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Frequently Asked Questions

Purchasing an Experian AutoCheck

Why do I need an Experian AutoCheck?

Buying a used vehicle can be a risky business. We see 1 in 3 vehicles checked have some sort of hidden history and unfortunately it is impossible to tell just by looking at the vehicle. An Experian AutoCheck will provide you with vital information about the history of any vehicle you may be thinking about buying – including whether it has been written off, has outstanding finance or is currently listed as stolen - and help you verify the information the seller has given to you. It is quick and easy to purchase an Experian AutoCheck and will help make sure you buy a car you'll love.

How much does an Experian AutoCheck cost?

You can check one vehicle for £4.99 with a single Experian AutoCheck or up to 5 vehicles for £9.99 with a multicheck. This compares favourably with the likes of the AA, the RAC & HPI.

I have purchased a multiple Experian AutoCheck and I haven't used all 5 of them; why am I not able to do any more checks?

A multiple Experian AutoCheck has a 60-day time limit from the date you made the purchase; check when you purchased your Experian AutoCheck to see if the remaining checks have expired.

When does the 60 days' time limit to use the Experian AutoChecks start?

The 60 days start from the date the Experian AutoCheck is purchased.

If I purchase a multiple Experian AutoCheck and I do not need to use them all am I able to receive a refund?

No, a multiple Experian AutoCheck allows you to check up to 5 vehicles. Any Experian AutoChecks that are unused are non-refundable. You do however have the right to cancel and get a refund as per our 'Cancellation and Refunds' page.

Can you purchase an Experian AutoCheck over the telephone?

No, vehicles can only be checked online with Experian AutoCheck.

Is this an HPI check?

No, HPI are one example of a provider of car history checks and Experian AutoCheck is an alternative provider. An Experian AutoCheck utilises data from multiple sources including the DVLA, the Police National Computer, the SMMT as well as Finance and Insurance companies (via MIAFTR). At £4.99 for a single check we believe that our product offers a comprehensive report at a great price.

When and how will I get my Experian AutoCheck report?

The Experian AutoCheck report is delivered to you immediately on screen after you buy it. You will also receive an email containing a link to access your report. You should keep this email for future reference as you will need the reference number to update your Experian AutoCheck.

Do I need to create an account to be able to buy an Experian AutoCheck?

You can purchase an Experian AutoCheck as a guest without needing to register or create an account – this is great if you struggle to remember all those passwords or need to check the vehicle quickly before you make a decision. If, however you want to revisit your report, carry out more checks or register for the Experian AutoCheck Data Guarantee you can still create a secure account controlled by email, password and memorable word.

Will an Experian AutoCheck tell me whether I should buy the vehicle or not?

No, unfortunately not. An Experian AutoCheck will help you understand the vehicle's history and allow you to have informed conversations with the seller. We will not be able to tell you whether the vehicle is mechanically sound or whether it will suit your requirements. We recommend that you read our Top 10 tips to buying a used car guide to help you buy your next car.

Who are Experian?

Experian is the world's leading information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients all over the globe. What this essentially means is that we help businesses to manage the risks concerned with giving credit, prevent fraud, build targeted marketing offers for their customers, and automate their decision-making processes.

We also help individuals to manage their credit via our Experian CreditExpert service. CreditExpert promotes better financial health among consumers by giving them the tools and advice they need to understand, manage and protect their personal information. That way they can gain more control over the financial aspects of their lives, and make the best financial and purchasing decisions for their circumstances.

Here are a few facts about us

  • Experian Plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index.
  • Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2016, was US$4.6 billion.
  • Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 37 countries.
  • Our corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, and we have operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.
  • In 2016, for the third year running, we were named one of the "World's Most Innovative Companies" by Forbes magazine.

More details can be found at Experian.co.uk

Experian AutoCheck Data

What does an Experian AutoCheck include?

Before you purchase an Experian AutoCheck we will confirm the make, model, colour and month and year of registration of the vehicle you are interested in. This means you can purchase an Experian AutoCheck confident in the knowledge that you are checking the right vehicle.

Details of what a full Experian AutoCheck will confirm can be found on our useful information page and our Sample Report shows how we will present those details to you.

Your Experian AutoCheck will not provide:

  • The name or address of the current or previous registered keepers of the vehicle as this information is held by the DVLA and data protected.
  • Details of where a vehicle has been registered as stolen but subsequently recovered.
  • Information on every accident the vehicle has been involved in. We only identify accident damage if the accident has been registered as a write off by an Insurance company.
  • Any details of the vehicle's mechanical and service history or its physical condition.
  • The roadworthiness or safety of any vehicle.
  • Whether any vehicle is a "clone" bearing a false vehicle registration mark and vehicle identification number, or whether any vehicle was originally purchased and/or imported from another European Union country other than the UK.

Where do you get the data for an Experian AutoCheck report?

