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Although finance fraud is believed to be on the decline, HPI has reported that buyers continue to be at risk from the threat of motorists who unlawfully dispose of their vehicles.
There is still a high amount of incidents whereby a vehicle owner will sell their vehicle before they have paid off the outstanding finance under a hire purchase or lease agreement. HPI is warning buyers to watch out for this kind of fraud before making a purchase, to prevent being at risk of losing their cash and the car they believe they own.
Shane Teskey, Senior Consumer Services Manager for www.hpicheck.com said: “When finances are squeezed, we have seen that people use the money raised from the sale of a car to address more pressing, short term, financial pressures and don’t pay off the car’s outstanding finance agreement itself.
“Roughly a third of motor fraud cases are believed to involve customers selling their car without settling their finance agreement in full. This is known as conversion fraud and really became common place as a result of the recession. Whilst the economic situation is improving, conversion fraud remains an issue. In some cases, customers are not aware that they are not the legal owners of their car and do not realise that selling it is fraud. The finance company remains the owner of a car until all outstanding finance has been paid. At this point, a lender will generally transfer legal ownership to the customer and he/she can then do what they want with the car.”
Trusted Dealers offers all of its buyers our very own 10 points of difference promise which guarantees that all of the cars we advertise on the website have benefited from a HPI or Experian check before hitting the forecourt. In this way, we can provide our customers with the peace of mind that the car they are buying has not been lost, stolen, involved in an accident or has any outstanding finance against it.
HPI believes that thousands of UK motorists are driving round in cars that they believe they legitimately own, with many people unlikely to ever discover the truth until they come to sell on the vehicle to someone who conducts a HPI check or they write off the vehicle in an accident. In the case of an accident, the insurance company are duty bound to pay the finance company who technically own the car, not the person who had the accident.
Teskey continues: “Our strong advice is to conduct a history check with a reputable service such as www.hpicheck.com. Never rely on a cheap history check as definitive proof of a vehicles history. Many do not include finance information or other ‘Walk-Away’ warnings that could cost you thousands in the long run.”