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And what about unrecorded salvage?

unrecorded salvage
Misclassificaton is bad enough but no classification is wide open to abuse.
Regulars to atfPro will be more than aware of our dual concerns for the insurance industry’s attitude to the categorisation of salvage coupled to the lackadaisical attitudes of DVLA but an even bigger concern has raised its head - unrecorded salvage.

What is unrecorded salvage? Simply, damaged vehicles which come to market with no ‘classification’ and hence, no record of any damage. How does this happen? Again it’s simple, the insurance company or self insured fleet operator chooses to ignore and not sign up to the insurance industry’s code of practice (CoP on salvage).

We have no idea how big this problem is as there is no statistical information available to say how many insurance companies or self insured fleets sign up to the CoP, or more significantly, how many don’t. What we do know just by looking at auction sites is that this is a substantial number of vehicles which have no record of any damage whatsoever.

These vehicles completely bypass MIAFTR (the Motor Industry Fraud and Theft Register) and the VIC test so as far as anyone is concerned there is absolutely no record of these vehicles’ histories.

Why should we be concerned? These vehicles are our livelihood and it’s important that their values should be based on an honest return rather than a dishonest one. Mis-categorisation is bad enough but I am sure you can appreciate that a vehicle which is not hindered with any past ‘stigma’ of substantial damage is highly desirable from a resale perspective - no matter what the damage.

This again leads to the common problems:
  • Poor repair to justify the purchase price and ensure a profit.
  • Vehicle theft to cover required repair parts.
  • Cloning and identity theft.
  • Exporting.
Apart from the dangers of these vehicles going back on the road, having been repaired by anyone whether they know what they are doing or not, or being the focus of illegal activity, these vehicles should be accounted for and processed by licenced operators. What we have is a system of sell to the highest bidder and let’s make it as tempting and easy as possible for criminal elements to profit - I have even heard reports (although we have not confirmed them yet) of police forces who use this method of selling damaged vehicles - what is going on?

This is not sour grapes. It is not that we want cheaper vehicles so we can make greater profits. It’s about an ‘unsafe to repair’ vehicle being sold as ‘safe to repair’. It’s about a heavily damaged vehicle that should only be stripped for parts being sold to anyone, for any reason. It’s about a vehicle that has minimum parts value (which should reflect in its value), being sold for a price that can only ensure poor repair or illegal practice.

There is a solution to all this and it is a compulsory CoP with teeth. I am not a fan of legislation but they have tried the decent way and relied on the integrity of the insurance companies and self insured operators but it appears that integrity is a word they don’t recognise. I think the time has come for the government to find some backbone and clean up this sorry situation.

February 2014

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