Christmas is well known as the season of giving, and for a lucky few in the UK, Santa will be delivering their gift to the garage or driveway. But as generous loved ones play their role in the season of goodwill and look for that used car Christmas bargain, vehicle information expert HPI is warning them to avoid last-minute panic buying, and be on their guard from fraudsters ready to take advantage of the festive spirit.
Nicola Johnson, Consumer Services Manager at HPI says, “Whilst many people will be dreaming of owning a Ferrari or Porsche this Christmas, the reality is they probably won’t get one. But they may well get a good quality second hand car which they will love just as much as a sports car.
“However, for those buying a used car as a present this Christmas, we can’t stress enough the importance of conducting a history check before they part with their hard earned money. It’s fair to say that in the silly season many of us get carried away with the excitement of it all, and all too often make panic buying decisions because we are under pressure time-wise. But the risks involved when buying a used car are present all year round, so buyers need to remain cautious. The good news is these risks can very simply be avoided by carrying out an HPI Check.”
How to avoid the Christmas car criminal – HPI lists the top 4 risks to look out for:
- Outstanding Finance – This is the most common risk facing used car buyers with nearly 1 in 4 vehicles checked by HPI having outstanding finance. For many types of finance, the car actually belongs to the finance house until the debt is settled. If the loan remains unpaid or is defaulted on, the finance house could decide to reclaim the vehicle, meaning the buyer could lose the car as well as the money they paid for it.
- Stolen – HPI discovers around 30 stolen vehicles a day. Many are sold as ‘bargains’ to buyers, but if the police track the vehicle down, they will return the car to its rightful owner, leaving the buyer thousands of pounds out of pocket.
- Insurance Write Offs – Every year nearly half a million cars involved in accidents are declared by insurers to have been too badly damaged to ever be repaired safely and go back on the road. Some of these however still find their way back on to the road with 4 out of every 100 vehicles checked by HPI found to be written off.
- Clocking – 6 in every 100 vehicles checked by HPI have a mileage discrepancy. The HPI Check uses the National Mileage Register of more than 130 million mileage records, allowing them to alert car buyers and dealers to potential mileage discrepancies and helping to prevent them paying too much for a used car that has more miles on the clock than it appears.
“Although most people will no doubt be getting in to the festive spirit this Christmas, we urge consumers to keep their guard up against criminals trying to exploit the season of goodwill.” concludes Nicola Johnson.
To conduct an HPI Check: log on to www.hpicheck.com or call 0845 300 8905