Experian AutoCheck utilise data from multiple sources including the DVLA, the Police National Computer, the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders) as well as Finance and Insurance companies (via MIAFTR).

Why do vehicles have plate changes?

Owners can put their own 'cherished' or personal plate on a vehicle and this process is known as a plate change. When the owner removes the cherished plate the age-related plate will return to the vehicle. Further details on age-related plates can be found on our Registration Plate guide.

Why do Experian AutoCheck have no record of the vehicle I am trying to check?

We would recommend that you initially contact the seller of the vehicle to ensure that the registration number (VRM) you are trying to check is correct. If the registration number you are trying is correct, then it is likely that we do not have a record of this vehicle on our database. This may be because the vehicle has recently had a plate change. If this is the case, we recommend contacting the seller to obtain the previous plate and carry out an Experian AutoCheck on this registration number as it may take a little while for the plate change to become effective.

Can I get an Experian AutoCheck report for a non-UK registered vehicle?

No, we are only able to report on vehicles registered with the DVLA.

What is a VIN?

A VIN (vehicle identification number) is a unique number given to every vehicle manufactured. A VIN usually consists of 17 letters and numbers. A VRM can be changed and may appear on different vehicles over a period of time as described in 'Why do vehicles have plate changes?', but the VIN will remain with the vehicle for its lifetime.

Can you supply me with the VIN for a vehicle?

We are unable to give the VIN out for security reasons and to minimise the risk of vehicle cloning. You should get the VIN from the vehicle itself, check it against the V5C and then input it into your report on the Experian AutoCheck site.

I have input the VIN and Experian AutoCheck says it doesn't match, what should I do?

You should go back and double check the VIN on both vehicle and the logbook. If they do not match do not purchase the vehicle. If the VIN on the vehicle and the V5 do match then contact us and we will look into this for you. A VIN will never include the letters O or I, they are always shown as the numbers zero or one.

What if the Experian AutoCheck report gives different vehicle specification details to those quoted by the seller?

If the V5C and the vehicle match, but the details shown in your Experian AutoCheck report does not, please contact Service Support. If the V5C and AutoCheck report match, but the vehicle is not as described - the owner should contact the DVLA for help and advice.

The transmission shown on the Experian AutoCheck report is incorrect, what should I do?

We receive the transmission from the manufacturer directly when the vehicle is first registered with the DVLA. We therefore suggest that you get in touch with your local dealership to confirm what the correct transmission should be.

What is Unit Stocking?

Unit Stocking is a motor dealer's finance agreement so this is not usually anything to worry about. If Unit Stocking shows on your report, talk to the dealer and ask for confirmation of their liability in writing if you have any concerns.

Should I Buy a Written-Off Vehicle?

Before you buy a written-off vehicle you should consider the following:

  • Have you told your insurance company about it? If you don't they may refuse a claim. It may not affect the premium you pay, but could reduce the amount paid out in the event of a claim.
  • It's advisable to have a mechanical inspection carried out to ensure it has been repaired to a high standard - an MOT certificate is not sufficient.
  • The market value will have been reduced considerably by the write-off - don't pay full price for it.
  • You may have some difficulty selling the vehicle in the future. Dealers often won't accept them in part exchange and the market for it will be limited. A potential buyer will also have the same concerns in the future as you do now.

An explanation of the categories of write-off is listed below:

Category Description
A This vehicle has been declared unsuitable or beyond repair and has been identified to be crushed in its entirety.
B This vehicle has been declared unsuitable or beyond repair. Usable parts can be recycled.
C An extensively damaged vehicle which the insurer has decided not to repair, but which could be repaired and returned to the road.
D A damaged vehicle which the insurer has decided not to repair, but which could be repaired and returned to the road.
F A vehicle damaged by fire, which the insurer has decided not to repair.
S This vehicle has been deemed a repairable vehicle which has sustained damage to any part of the structural frame or chassis and the insurer / self-insured owner has decided not to repair the vehicle.
N This vehicle has been deemed a repairable vehicle which has not sustained damage to the structural frame or chassis and the insurer / self-insured owner has decided not to repair the vehicle.

Will an Experian AutoCheck show previous accident damage?

An Experian AutoCheck will only show accident damage if the vehicle has been subject to a write off claim through an insurance company. There will be no record if the vehicle has been damaged but repaired by the owner or the insurance company.

If a vehicle has been written off; can an Experian AutoCheck tell me the exact area of damage?

Insurance companies only tell us the category of write off which gives us an indication of the severity of the damage. If you require further information regarding the write off damage, we suggest arranging a mechanical inspection of the vehicle.

Does the vehicle belong to someone else?

