Beware of vehicles with outstanding finance
If hire purchase (or similar credit) is used to buy a car, the finance company remains the legal owner of the vehicle until the money is repaid in full.
If you buy a vehicle with outstanding finance (i.e. with money still owing), the finance company may track down the vehicle and repossess it.
Proving you're an innocent purchaser
You will be able to keep it only if you can prove you're what the law calls an ”innocent purchaser“ - someone who didn't know of the outstanding finance.
Proving this to the finance company will be difficult, and you may have to go to court to do so. If you should have had any suspicions about the sale - perhaps because the price was too good to be true - the court will rule you are not an innocent purchaser and you'll forfeit the vehicle.
You would then have to sue the seller of the car to reclaim your money - if you can find them, and if they still have any money.
AutoCheck can tell you whether a car has outstanding finance registered against it - and half of new cars are bought on finance.
What to do if there is outstanding finance
Ask the seller of the car to obtain a settlement figure from the finance company - this is how much you need to pay the finance company for it to give up its interest in the car. It will not give you this figure as it is considered to be personal information covered by data protection laws.
When the seller gives you the figure, confirm it with the finance company.
You should then buy the car, withholding the settlement figure. Then pay this amount directly to the finance company.
If the settlement figure is greater than the asking price, you and the vendor should pay the finance company together. The best idea is to go to the bank together. Both you and the seller should hand over bankers' drafts in the finance company's name. Ask a bank employee to witness the seller handing over the keys.
The finance company should automatically contact Experian to remove the 'finance outstanding' marker about the vehicle.
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Help and advice
Some relevant frequently asked questions
When does the 60 days start? When I register, purchase or when I check the first vehicle?
The 60 days start from the date of purchase of the AutoCheck.
Can you buy a check over the phone?
This service is an online service only, so we are unable to carry out a check over the phone.
When do I get my check?
You report appears as soon as you have successfully made your purchase. The results are instant.
How much does the data check insurance cost?
There is no extra charge for the data insurance, it is included in the cost of your check.
View a sample report
Here you can see an example report of an AutoCheck.
This will show you how your report will be presented to you once purchased.