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A new, Real or Rogue? safe car buying guide has been launched this week, pioneered by one of the UK’s leading used car websites and supported by the Metropolitan Police and consumer motoring champion Quentin Willson after shock new research revealed UK motorists could be losing up to £88.4 million* every year as a result of buying illegal cars. has launched the guide after commissioning research which revealed over half of all car buyers are taking risks trying to save money during the credit crunch.

Some 1,642 drivers were questioned on their buying habits and over half of all car owners (55 per cent) said they’ve reduced their budget due to the recession, with one in four (28 per cent) willing to buy from an unknown private seller and one in ten (10 per cent) prepared to opt for a car without service history - if the price is right. Two per cent said they would even pay for a vehicle over the phone without having seen it to save cash.

More worryingly the survey also revealed that 60 per cent of drivers don’t know how to check a car is safe and legal with 50 per cent at a loss when it comes to log books, 48 per cent in a muddle over mileage checks and 61 per cent in a spin over the VIN.

Some 160,000 cars a year are stolen in England and Wales and of these almost half were unrecovered, with19,000 later offered for sale.**

Available from and with crime prevention advice from the Metropolitan Police’s Vehicle Crime Unit, the Real or Rogue? video guide tells buyers everything they need know to sort the duds from the diamonds, including how to check the history of a car, the questions to ask when buying, things to look out for on the vehicle itself and safe payment methods.

Quentin Willson, one of the UK’s leading consumer motoring authorities said: “Consumers need a simple clear guide to protect themselves from growing levels of car fraud. Because of the current state of the economy used car prices have hit record lows and there are some fantastic bargains to be had from legitimate sellers. But the current financial climate means buyers are cutting corners and too many aren’t bothering to do the essential checks. If a deal looks too good to be true it usually is and taking silly risks could cost you thousands.”

Katie Armitage from added: “There are around seven million used cars bought and sold every year at an average cost of five thousand pounds. If your new car is found to be illegal you lose this money outright without hope of redress. Our research has found that because of the credit crunch more people are taking risks and so more are prone to being caught out. That’s why this guide – along with our free history check service - is so important.” – now visited by over 2.9 million car buyers every month across its network - is the only UK website to history check the cars listed for sale to ensure they aren’t stolen or a previous insurance write-off.

The top 5 tips when buying a used car are:

1. If you don’t trust the seller you can’t trust the car
2. Check the car’s VIN number against the logbook
3. Always pay at the seller’s address and never anywhere anonymous
4. Always take a friend with you to keep you safe and act as a second pair of eyes
5. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, even if you can’t quite say what, walk away

For a copy of the free buyer’s guide go to


Notes To Editors:

• * & ** In 2007/8 (the last published report), there were 159,847 offences of theft/unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle recorded by police in England and Wales. (Source: Crime in England and Wales 2007/8.)The British Crime Survey has estimated that forty-seven percent of stolen cars and light vans were not recovered. An estimated 25% of non-recovered vehicles were given new identities and sold on according to the Home Office’s Motor Salvage Regulation Task Group – equating to 18,782 cars. The average value of a used car is £4,711.00 (British Car Auctions – December ’08 Report) equating to around £88.4 million of stolen cars being sold every year.

• Quentin Willson is one of Britain’s best known motoring authorities. He spent over a decade presenting Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson and was largely responsible for bringing the price of new cars in the UK down to the same level as the rest of Europe.

• Featuring nearly 200,000 used cars for sale from car retailers and private sellers across the UK and provides free history checks, advice and guidance covering every part of the car buying process to help motorists make informed choices about their next car.

• The network, which launched in January 2007 and includes Yahoo! Cars, Desperate Seller, The Independent,, and The Sun among others, is now visited by over 2.9 million car buyers every month.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Acceleris Marketing Communications in the following categories: Men's Interest, Motoring, Transport & Logistics, for more information visit