Is GDPR a looming used car headache?

  20 October 2019

Man in car service shop

I read an interesting observation from specialist online auctioneer Collecting Cars’ head of comms Ed Callow this week. The history of “hundreds of thousands” of cars, he predicts, will slowly be destroyed.

Why? GDPR.

Apparently, he says, some dealers are already “shredding or burning old invoices because they’ve got names or addresses on”. And with it, evidence of work carried out that forms a big part of the collectable cars’ provenance.

Retailers, says Callow, are “all getting different legal advice. Some are choosing the nuclear option and just binning everything.”

One Porsche main dealer told him it was unable to confirm if a car had received new brake discs “because of GDPR”. He called it the path of least resistance: “Why risk having a legal issue when you can just get rid of documents and hide behind the broad veil of GDPR.”

Callow, it has to be said, disagrees with this route. So too did other commentators on his tweet. One said they had already raised it with the Information Commissioners Office, and were assured it should not be a problem because “there is a legitimate interest in the history of the car”.

But is it really an issue? Are you taking steps to filter out old invoices in the service records of used cars? If you specialise in collectable cars, are you now thinking twice about handing over folders full of old receipts and invoices?

When so much value of rare and collectible cars is realised from the detail contained in its provenance, this could be a worrying trend that may lead to future values being harmed. But the questions it raises for all retailers also need to be considered.

As one respondent said, there is a risk that GDPR becomes ‘the new health and safety’, used as a cover-all clause to justify blunt decisions. When profits are at stake, this is one area in which retailers need proper guidance. Mitigating GDPR risks is one thing but, once shredded, the provenance of a priceless car is gone for good…

imageTags: GDPR, used cars

Start your free 14 day trial

Get free access to our Bulletin, Agenda & Profit for 14 days.

After 14 days we will auto bill your credit or debit card unless the order is cancelled.

    As an auto retail executive you need insightful and unique industry intelligence to boost your business potential. Here’s a taste of what Auto Retail Network has to offer:

    • Get informed and boost your business potential
    • More than 1,200 fellow executives have joined us
      since launch
    • Independent, carefully crafted, unique content relevant to you and your business
    • Develop a greater awareness of market trends and opportunities
    • Access to a wide range of materials whenever, wherever and however you want it
    • Significant discounts on ARN events, reports and
      other publications