Dodgy car sales site shut downCar matching company lied about services

26 March 2008

A new car can cost much less abroad

A Barnet-based 'vehicle matching' company has been wound up in the High Court after an investigation found it was lying about its services.

Motor Help UK Ltd claimed to operate a 'vehicle matching' business, linking people selling their car with potential buyers.

The company targeted sellers who'd advertised a car in newspapers or magazines, or online. Its staff then cold-called sellers and persuaded them to spend £79 or £99 on the basis the company would find them a buyer.

Buyers

Motor Help UK, of Mill Hill, London, found buyers mainly by asking sellers if they were looking to buy another car, and by researching 'Wanted' adverts in newspapers, car magazines and websites. Potential buyers could also search the company's website and register online.

Its computer system matched potential sellers and buyers on the company's database, according to car details they'd given.

Enquiries

But at the winding up hearing, the court was told that the company lied about its service. 

It told sellers that it already had enquiries from buyers looking for the type of car the seller was offering; that it would make sellers' details available only to buyers who were local and could afford the asking price; that the company was able to arrange finance for buyers, which would result in the seller getting their fee refunded, and that it 'guaranteed' to market the car until it was sold.

But an investigation by the Insolvency Service found that the company didn't find out whether there were any matching buyers for the seller's type of car, and under half of sellers were matched with buyers. Staff didn't check how much money a buyer was prepared to pay or what they could afford, and the locations of buyers and sellers weren't considered in the matching criteria.

Motor Help UK didn't even arrange finance - so no-one got a refund of their fee, and sellers' vehicles weren't marketed until sold because the company had no record of any cars being sold as a result of its 'matching' process.