Cartell is an Irish vehicle checking company which commenced trading in 2006. It operates an online service to allow prospective vehicle purchasers to verify the history of a vehicle before purchasing. The checks available include details of finance problems, insurance write-offs, ownership history and whether a vehicle was formerly used as a taxi.
Cartell operates an online check system for both private and trade buyers. A free check will show the manufacturer and model of the vehicle when a Vehicle Registration Number is entered. Paid checks allow further information to be obtained for varying fees. Information available includes:
- Checks to identify vehicles written off by an insurance company using the Motor Insurance Anti-Fraud and Theft Register Ireland, an initiative begun by Cartell based on its experience with the UK equivalent
- Checks with lenders to identify outstanding finance issues involving the vehicle
- Mileage checks against the National Mileage Register, a database of Irish-registered vehicles established by Cartell
- Verification of Vehicle Identification Number and registration papers
- Number of previous owners and whether the previous registration was as a private or commercial vehicle
- Vehicle details, including body shape, number of doors, engine number and engine capacity
The firm has an agreement with HPI UK, a similar company based in the United Kingdom, to allow finance, ownership and insurance checks to be carried out on vehicles imported into Ireland from the UK. It also has access to the UK National Mileage Register.
Since 2002 the firm has been attempting to gain access to the Garda Síochána's vehicle theft records, to allow them to check if a vehicle has been previously reported as stolen.
In 2008 Cartell passed information to the Road Safety Authority about the issue of written-off cars from the UK being imported, repaired and registered for use in Ireland. The subsequent Irish Times article provoked an investigation by the Garda Siochána, Vehicle Registration Unit, Road Safety Authority and Revenue Commissioners. This resulted in a change to legislation requiring that from September 2010 all imported vehicles must be taken to a National Car Test Centre for inspection before being registered in Ireland.
In 2010 the firm's legal branch drafted a legislative proposal proposing outlawing the clocking of vehicle odometers, which was not illegal in Ireland at the time. The principal drafter of the Bill was barrister John P Byrne. It was presented to the Oireachtas by Cartell director Jeff Aherne and recommended by Tommy Broughan TD, who at the time was the Labour Party transport spokesman, but did not progress into law.
Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2012
Following the failure of their suggested vehicle clocking legislation in 2010 Cartell continued to press the bill, and in December 2012 it was presented again by Anthony Lawlor TD as the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2012. On 17 December the bill passed the first stage in the approval process. Meanwhile, Lawlor continued to press the government on the issue and managed to bring it to the attention of transport minister Leo Varadkar. As a result, on 15 January 2014 the content of Lawlor's bill was inserted as an amendment in the Road Traffic (No. 2) Bill 2013, creating a new criminal offence of interfering with the odometer of a mechanically propelled vehicle. The maximum penalty for the offence is a Class C fine (up to €2,500) or up to three months imprisonment. With this amendment in place Lawlor noted that Cartell had been responsible for bringing the issue to his attention, then withdrew his private member’s bill. The bill had its second reading on 21 January 2014 and on 25 February was enacted as the Road Traffic Act 2014. The new offence became law as Section 14 of the Act.
2013 Request for Release of Stolen Vehicle Information
On 17 July 2013 Cartell again called on the Garda to release details of stolen cars. Ireland is currently the only nation in the European Union where the police do not make details of stolen cars available to car check agencies or directly to the public. In all other EU member states this information is uploaded to Interpol, which allows instant checks to be made on any suspect vehicle. Currently any search done on an Irish-registered vehicle will not reveal if the vehicle has been reported stolen. Around 10,000 cars are stolen every year in Ireland and about 2,000 of these are never recovered. Currently buyers of used cars have no way to check against theft records, and hundreds of buyers a year lose an average of from €10,000 to €20,000 after buying stolen cars which are then discovered and returned to their original owner. The Garda claim that they cannot pass on the information because of data protection issues.
In 2010 Cartell became official sponsor for the Rally of the Lakes, agreeing to sponsor the event until at least 2013. In March 2014 Cartell's sponsorship of the event was extended for a further three years.
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- The Irish Independent, 19 July 2013, Pressure on Garda to pass on car theft data, retrieved 23 July 2013.
- Cartell.ie, About Us, retrieved 20 December 2012
- Rally of the Lakes official site