Used Cars Market: A Reality Check on First-Owner Claims

The used car market is where truth and deception can sometimes become blurred. One of the most common claims by sellers is that the used vehicle is being sold by its first owner. However, recent findings by Cebia, a company specializing in vehicle verification, show that this might not always be true.

A study by Cebia revealed that only 16 percent of used cars were sold by their first owners, even though half of the used vehicles on the market were advertised as such. The sellers are inflating the price by up to five percent, which equates to an additional nine thousand for a vehicle worth 300,000 crowns.

The used car market this year offers a greater variety than last year. According to Cebia, the number of cars available in dealerships has increased by 4.5 percent. There’s been an increase in vehicles of Czech origin, accounting for half of the offer, while imports are decreasing. Aures Holdings, the market leader that operates AAA Auto used car dealerships, expects to sell 100,000 used cars this year.

Hiding the actual number of owners of a used car is not difficult. “Just get a copy of the vehicle registration document, in which only the last owner is written,” warns Cebia’s director, Martin Pajer. “For a car imported from abroad, only the owner in the Czech Republic is usually mentioned,” he added.

Sellers use this strategy to discourage potential buyers from verifying the vehicle. If a car has only had one owner, buyers assume there are no risks. However, Pajer reminds us that many vehicles have been in severe accidents. By stating only one owner, sellers significantly reduce the chance that a buyer will discover the car’s actual condition.

Over 88,000 used and new cars are currently being offered on the most significant Czech online car marketplace, For 43,000 of them, sellers claim they are from the first owner. For more than 30,000 cars, the ads declare they are up to three years old. For 300 of them, it is stated that they have been in an accident and repaired, while 460 vehicles are offered with damage or after a crash.