Re-birthed vehicles

Another ‘Fatal Gap’ in the system is how illegal operators continuously flout the law and deceive innocent people of their hard earned cash whilst compromising their personal motoring safety.

A very large flourishing and lucrative black market cash economy exists in ‘backyard’ panel shops called ‘Re-Birthing’. This is where dubious operators legally purchase vehicles classified as repairable write-offs from auction, then steal an identical make and model and coloured vehicle. Identification numbers are swapped from the legally purchased repairable write-off wreck and affixed to the stolen car. The vehicle is later passed for registration through the government registration system usually by corrupt transport department employees then sold for cash to private unsuspecting buyers.

Some rebirthed vehicles require collision repairs, however the collision repair practices of the backyard repairer are not dissimilar to that of the insurance company / commercial smash repairer scenario. The backyard operator wanting to repair the vehicle for the least possible cost also cuts corners on quality and safety to maximise profits when the vehicle is sold.

‘Re-birth’ repairers generally only have the minimum of equipment and tools to undertake heavy repairs. Understandably the standard of safety and quality of re-birthed vehicles cannot come close to match, having better and more efficient equipment (although not specialised equipment) the lowest standard or quality that a commercial smash repair shop can produce.

Re-birth operators generally have a total disregard for correct roadworthy compliances and alarmingly have cultivated government motor transport personnel who are prepared to ‘sneak’ a non-compliant vehicle through the vehicle inspection process in exchange for ‘cash favours’. 

Vehicle theft, including theft for re-birthing, costs the Australian community approximately $500 million each year. The media have recently broadcast that over two thousand (2000) unsuspecting private buyers have purchased re-birthed vehicles in Victoria which since have been confiscated by the police. All buyers have consequently lost the vehicle and their purchase monies.

There are enormous concerns at the highest levels by security authorities in this country over the activities of re-birth operators. Authorities have identified organised crime syndicates involved in re-birthing and other criminal activities which impact on the community, including money laundering, firearms and drug trafficking and violence. Also identified have been ethnic extremist cultures that have successfully channelled cash proceeds into potentially harmful ‘un-Australian’ activities.

Be Aware:

While a licensed motor vehicle dealer must guarantee clear title, no such protection is available when buying a car privately. The Australian Crime Commission advises to be aware and you can reduce the risk from buying a re-birthed vehicle by following these simple steps:

»     Beware if the purchase price seems too good to be true particularly in relation to the vehicles age, kilometers traveled and condition.
»     Ensure the seller of the vehicle is the owner. Check personal identification against registration papers.
»     Be wary if the seller meets you outside a house and doesn't’t go in, or wants to meet you somewhere other than a private residence.
»     Check if the vehicle has been recently registered and if so, check the reasons why.
»     Check the service history and logbook of the vehicle is consistently with the kilometers it has traveled.
»     Look for signs of tampering, welding or repainting around the vehicles identification numbers
»     Obtain an IVIC ‘Structural Tolerance report’ on the vehicle to establish the crashworthiness of the vehicle.
A more improved method of detecting non crashworthy and re-birthed vehicles and to eliminate rogue transport department inspectors and their agents needs to be implemented immediately. The IVIC ‘Structural Tolerance Report’ will greatly assist in this regard.

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