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One in three used car buyers have found previous owner’s data in the car

13 June 2024

A third (33%) of Carwow customers surveyed who have bought a used car have found personal data from the previous owner stored in the car’s infotainment system. That’s according to a new survey conducted by car-changing marketplace Carwow.

Over three quarters (83%) of those surveyed said they would expect the dealer to wipe personal data from the car, while just 17% would not expect dealers to do this.

Under current regulations, ‘personal data’ is any piece of information that would allow someone to be identified, such as a home address, email address or phone number.

The survey findings point to a potential future data privacy issue for dealers, says Gaurav Jain,  Commercial Director at Carwow. “It can be unclear whether responsibility to delete user information from a vehicle at change of ownership lies with the first owner, the manufacturer or with the dealer.

“Allocation of responsibility could be influenced by which of these entities might be considered the ‘controller’ of the data under GDPR laws.”

Carwow is calling for greater clarity from the ICO on the issue. “We’d advise all car sellers to remove any personal data from the car prior to handing over their car - including from any in-car apps. In addition, dealers should safeguard their own interests, as well as that of their customers, by taking reasonable steps to remove data themselves before handing over the keys to a new owner.”

Jonas Leupe 81Dqcycs8sq Unsplash