1 in 6 vehicles checked on Experian AutoCheck have outstanding finance. If you purchase a vehicle that has outstanding finance and the seller doesn't settle the agreement, there is a risk that the vehicle will be repossessed by the finance company and you will lose the vehicle and the money you paid for it. The person selling the car may be the registered keeper but that does not make them the owner of the vehicle and this will remain until the loan agreement has been settled. If your Experian AutoCheck confirms the vehicle you are considering buying has outstanding finance, we recommend you speak to both the seller and the finance company.

Lots of people buy vehicles using some form of finance from a finance company. Standard finance agreements work in a similar way to mortgage agreements – the lender/finance company own the vehicle until the debt is settled. That means the person selling the car may be the registered keeper, but NOT the owner of the vehicle. That will continue to be the finance company until the loan agreement has been paid off.

What will happen if a vehicle I buy has been registered stolen?

An Experian AutoCheck will tell you if the vehicle you are checking has been reported as stolen because we receive daily updates from the Police National Computer. If you buy a vehicle that has been reported stolen the Police will take it from you as it belongs to someone else. If you purchase a vehicle that has been reported stolen you risk losing both the car and the money you paid for it. In 2020 79,390 vehicles were reported as stolen*, an Experian AutoCheck will make sure you don't buy one.

* Vehicles registered as stolen on the Police National Computer in 2020.

Why is there a mileage anomaly on my Experian AutoCheck report?

A mileage anomaly is where a vehicle's mileage records are not sequential. A discrepancy indicates that the vehicle could have been 'clocked', and that at some point the milometer has been altered to show a figure lower than the true mileage. Carefully checking the service history against the current mileage will help confirm the mileage is correct (and MOT certificates if applicable). Talk to the seller and request proof of a milometer change and if necessary contact a franchise dealer.

Please note that the DVLA do sometimes round up mileages to the nearest thousand.

What if there is no mileage information on my Experian AutoCheck report?

Sometimes there is no mileage data recorded against a vehicle. This could happen when a dealer services a vehicle but doesn't submit any mileage. If the keeper doesn't enter the mileage on the V5C when submitting to the DVLA for a keeper change then no record will come from the DVLA either.

Occasionally a record is received when a vehicle is fairly new, and then nothing comes through for several years. You should check MOT certificates and service records to satisfy yourself that the sequence of mileages is acceptable.

What do I do if there isn't a V5C and/or MOT?

We do not recommend purchasing the vehicle without the V5C or MOT (on vehicles where an MOT is required); if you do you will not be covered under the terms of the data guarantee. If the seller states that they have sent the V5C to the DVLA, wait for it to come back before completing the purchase, and ensure that you are buying from the registered keeper if buying privately. Check the ID of the seller such as a passport and a recent utility bill; this should match with the name and address of the registered keeper on the V5C.

If you are buying from a trader you will need to question why the V5 and/or MOT are unavailable. The dealer may not have the V5C if for example it's been sent to the DVLA for a number plate change, you should wait until they have the new one or walk away.

The Experian AutoCheck Data Guarantee

How do I make a claim under the Experian AutoCheck data guarantee?

If you wish to make a claim you can obtain a claim form by writing to Experian Automotive Claims Department, The Sir John Peace Building, Experian Way, NG2 Business Park, Nottingham, NG80 1ZZ or email AutomotiveClaims@uk.Experian.com.

What does the Experian AutoCheck data guarantee protect me against?

The data guarantee protects you for up to £30,000 for 2 years against specified losses. Full details of the data guarantee can be found in the Terms and Conditions.

Site Security on Experian AutoCheck

How do Experian keep my on-line transaction safe?

Protecting customer information is Experian's priority. We therefore utilize Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology to protect all personal information including your card number, name and address when ordering a report from our web.

To confirm that your connection is secure, simply look at the lower right-hand corner of your browser window after accessing a server. If you see an unbroken key or a closed lock (depending upon your browser), the SSL is active and your information is secure. You can also double-check by looking at the URL line of your browser. When accessing a secure server, the first characters of the site address will change from 'http' to 'https'. Some versions of browsers and some firewalls don't permit communication even though the server is secure.

We designed our web site with multiple layers of security. We utilize state-of-the-art software solutions to prevent unauthorized access and improper use of our site.

What about my privacy?

We are committed to protecting your privacy. Your information is only used to support the Experian AutoCheck service we provide to you. This use of data includes, but is not limited to; order fulfilment, customer service, billing and payment collection. Unless we specifically confirm otherwise, user information will not be shared with third parties for any purpose. Please find further details on our Privacy Policy.

What about my credit card information?

Experian is committed to protecting the security of your credit card information. We use a variety of security technologies and procedures to help protect your personal information from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. For example, we store the personal information you provide in computer servers with limited access that are located in controlled facilities secured by the latest in surveillance and security technology. When we transmit sensitive information (such as a credit card numbers) over the internet, we protect it through the use of encryption, such as the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol.

Other than verifying credit card information, we will never wilfully disclose credit card information to any third party for any purpose. Feel free to review our Privacy Policy.