THOUSANDS of car owners could be due an average refund of £2,600 from Axa, Joe Lycett's Got Your Back TV show on Channel 4 has found.
The insurance company has failed to record write offs on second hand vehicles, leading many customers to overpay.
Last year, roughly eight million used cars were sold in the UK, with an average price of £13,000.
But according to the consumer series, many of those vehicles sold were overvalued.
In association with vehicle checking website V Check, it looked at vehicles sold over a nine-month period last year.
It found that over 1,300 car buyers paid 20 per cent more than they should have as they didn't know the vehicle had been involved in a serious accident.
If a car is written off, it can be fixed up and sold but it's typically registered on the voluntary MIAFTR (Motor Insurance Anti-Fraud and Theft Register) database first.
But not all cars have been due to an IT problem, meaning the average new owner paid £2,600 too much for their new vehicle, said Got Your Back.
That means motorists may have overpaid by a collective £3.3million for second hand cars.
How to check if you're due a refund
IF you've bought a car that you didn't know had been in a serious accident, you may be owed thousands of pounds.
To find out if your car has previously been written off, you can check the history of your vehicle on the V Check website.
You’ll need to fill in your car registration number and complete a basic registration form.
You should then complete a salvage check, which costs £2.99.
Alternatively, if you knew Axa was the previous insurer, you can contact it by emailing [email protected] directly.
Although, by going down this route, you won't know if your car had been written off first.
If you decide to use the V Check website, you’ll most likely receive pictures and it’ll say whether it’s been written off previously.
Once you've found out, you can contact your insurer and ask for compensation.
Axa didn't want to specify whether it'll compensate as well as issue refunds, but it told The Sun: "Refunds will vary, depending on vehicle values and circumstances.
"What we can say for all cases is: where we made an error, we will rectify it."
Although this happens at several insurers, the show said Axa was responsible for over 30 per cent – three times as many as other providers – of all the vehicles found not to have been recorded.
It found more than 400 such cars during the period, but as the problem originates back to September 2017 at Axa, the number of vehicles is estimated to be in the thousands.
Axa, which said the issue stems from a previous IT bug, has now promised to compensate affected car owners.
A spokesperson told The Sun it had already fixed the problem and started logging missing cars into MIAFTR when Got Your Back contacted them.
It added: "An IT bug meant some of the written-off vehicles failed to be entered into the database.
"As soon as we became aware of this, we fixed the technical problem and started logging the missing cars into MIAFTR."
"For data protection reasons, we cannot contact the new owners of the cars that we used to insure.
"However, we encourage anyone who thinks their vehicle may be affected to contact our customer services.
"If the new owners have safety concerns, we can send an engineer to check their vehicle.
"And if they paid too much because their car wasn’t in the database, we will absolutely compensate for their shortfall."
In the episode, which airs at 8pm on Channel 4 tonight, Joe said: "I don’t want to overstate this – we reckon we’ve pulled off one of the biggest ever victories seen by a consumer show.
"Axa have agreed to pay out any customer who has paid too much for their car because of their MIAFTR muck up which means they could be paying out over £1million."
If you think you've been affected, find out how to check in the box above.
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