Beware of frauds in used-vehicle market – CMTA 

The Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA), an automotive association with a 100-year history raises its concerns over the heavily persistent fraudulent acts associated with Sri Lanka’s used-vehicle market. The association states that the vehicle customers fall prey to a number of frauds including odometer frauds, vehicles restored with counterfeit spare parts and vehicles with forged documents. Due to the ban of the brand new and reconditioned vehicles, the market value of used vehicles is on an unprecedented rise, giving vent to more and more fraudulent acts. 


“We are highly concerned at the moment  with the frauds associated with the used-vehicle market. We came across an instance where a car with an actual mileage of 150,000km has been later listed to be sold after rolling back the mileage to 40,000km. It is unfortunate that innocent buyers continue to be caught in such frauds, which leave their lives at risk. We are seriously concerned over the safety of the prospective buyers and also do not wish to see their hard earned money invested on vehicles that are not genuine,” noted CMTA Chairman Yasendra Amerasinghe. 


Odometer frauds are widespread at present. A customer always prefers to buy a vehicle with low mileage and what happens with this fraud is that they would not consider attending to get the necessary repairs considering the actual vehicle mileage which opens up to various safety concerns. 


Amerasinghe also emphasised how certain car dealers purchase damaged vehicles from auctions or vehicles with defects and repair them with non-genuine spare parts with the intention of selling. This also includes a risk for the buyer who is not aware of the actual condition of the vehicle. 


The CMTA points out another fraudulent act committed by non-authorised vehicle dealers. There are instances where vehicles are being sold with forged vehicle registration documents. Most sold under this category includes stolen vehicles, rented vehicles from car renting companies after processing forged documents. In this situation, both the actual owner of the vehicle and the buyer are being deceived. 


Having closely observed the current used-vehicle market and the frauds associated with it, the CMTA leaves buyers with the only viable option of buying a used vehicle from an authorised agent or from a well-known person/company to iron out the safety concerns and the hard earned cash wastage. 


“We highly encourage buyers looking forward to buying a used vehicle to avail the services of authorised vehicle agents who are always committed to serve their customers up front. As of now, all authorised agents engage in used vehicle selling which allows the customers to choose a vehicle from an agent they are familiar with. You can be rest assured that the authorised agent thoroughly inspects the vehicle and carries out the necessary refurbishments using genuine spare parts prior to handing it over to the customer. Authorised agents have the potential to carry out comprehensive vehicle testing as they are equipped with cutting edge technology and all other facilities,” added Amerasinghe. 

The CMTA highly recommends purchasing a vehicle only from an authorised agent for numerous reasons. The first being the assurance of genuine mileage followed with customers’ safety as authorised agents test the vehicle comprehensively before selling. Most agents continue to offer a warranty even for used vehicles resulting with a great relief to the buyer who does not know anything about the history of their purchase.