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Car buyers at risk from outstanding finance

24th February 2012 Print

Last night’s BBC The One Show put the spotlight on a very real risk to car buyers - unwittingly buying a used car that is on outstanding finance.  If existing finance on a car hasn’t been paid off, the new owner could find themselves either losing the car, or having to pay for it twice.  And it’s a risk that could affect many used car buyers, with a shocking 1 in 4 cars checked by the UK’s vehicle data expert, HPI, having outstanding finance registered against them.   
The One Show presenter Lucy Seigle urged buyers to invest in a safety net in the form of an HPI Check report, which will uncover hidden truths, including outstanding finance.   She also stressed the importance of car buyers doing their own vehicle history check, rather than relying on one carried out by the seller, to ensure they would benefit from guarantees offered by vehicle data companies.
Kristian Welch, Consumer Director for HPI explains:  “If you buy a car which later turns out to have finance owing against it, you could well be liable.  That means you could stand to lose both the vehicle and the money you paid for it, if the finance company, which is the legal owner, wants it back.
“However, if you invest in an HPI Check report, it will confirm if the car still has outstanding finance against it or not, enabling you to buy with confidence.   And we back our service with the HPI Guarantee.  This provides up to £30,000 compensation to safeguard car buyers from being out of pocket and without a car, should our information be inaccurate or incomplete.  To qualify for the Guarantee the car buyer must buy the check themselves.  As The One Show report highlighted, it’s vital not to take someone else’s word for it.”
Not all vehicle data checks include finance data so buyers need to ensure they use a provider that does.  As the UK’s most comprehensive financial agreement database, HPI currently holds details of over 7 million live finance interests. 
With more vehicle information than any other used car data provider, HPI also confirms the vehicle description, whether it is currently recorded as stolen, been written-off by an insurance company, is subject to outstanding finance or has had a plate change.
In addition, a mileage check comes as standard, offering added peace of mind to used car buyers that a car has not been clocked.  HPI’s National Mileage Register (NMR) holds over 130 million mileage readings.  In 2011 HPI carried out over 10 million vehicle history checks, analysis of which revealed that 1 in 3 used cars have something to hide.
Kristian Welch concludes, “The threat of buying a car on outstanding finance is very real. But motorists don’t need to panic as long as they take the necessary precautions. The HPI Check report ensures buyers have all the information available to make an informed decision, and is backed by the HPI Guarantee for complete peace of mind.”
Avoid Buying a Car on Outstanding Finance with HPI’s Top Tips

Get it Checked: Conduct an HPI Check BEFORE you buy to confirm if a car has outstanding finance against it.  This in turn, allows you to ensure that if there is debt against it, the vendor pays it off before you complete the purchase.

Get Proof: Always ask questions about the car’s history when buying a vehicle and ensure you get proof that any finance agreement has been closed.

Don’t be Fooled: A seller or purchaser receipt does not offer the buyer legal protection if the car is later discovered to have outstanding finance – so do not accept one.

Don’t Ignore it: If you do buy a vehicle that turns out to be on finance, negotiate with the finance house straight away. Do not ignore it.