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So when you're buying a car, what's one of the first things you check? Well, first you make sure it's got the requisite amount of wheels, an engine - and if you're really flash - brakes. Then, when you really get into it, you want to make sure it's got a full service history. This tells you that the previous owner or owners have taken good care of the car. A full, main dealer service history can increase the value of a used car by as much as 23%, according to research carried out by Kiwk Fit.
The document itself, typically emblazoned with manufacturer's logos and holograms, is a seal of approval, listing all the work and maintenance carried out on the car over its lifetime. For many, the service history (or lack thereof) is a deal breaker. There are two types of service history really; main dealer history and the other kind.
A main dealer history means that all work has been carried out by the main dealer or approved franchises, essentially guaranteeing that the work is of a certain standard. The other kind is just a list of jobs at independent garages, fine as a record but no guarantee of the standard of work carried out.
But beware, service histories might not be worth the paper they're written on. Imagine for a second that some unscrupulous sorts have got hold of official main dealer service history books and are flogging them on well-known online auction sites.
And it doesn't even need to be a legitimate service book. In May 2019, a Cornwall man was found guilty of fraud after he was caught selling counterfeit service books he'd created himself. The fakes were so convincing that Trading Standards were brought in to investigate.
Imagine that the next time you pay a premium for a car with a service history, that the document you take home and put somewhere safe was actually fabricated.
All it takes is a few blank service books to find their way out of the dealer shop and into the wrong hands... Because we don't want to promote this sort of thing, we're not going to link to them, but it's alarmingly easy to find vendors of hooky histories online. And because we don't want to invite legal action (or an angry visit from any of these vendors), we're not going to name names, but rest assured if you look hard enough and ask nicely enough, you'll be able to get pretty much any manufacturer's service history you want. So now we know that dodgy histories can be made and sold with relative ease, but how do you know whether yours is the real deal or not?