HPI offers tips to avoid buying a stolen vehicle
This week’s ITV UK Car Crime programme shockingly revealed that one car is stolen every five minutes, highlighting that more people are at risk of buying a stolen car than ever before. The leading vehicle information expert, HPI, stresses that all used car buyers need to take a few simple but effective steps to help beat the car criminals.
“Last year, 14,000 vehicles were stolen in Greater Manchester alone, which illustrates just how serious the problem is,” explains Nicola Johnson, Consumer Services Manager. “The problem continues as car criminals continue to employ a variety of dirty tricks, such as car cloning, to fool innocent purchasers into buying a stolen car. Car cloning is the vehicle equivalent of identity fraud where the stolen vehicle is fraudulently disguised as a similar vehicle already on the road.
“If you buy a cloned or stolen vehicle you stand to lose the car and the money you paid for it, as the vehicle will always be returned to its rightful owner. Consumers should recognise the risks and use every tool available to them to help combat the vehicle fraudsters. By conducting a vehicle history check and proceeding with caution, car buyers can uncover a fake and walk away unscathed.”
HPI recommends the following tips to avoid buying a stolen vehicle
1) Check that the identification numbers on the car, such as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)/chassis number, have not been tampered with, and that they match those on the V5/logbook documents.
2) If you’re buying privately, make sure you are viewing and buying the car from the registered keeper at their address as detailed on the V5 registration document.
3) Do not buy the car if the seller cannot produce the V5/logbook registration documents.
4) Thieves may attempt to change the identity of a stolen car by changing the number plate, VIN or window etchings so look for signs of tampering.
5) Research the car’s market value – be wary if the vehicle’s price is 30% or more below the retail market value, and don’t pay with a substantial amount of cash.
6) If there is a mark or sticker showing that the car is linked to a security register, check it out.
As well as revealing whether the car is registered as stolen, has been written-off, or is on finance, the HPI Check also protects buyers with the HPI Guarantee3. This provides up to £30,000 financial reimbursement in the event of the car not being everything it seems – including a clone. If buyers are concerned that they may purchase a cloned vehicle, they should call HPI for further advice on 01722 422422.
(3) The HPI Guarantee is subject to terms and conditions