RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Don’t be a fool this April

30th March 2011 Print

With April Fools Day just round the corner, most people will be looking out for salt in the sugar, whoopee cushions on their chair and other such pranks. However unfortunately, not all tomfoolery is quite so harmless. With 1 in 3 vehicles checked with HPI having a hidden history, the vehicle information expert is using April Fools Day as a reminder to consumers that fraudsters will play more than just cheap tricks when selling a used car.

Nicola Johnson, Consumer Services Manager for HPI, comments, “Whilst this is traditionally a day for light-hearted fun, the dangers of buying a used car are no laughing matter. Buyers can be left with a lot more than egg on their face should they purchase a car with a hidden history.”

The HPI Check is designed to help consumers dodge some of the dangerous tricks played by car criminals:

Outstanding Finance

1 in 4 vehicles checked by HPI are still subject to an outstanding finance agreement. Those who buy a car which is still on finance have unwittingly bought a vehicle that is still owned by the finance company, who could claim it back at any time until the outstanding amount is settled. Knowing about the outstanding debt before you purchase the vehicle can give you the opportunity to settle the finance and get the debt removed before you proceed.  Not all history checks can provide information about outstanding finance, but the HPI Check can, providing you with full peace of mind before you buy.


The classic ‘sleight of hand’ trick is the criminal trying to sell on a stolen vehicle. Every day hundreds of vehicles are stolen across the UK, and it can be hard to spot one just by simply looking at it, leaving buyers in an unprotected position. Unfortunately, anyone who buys a stolen vehicle is likely to lose both the vehicle and their money as it belongs to the owner. Increasingly, criminals are getting more sophisticated with their cons, resorting to ‘cloning’ cars, where they disguise the identity of a stolen vehicle with that of a legitimate one using fake documentation. As well as informing the purchaser if a vehicle has been recorded as stolen by the Police, the HPI Check is the only history check that comes with clone cover as part of its guarantee*, and includes a stolen V5C document check as standard.


Another hoax to be on the look-out for is the write-off disguised as a perfectly normal vehicle. The car may look shiny and new, but the paintwork might be hiding a veritable Pandora’s box of damage and poor repair. Whilst some of these damaged vehicles can be repaired safely and returned to the road, others are only fit for scrap. The HPI Check not only identifies if a car has been written-off, but also which category of write-off, helping buyers make an informed decision about the purchase.


Clocking a vehicle to alter its mileage has never been easier for criminals, and is yet another way for dodgy sellers to try and trick unsuspecting buyers into paying over the odds on a vehicle. Simply winding back the odometer can add hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds to the vehicle’s asking price. The HPI Check will check a vehicle’s mileage against the National Mileage Register, which contains over 135 million mileage records and will inform a buyer if there is a mileage discrepancy.

“Buying a used car is always a minefield, no matter what day of the year it is. However, by performing an HPI Check, used car buyers can ensure they have the best possible protection against fraudsters – and make them look like the April fool.“