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Missing logbook? Give that used car a miss, says HPI

2nd October 2013 Print

Don’t part with any cash for a used vehicle without a logbook. That’s the message from HPI to car buyers. Used car information expert HPI has seen a rising number of customers fall prey to dodgy sellers passing on vehicles without a logbook, otherwise known as the V5C, leaving them vulnerable to a number of scams. HPI warns buyers that they must ensure the logbook is with the car before parting with any cash, otherwise the vehicle could be hiding a multitude of sins. Conducting a vehicle check, such as the HPI Check is the best way to be protected against any nasty surprises.
“We’ve seen a number of buyers going ahead with a vehicle purchase without having seen the logbook for the vehicle,” explains Phil Peace, Operations Director for HPI. “This is an enormous risk. Buyers who don’t see the logbook are missing vital information about the car, such as confirmation of the seller’s name and address.
“Logbooks are an integral part of verifying a car’s identity and ownership. If a seller claims to be waiting for one in the post, the buyer should wait until the seller has it before continuing. It might be frustrating to have to wait a little longer, but knowing the full details about a car is crucial – if it turns out to be stolen then they will lose the car and the money, so it pays to be patient.”
The HPI Check includes a mileage check against the National Mileage Register as standard, now with over 160 million mileage readings. HPI also confirms whether a vehicle is currently recorded as stolen with the police, has outstanding finance against it or has been written-off, making it the best way for consumers to protect themselves from fraudsters looking to make a fast profit. In addition, the HPI Check offers a £40,000* Guarantee in the event of the information it provides being inaccurate, offering added financial peace of mind to used car buyers.
Phil Peace concludes, “Whilst they are not proof of ownership, logbooks are key in the verification process of buying a vehicle.. If a logbook is not available without very good reason, buyers should avoid the risk and walk away. Always conduct an HPI Check to verify whether that dream purchase could be a nightmare on wheels with something to hide.”
HPI’s 5 top tips for buying a used vehicle
One - Location: If you’re buying privately, make sure you view it at the registered keeper’s address (as shown on the V5C/logbook).
Two – Provenance:  Always check the history of the car. One vital check the buyer can do is to find all the VIN/chassis numbers on the vehicle to make sure they match each other, and then use the HPI Check to ensure they tally with the registration number of the vehicle.
Three – Documents: Check the vehicle’s V5C/logbook. Stolen V5C documents are currently being used to accompany cloned vehicles but the HPI Check includes a unique stolen V5C document check as standard.  This will confirm whether or not the document is one that the DVLA have recorded as stolen. The vehicle should also be accompanied by a service history and MOT certificates if the vehicle is over 3 years old – make sure you see these too.
Four – Price:  Know the car’s market value. No genuine seller will want to lose money on their sale. If you are paying more than 30% below the retail market value, then be on your guard.
Five – Payment:  Don’t pay with a substantial amount of cash, particularly if the car is costing you more than £3,000. Some cloners will take a bankers draft as part payment, because the cash part is sufficient profit without ever cashing the bankers draft. Most crooks selling cloned cars would rather walk away from a sale than take a payment that could be traced back to them. Despite strong advice to buyers to pay via the banking system, HPI still hear of many buyers who go on to pay in cash and subsequently find out that the car is a clone, and that they’ve lost both their money and the vehicle. HPI plays an active role in working with ACPO’s Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service to help solve vehicle crime, and is the only vehicle provenance check provider to include clone cover within its guarantee. If the buyer follows HPI’s buying advice, this can provide up to £40,000 financial reimbursement in the event of the car not being everything it seems – including a clone.