Avoid MOT Scams

A photo of the front of the MOT test station at Just MOTs of Milton Keynes

Make Sure You Don't Get Caught Out

Most MOT garages are honest and arn't out to scam or rip you off. Even if they do MOT repair work and it is therefore in their interest to fail your vehicle most won't resort to criminal behaviour in order to do so. However there are ones out there who will happily con you out of your money with scams ranging from mild deception to out right fraud.

MOT Scams

The following is a list of just some of the criminal practices that have been recorded in association with the MOT trade. If you are getting your car MOT'd or you are buying a car then check them out to ensure you are not caught out.

Unfair Failure

By far the most common deception is the practice of failing items on the test when they are perfectly ok.

It is very easy for a disreputable testing station to quickly replace a headlamp bulb with a non working one, or damage a wiper blade or change the adjustment of the headlights. An experienced mechanic can do these things in seconds.

More serious offenses include slitting CV gaiters, tampering with catalytic convertors and falsely reporting brake or emissions tests. If a testing station fits tyres then look out for mysteriously appearing cuts or damage to the side walls of tyres.

Do Kwik-Fit Con MOT Customers?

Kwik-Fit At It Again?

Not Performing the Test Properly (or at all)

Now we are dealing with outright criminality.

There are numerous examples of 'bargain' MOT testing stations charging incredibly low prices for MOTs and then not performing the test at all. In some cases the tests will be rushed, sometimes the car will go in and out of the garage without anything being done and it's not unknown for cars to pass the MOT without even moving into the garage.

You may ask why you would care as long as you get your pass but given that the MOT is concerned with ensuring your vehicle meets basic safety criteria you would be mad to not want it done properly.

In addition to the issue of your safety, if the garage is caught it may be that past certificates it has issued will be considered void in which case you could be unknowingly driving a vehicle whose insurance would be void. This, in turn, would be illegal and could result in points, and or a fine and even imprisonment.

Why take the chance?

MOT Fraud Couple Caught

Cameras Catch MOT Fraud

Fake Certificates

Possibly the worse of the MOT frauds is the issuing of fake 'certificates'.

In reality since the system changed (in 2011) you no longer receive a real certificate from the testing station. What you get is a piece of paper (a VT20 or VT30) that you can supposedly use as proof that the MOT has been done.

The problem is that this 'piece of paper' is just that. It is ridiculously easy to fake and anyone with a computer and  the most basic of work processing skills can do it.

The actual 'certificate' is now recorded online on a government website and you can check your vehicles status yourself. While this fraud is not that common in testing stations themselves it is something to be aware of when buying a car. Never trust the paper 'certificate' the owner provides you. Instead get the vehicles identification number, the test number from the VT20 (pass) or VT30 (fail) and use the government MOT checker to verify it is real.

Beware Fake MOT Certificates

What Can I Do To Avoid Being Ripped Off?

Use an 'MOT Only' testing station - Any testing station that only does the MOT and does not offer any kind of repair service has no incentive to rip you off by unfairly failing your vehicle and are therefore extremely unlikely to do so. After all there is nothing in it for them so why would they?

Do the Simple Checks Before You Take Your Vehicle For Its MOT

Performing the simple checks that anyone can do will reduce the chances of being ripped off considerably. The items that unscrupulous testing stations will attempt to con you on are for the most part the simplest items to check. Dodgy testing stations don't want to fail your vehicle on complex items that will take time and effort to fix as there is more incentive for you to search out a main dealer or specialist.

The crooks will mainly fail small items that are quick and easy to fix and that will only require parts available from the local auto factors. These items will take them minutes to fix and the parts will only cost a few quid but they will charge you a huge mark ups. Easy money!

How Can I Tell What's Going On?

All MOT Testing stations must have a viewing area. It's part of their license to operate that they have one. If you are unsure about the testing station and want to see what is going on with your vehicle then ask to be shown the viewing area. If they don't have one or make some excuse then leave!

How Do I Know They Did the Test?

As you no longer get an MOT certificate as proof of your vehicles MOT status (just an easily forged printout) the government has a website that allows you to check the MOT status of any vehicle. To check the MOT status of your vehicle or one you are considering buying then use the governments MOT Checker.