Buying a Car in Spain...Beware

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19 Nov 2011 12:00 AM by ob123 Star rating in Southern Ireland. 184 posts Send private message

Hi Everybody I bought a VW Passat car in Spain secondhand 7 Years ago, I decided to trade it in for a new VW Passat got a good price for it, I now realise that new cars in Spain are better value than secondhand cars. about a Week after trading in my car the Garage rang me to say plaese come in as we have a problem, when they plugged in the car to there computer the found out that my car was clocked there was 100,000 KM more on the clock I never new so the salesman said I had to pay another 1000 Euros because they had a blimish free record and had to disclose to the new buyer there was 190,000 KM instead of 90,000 KM in the clock, so I had to pay it, the guy in the garage told me that 90% of secondhand cars in Spain are clocked, if you do decide to buy a secondhand car in Spain make sure that the milage is put into the contract, but my advice to anyway is to buy a new car the first day and keep it for the duration of your time in Spain, has anyone else been in my situtation...

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19 Nov 2011 3:22 PM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5255 posts Send private message

I would have thought that could have happened anywhere so not so much a warning about Spain, just a  warning

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19 Nov 2011 3:30 PM by ob123 Star rating in Southern Ireland. 184 posts Send private message

I also have bought  cars in others countrys and I never had a problem like that, the Garage were calling the Police if I didn't pay up and I was totally innocent.......

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19 Nov 2011 4:38 PM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5255 posts Send private message

Perhaps the other cars you bought had not been 'clocked' so it never arose.

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19 Nov 2011 8:32 PM by ob123 Star rating in Southern Ireland. 184 posts Send private message

No the cars I bought were never clocked as I knew the owner but this time I got caught in A trap......

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20 Nov 2011 8:02 AM by guslopez Star rating in Lorca, Murcia.. 745 posts Send private message

Clocking is rife here in Spain, like the UK in the 70's.

You could have fought it by virtue of  the mileage  recorded at every ITV test. This would have shown in whose possession the vehicle was at the time it was clocked. If the vehicle was imported 2nd hand & started off with incorrect mileage that would  show up too.




Todos somos Lorca.

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20 Nov 2011 9:29 AM by ob123 Star rating in Southern Ireland. 184 posts Send private message

The car was imported from Germany I new that, now the garage where I bought the car in Torreivieja went out of buisness last Year, but I had proof the milage on the car was 55,000 KM so the garage new I was clean,as I had the contract I got when I bought the car, just as a matter of interest the price of the new Passat in Spain was 19,500 Euros here in Ireland the same car with the same spec 31,000 Euros amazing difference.......

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26 Nov 2011 11:36 AM by englisher Star rating. 22 posts Send private message

 Just to share thoughts we wre fed up 2 years ago with rent a wrecks at one trip we rejected 4 cars they were so bad so we decided to buy on a budget based on 2 years of hire cars.

It paid off having found a lhd in the uk and having a good drive to costa del sol. After 6 months we registered and ITV 'd the car.

We now have decided to upgrade and in a dilemma havong seen to much rubbish for sale second hand on the c del sol and prices are crazy over double the uk equivalent with no history. Seems that everyone have caught on and with the strength of the euro stocks of lhd in uk are low and prices are higher by 30 to 40% than the rhd equivalent. Thats not economic when you need to add cost to export.

back to a push bike or keep trusty old merc with 4 pedals and no handbrake!!


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26 Nov 2011 12:13 PM by ob123 Star rating in Southern Ireland. 184 posts Send private message

My advice to you is buy a new car in Spain they are very cheap there, is it the secondhand cars are a rip off. I bought a new VW Passat Diesel 1.6 with cruise control, climate, start stop function to save fuel 56 miles to the gallon, and a lot more extras as well a super car to drive, another new extras is when you stop on the side of a hill and brake the cat wont go back it has hill hold automatic handbrake as when when you take off the safety belt it comes on amazing car all for €19.500 in Ireland the same car is €31,000.......

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26 Nov 2011 1:47 PM by marialuz Star rating in la vizcaronda. 5 posts Send private message

Just a thought from an old hand - but one who has not been  in the trade.  I have seen adverts. in the English language Press here offering to clock cars, etc.  It is a serious crime in the EU and often is worthy of a jail sentence.  But then we see adverts and web-sites for EU driving licences for people who have been "unfairly banned" or who need an HGV licence, etc without taking a test.

The best way to check the mileage of a used car is by looking at the invoices from the main agents where it has been serviced as the mileages are written on them and on the car agency's computer system.  As already mentioned also if the car is over five years old (non -commercial) check the ITV report and if still not sure go to an ITV station with the Permiso de Circulacion and Tarjeta Tecnica where the record will be on their system.    There are also tell-tale signs when you study the vehicle but you need to be an expert to see those.  For example is the car an ex-taxi or driving-school car?

You can spend about 8 to 10 Euros and get a report from Trafico if it is a Spanish car and you will be supplied with a history report,  old owners etc.  It is far cheaper in the short run as you can end up paying for the "crime".  If the seller objects walk away as they know you are on the ball and will not be cheated.

Also buying a used car in Spain is OK (little or no rust)as long as you know what you are doing and have the skills to check the car (or use one of the motoring organisations here for a small fee.

My motto is trust nobody except perhaps regsitered main dealers for the make of car in question as they can be censored by the factory. 

Brian Deller, author of book, Motoring in Spain.

