Handing back the keys

Credit crunched Brits are not just considering their mortgage re-negotiations, some have found that their car is no longer economically viable.

This has left used car buyers at much greater risk when buying cars privately – they could find that there is outstanding finance associated with their vehicle.

Nick Lindsay, director of HPI, explains: "A vehicle on hire purchase or a lease agreement still technically belongs to the lender, and if that loan remains unpaid when an unwary consumer buys the car from the person who took out the loan, the lender has every right to take ownership of it.

"This obviously leaves the buyer substantially out of pocket. We are urging car buyers to be more cautious when purchasing a used vehicle."

HPI checks have found that 43 in every 100 vehicles have a query against outstanding finance, odometer readings not checking, number plates not tying in with engine VINs or even one in 100 which is "cloned" using another vehicle’s details.

As ever, caution is urged when a seller is offering a ‘bargain’ price, since all may not be as it seems.


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