Make, Model and price. It is vital that you read through the details thoroughly. Check the description, the mileage, service history etc and what the vendor or dealer is offering you. Generally, there is always a reason if a vehicle is listed cheap. Values, in most cases are set by industry guidelines and residual values. Contact the dealer to discuss the vehicle, after all, they will know more about the vehicle than anyone and there may be issues you have overlooked or need confirming in finer detail. 


  • Low mileage, service histories and enhanced specifications make a big difference to values. Each and EVERY used vehicle is individual and, therefore, the criteria employed to value them is different for each. Condition is all important and this cannot be properly appreciated without viewing the vehicle. A newer, high mileage vehicle may not be as good a proposition as an older, lower mileage, well-maintained example. You could look at 10 vehicles of the same make, model and colour and yet there could be a difference of up to £1000 in their value based on mileage, maintenance and condition.The valuing and marketing of used vehicles is a professional job. If in doubt, talk to your local, established dealer. He will be able to give you help and professional advice and be in a position to either locate or supply you from stock, a vehicle that is value for money, genuine and has a full service record.





  • When advertising, it is not a legal requirement to declare the registration document reference number or the MOT certificate test number. These numbers verify whether the registration document and mileage are genuine.                                                                                                                                                                             To confirm this, request these numbers from the vendor, contact DVLA Swansea for the registration document and log on to the VOSA MOT history database to confirm the mileage listed on present and previous MOTs. If you are at all suspicious, contact the police and they can confirm if the vehicle is on any of their alert registers.


  • When buying privately, you do not gain full title to the goods if there is any finance outstanding or a third party interest. YOU inherit this problem or debt and the third party involved can legally repossess the vehicle. You end up with no money and no goods. The same does not apply when buying from a dealer. The debt or third-party issue remains his responsibility and you gain full title via an invoice or bill of sale. 


  • It is not a legal requirement to be VAT registered to sell vehicles unless you reach a certain turnover threshold. If a vendor has a number of vehicles for sale, this is easily achieved. Check if he is registered; it may give clues as to his honesty and integrity. VAT is levied at 17.5% on the vendor’s margin, which may explain why, in some cases, registered dealers can be slightly more expensive. Dealers with premises, staff, VAT registration and facilities, can be, in some cases more expensive, but if you look beyond price, they are more established, will offer an after-sales service and are able to offer professional, definitive advice that is regulated by the legislation they have to follow. Many of these are licensed credit brokers who can help your purchase with the aid of finance products.


  • Remember, all advertisements can look much the same on a PC screen, but reflect vendors and dealers from all walks of life. Check who you are dealing with and where you are going before travelling to unknown areas. We all use the Internet as a source of information or education. However, the quality of what we receive depends on the honesty and knowledge of the person providing it.


                                                      THE INTERNET IS FACELESS!


Make no mistake, this is REAL and happening every day. Large Internet companies such as Amazon or E-bay have strict policies to protect you and a dedicated team working on such issues 24/7.


Scams and Fraudulent Transactions

The following are just a few of the incidents we are aware of in the trade. There are many more:


NEVER go to buy a vehicle with cash unless you are absolutely sure who you are dealing with and the area you are collecting from because you will be quite vulnerable. People have been threatened and robbed, particularly when drawn in on the pretence of obtaining a vehicle very cheaply. Some people have sustained injury and it has been confirmed that the vehicle offered was, in fact stolen. 


                                                      Buyer Beware!


Some buyers have been drawn in by a nearly new vehicle being advertised cheaply from a private address. When they turned up to view they were greeted by a mother with a small baby, the story unfolding that her husband is at work but they could leave a  substantial deposit to secure the vehicle and collect it the following day when her husband would be at home. Eager to secure a bargain they left a deposit, unaware that this scenario had occurred several times that day. The following day all the prospective purchasers turn up to collect the car to find the house empty, the woman and her baby gone with their money and a locked car on the drive. Further investigation with the police reveals that the vehicle is, in fact, a hire car and the woman involved is a known criminal.


                          If A Vehicle Is Cheap There Is Always A Reason!


A buyer has checked a vehicle and buys it from a trader dealing from home. It is good value and the buyer happily believes the story and hands over his cash. Two months later he is pulled over by the police and told that the vehicle has been reported as stolen by a finance company. He protests that he has done all his checks and that there is no finance listed against the car. The police inform him that the car has been used as security against a loan on the day he collected the car and, as a result, is now registered as a security alert on the security databases. Needless to say, where he bought it from was rented accommodation and the vendor is long gone with both his and many other people’s money.


                                     He Loses His Car And His Money!


On a more serious note, a buyer is drawn to a vehicle advertised cheaply. He contacts the vendor and agrees to buy the car over the phone based on the vendor’s description. The vendor asks him to pay in cash saying the he is selling cheaply to pay off a debt. They arrange to meet to finalise the deal. When the buyer arrives the vendor is there to greet him outside his alleged address, the car is nowhere to be seen. The buyer is told it is around the back in a garage / parking area. Nothing unusual or out of the ordinary. He is asked if he has the money; he says “yes”, tapping his pocket. The vendor leads him to a secluded area where the car is parked. The buyer sees the back of the car and suspects nothing, merely excited at the prospect of getting a bargain. As he approaches the car, three men appear from the car set about the buyer, rob him and leave him unconscious. Luckily a passer-by alerts the police and later it is found that the car was one of 7 stolen from a transporter, all of which had been used for the same type of scam.


                          Never Pay With Cash - If It’s Cheap, Be Cautious!


It pays to buy locally. You can check the dealer or vendor easily, you may know people who have dealt with them and their reputation will often precede them. If you have a problem, you don’t have to travel huge distances to get it solved and a dealer is likely to offer a full after-sales and warranty back-up. In some cases the vehicle may be a little more expensive, but what price do you put on your own safety and peace of mind?






Hallmark Cars have been serving the local community for over 20 years with genuine quality vehicles and would welcome the oppertunity to discuss any requirements or any part of the above information. The Internet is here to stay, in fact we rely on it heavily as we understand how our world and market place is evolving. Our focus is to give you, the consumer, the best possible sales and after sales experience and to continue to build on, an already strong foundation with the local area. When you are looking for your next vehicle, please give us the oppertunity to prove to you we can make a difference. Thank-you  for your attention.


Stephen Flint

Hallmark Sales

01234 360036

07860 461699



Help And Advice Enquiry