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

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