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26 Nov 2011 3:51 PM by ob123 Star rating in Southern Ireland. 184 posts Send private message

You are so right when you say trust nobody, they way the found out about my car was when I traded it in the put it on the computer in the main VW dealer and it showed they last service in Germany was 175,000 KM and there was 75,000 on the clock so the guys that imported it  clocked it as well, my advice buy a new car and keep it for 20 Years, and there is another advantage when you are going back to England or Ireland you can drive for a change,  I was afraid because the long journey it might break down,....

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26 Nov 2011 4:06 PM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5255 posts Send private message

As Maria said,  I am surprised that anyone would not be able to detect from general wear and tear that 100,000 Kms hade been taken off the speedo.
In my early 20's I used to pick up second hand cars for a car dealer.  He would ask me to generally assess the vehicles before accepting them and driving them back to his showroom.  It was pretty simple, or so I thought. (clutch, gearbox, steering, tyres, door hinges, suspension, paintwork chips etc all show sign of a cars age and use).
That said, I have had my present Toyota from new in 1997, 65,000 kms, two bateries, but `part from that not even a bulb,  and will keep it until it starts going wrong.

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26 Nov 2011 4:59 PM by foxbat Star rating in Granada. 1114 posts Send private message

foxbat´s avatar

Surely the point here is that  it's not your mistake, not your fault. The dealership screwed up...

The dealership at which you traded in your old VW agreed a price for your old car and this price should form part of their contract with you for the purchase of the new one. Clearly the dealer in question knew (since he subsequently stated) that quote...'that 90% of secondhand cars in Spain are clocked,'  this should have been one of the first things he checked before agreeing a price.

To come back to you a week after the purchase and say effectively  'Oops sorry we made a mistake; we need another 1000 bucks off you'  sounds to me at the least like breach of contract or possibly a 'let's get the expat' Scam. It's easy enough to rig a computer to add 100,000kms and then reset it.

As for their threat to call the police I think I would have been inclined to call their bluff especially if I had the original paperwork covering the purchase and subsequent ITV records.

One has to wonder what would have happened if you had taken the new vehicle back and threatened to cancel the whole deal.

Every time I read this thread it seems more and more like a scam....




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26 Nov 2011 5:07 PM by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5255 posts Send private message

If I sell you a fake painting, albeit I think it's genuine,  and a week later you discover it, are saying that’s your  problem ?    I don't think so..
I agree that if I genuinely did not know (at least in the UK) I would not be committing any offence,  but clearly you must have a come back on me.

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26 Nov 2011 5:14 PM by foxbat Star rating in Granada. 1114 posts Send private message

foxbat´s avatar


If you sold me a painting or an antique or anything expensive I would first check the provenance of the article being sold, long before I parted with any hard earned cash...

Caveat Emptor' works both ways.




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26 Nov 2011 5:21 PM by ob123 Star rating in Southern Ireland. 184 posts Send private message

I suppose you are right I am being treated badly by the dealer. I wonder what will I do next he said we will see your old car for whatever it makes and we will then split the difference  between us, you pay half and we loose that's where I am at the moment.......

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27 Nov 2011 7:37 AM by WatchManager Star rating. 25 posts Send private message

Interesting but you should have called the dealers bluff. Go back and cancel the new car. Go back to square one and get the past paperwork from Sain, Germany etc and you may find that whilst it may have been clocked it may be that instead of the milage being taken off it may have been 'virtually' added to get 1000 eu off you. Then again, an easier way would be for you to get your dealer to 'prove' that the car has been clocked. Tell him to put up or shut up. 

If he can do that then he can also show when it was clocked and where. Thats when he should call the police in, not to prosecute you but to prosecute the ones who have done it. I personally don't think it's been clocked. Get your car back and your money as the dealer is wanting to alter the original contract not you. If he doesn't then he is acknowledging that he is happy to accept the original contract but as he is obviously not happy he should jump at the chance to get rid of your car back to you or he should stand the loss as he knew the pitfalls of clocking. When you buy a car in the UK, it is up to the buyer to get an appraisal to ensure that the car is what it is. If you don't you have to then accept the consequences as the dealer should in this case . Having said all that you have to remember that you are in Spain and the costs of interpreters etc as all of a sudden everyone has a very poor understanding of English!.


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27 Nov 2011 10:25 AM by ob123 Star rating in Southern Ireland. 184 posts Send private message

First of all I suggested to the dealer to give back the new car and get my money back he said now you have over 1000 KM up on the car and I can't give you as much for it as it is no longer a new car, your idea there about proof of it being clocked is a good idea I will try that plan, it really is taking the good out of the new car, thanks for all your ideas.....

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27 Nov 2011 10:52 AM by elaineG Star rating in Spain . 409 posts Send private message

As you were foolish enough /unlucky / got caught holding the parcel / whatever,  to buy a car that had been clocked then I think you should suffer the consequences of that action. 
The garage were wiser.  
Tough, we all have to learn by our mistakes, that’s life, get over it.

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27 Nov 2011 11:31 AM by ob123 Star rating in Southern Ireland. 184 posts Send private message

The problem is I bought the car in good faith and have a contract to prove that the milage was 55,000 Km not 155,000, the garage said that if I could produce that document they would then take it up with the garage that I bought the car from, so I gave them the contract and they said the garage was now gone out of buisness and I was the one to be left with the problem, it is so wrong they are taking advantage of me, I done everything right I paid for the car in cash, the day I got it and owe them nothing, they are bad people...........


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