1 in 4 cars we check has outstanding finance

Is that dream purchase going to leave you out of pocket and without a car? Don’t take the gamble…

You’ve found your dream car with a price tag that fits within your budget. Everything is looking good. But did you know that roughly a third of motor fraud cases are believed to involve customers selling their car without settling their finance agreement in full?

If you buy a car with finance still owing on it, the finance company is still the legal owner and can claim it back. This leaves, you, the unsuspecting buyer with the chance of being left with no car and seriously out of pocket.

Investing in an HPI Check could save you financial loss and heartbreak.

HPI Check Saves Andre from Making a Costly Mistake 

Andre Bemand, a train driver from Southport, knows the importance of an HPI Check, thanks to his mum’s sound advice. When searching for his first car, he found a BMW 7 series for sale for £5,000. Having scrimped and saved, he had his heart and his savings set on this car which he found in the classified ads.

Andre and his Dad went to view the car and everything looked good, but when he arrived home, his Mum urged him to check the car with HPI. The check revealed the car owner still owed £1,400. If Andre hadn’t followed his mother’s advice he could have ended up with a car on outstanding finance and lost the money and the car, if the legal owners, the finance company claimed it back.

“When I did the HPI Check and realised the history of the vehicle, I was very shocked,” says Andre. “I had to go to a lot of trouble to get it resolved before I bought the car. It was a lucky escape.”

We estimate that there are thousands of UK motorists innocently driving cars with the misconception they legitimately own their vehicle. Many of these people are unlikely to ever discover the truth as the finance agreement is eventually paid off by the previous vendor. However, as many as one in four do fall foul of what is still in reality - a fraud.

These ‘innocent fraudsters’ only realise the true situation when they either try to sell on the vehicle to someone who conducts an HPI Check which reveals the facts, or they write off the vehicle in an accident. An insurance company is duty bound to pay the finance company who technically still owns the car, not the person who had the accident in the car, who believes they own it.

Top Tips to Avoid Buying a Used Car on Outstanding Finance 

• Always conduct a vehicle history check BEFORE you buy – it will tell you if the car has outstanding finance against it and enables you to ensure that the finance agreement is concluded before you complete the purchase.

• If a car you are about to buy is on outstanding finance, raise two bank drafts, one in the name of the finance company for the outstanding amount of the loan and one for the seller for the remainder.

• The provision of a seller receipt or purchaser receipt will not stop a finance company trying to reclaim the vehicle from the buyer if the car later turns out to be on outstanding finance – so never accept one as proof the vehicle is clear of finance.

• If you unwittingly buy a car on outstanding finance and discover this to be the case afterwards, don’t delay – negotiate with the finance house that holds the car’s title.

Know the Risks

Investing in an HPI Check could save you financial loss and heartbreak by telling you the following: 

Outstanding Finance

1 in 4 vehicles checked by HPI are still subject to an outstanding finance agreement. Those who buy a car which is still on finance could have unwittingly bought a vehicle that is still owned by the finance company, who could claim it back at any time until the outstanding amount is settled.


HPI Checks identify more than 30 vehicles per day. Buying a stolen vehicle means you will lose the car and the money you paid for it, when it’s returned to the rightful owner.


Shiny paintwork might be hiding a vehicle that has been declared an insurance write-off. Whilst some of these can be repaired safely and returned to the road, others are only fit for scrap. The HPI Check not only identifies if a car has been written-off, but also which category of write-off, helping buyers make an informed decision about the purchase. 


1 in 20 vehicles checked by HPI have a mileage discrepancy. The HPI Check uses the National Mileage Register of more than 160million mileage readings, alerting car buyers and dealers to potential mileage discrepancies and helping them avoid paying too much for a used car that has more miles on the clock than it appears.

It’s never too late to check the finance status of your car.

Conduct a HPI Check today to discover the truth about your dream buy.

Visit the AutoExpress HPI Checker or call 0845 300 8905

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