In 2017, experts at hpi identified 27,062 used cars for sale as being stolen, an average of 74 vehicles every day. On average, hpi checks flag more than half a million cars with outstanding finance – that’s one in every three vehicles checked.
Every day 1,771 are identified as insurance write-offs yet only half (51%) of used car buyers perform an online history check when making a purchase.
Vehicle history check expert hpi is warning motorists not to fall foul of scams and rip-offs when buying a used car.
Fernando Garcia, consumer director at hpi commented: “Buying a used car can be very stressful without the additional headache of whether or not the vendor is trying to rip you off. There are so many dangers and scams to be alert to, and used car buyers need to be made aware of the pitfalls and risks. For instance, it’s worrying that the process of ‘clocking’ costs UK motorists more than £800m every year yet only 54% of drivers have heard of this scam.
“Buyers could unwittingly end up with a car that is stolen, or subject to outstanding finance, it may have been clocked or it could have been involved in an insurance claim at some point. While it’s easy to be taken in by many of these common scams, it’s also easy to protect yourself by doing just a few key things before buying. It includes carrying out an hpi check which allows buyers always to get the fullest possible picture of the car they are about to buy before they part with their hard-earned money.”
The company’s hpi check data has identified that there is a one in three chance of uncovering a hidden problem, one in 16 vehicles has a mileage discrepancy and one in five cars has had a plate change.
The hpi check protects buyers against making a costly mistake by revealing whether a vehicle is currently recorded as stolen with the police, has outstanding finance against it, or has been written off. It also includes as standard, a mileage check against the National Mileage Register, which has records of over 200 million mileage readings.
Also, by following these four simple steps will also help prevent drivers being scammed in the majority of cases:
- Always pay with a banker’s draft, not cash. Criminals and scammers don’t like banker’s drafts as they’re traceable – cash isn’t.
- View the car at the address on its Registration Document (V5C) and check that the details on this piece of paper match those on the car.
- Don’t rely on just a mobile phone number to communicate with the seller. Get a landline number, although it’s still easy for a scammer to disappear once they’ve provided one of these.
- Ultimately, if you have any doubts about the vehicle or the seller whatsoever, walk away.
As well as offering free MOT history and valuation checks, hpi has also created a new online guide to car scams and motor fraud and advice on how to stay safe when buying a used car.