Shane Teskey from the HPI busts some myths about buying a used car
Taking advice from friends or tips from the wrong people can lead used car buyers to believe common misconceptions, warns HPI, the independent vehicle information provider. HPI offers its top myth-busters, separating fact from fiction, when it comes to buying a used car.
“No matter how many years go by, we still see many used car buyers falling for the same tricks or believing the same car buying myths, which can see them losing money on vehicles that looked like a bargain,” says Shane Teskey, Senior Consumer Services Manager of HPI. “We’ve taken the top used car buying myths and we’re blowing them wide open. Armed with our latest tips, consumers can avoid being duped by used car fraudsters and minimise the risk of throwing their money away on a bad set of wheels.”
Myth #1 –You’ve paid for it so you own it.
When you’ve paid the money and have the car and keys in your possession, you are the registered keeper, which makes you the legal owner of the car.
Myth-buster – Not necessarily. Registered keeper is NOT the same as legal owner. If the car is stolen or still on finance, it technically belongs to someone else (the original keeper, or the finance house). You might be the registered keeper, but you are not the legal owner and you stand to lose the car and the money you paid for it.
Myth #2 – It’s such a bargain; you’ll need to move fast!
A car is advertised at £12,000, but you know it should be worth around £15,000 – that’s a real bargain and you need to move fast to snap it up.
Myth-buster – Be suspicious. If you were the seller, would you knock the car down to a bargain price and make less than you could? There’s probably something fishy going on. It is very likely that the car is either mechanically very suspect or could even be stolen/cloned. Ask lots of questions, and if you’re still unsure, walk away.
Myth #3 – It’s illegal to sell a car that’s been written-off
A written-off car must be scrapped, and should never be on the road again.
Myth-buster – Wrong. Any vehicle that has been declared a total loss ( often referred to as “a write-off”) by an insurance company has been done so because the insurer believes it is not economical to repair the vehicle. This may be either because the repair itself outweighs the current value of the vehicle, or the cost of any replacement vehicle for the period would end up outweighing the value of the vehicle. When the vehicle is written off, it is placed into an industry recognised damage classification, depending on its condition. A or B category write-offs are vehicles which it is recommended should have been crushed and never returned to the road, Category C and D vehicles can be returned to the road, but buyers must be sure that they are roadworthy before they drive them.
Myth #4 – Buying at a ‘mutually convenient’ public location is safe
A seller wants to meet me halfway so I can view the car. We’ve arranged to meet at a motorway service station. Isn’t that kind of them?
Myth-buster – Buyer beware. This is a common ruse used by criminals selling stolen or cloned vehicles. If you’re buying privately, you should always view the car at the registered keeper’s address, as detailed on the V5. Never buy a car in a service station, a car park, a lay by or a pub car park (unless the seller is the Landlord!)!
Myth #5 – A spouse can sell a car on behalf of their wife / husband.
Myth-buster – when buying privately only buy a vehicle from the registered keeper otherwise it is technically classed as stolen as the partner has no legal right to sell the vehicle. Ask for ID and compare it to the V5 documentation. If there are discrepancies you’re not happy with, find another vehicle to buy.
Shane Teskey concludes, “One in 3 vehicles checked with HPI have a hidden history and fraudsters are coming up with new tricks all the time, helping them make a fast profit and leaving buyers severely out of profit. We urge consumers to use their head and always walk away if a deal feels too good to be true – it probably is.
“Before parting with any cash, consumers should conduct a proper vehicle check, such as the HPI Check. The HPI Check includes a mileage check against the National Mileage Register as standard, which holds 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 unscrupulous sellers. In addition, the HPI Check is the only check that comes with a £30,000 Guarantee, in the event of the information it provides being inaccurate, offering added financial peace of mind to used car buyers.”
20th January, 2014