HPI urges dealers to standardise checks

HPI is urging used car dealers to make vehicle history checks standard on all stock, regardless of the vehicle’s age.

The call to action comes after a Trading Standards investigation led to a trader from Wales being successfully prosecuted for unwittingly selling on a car with outstanding finance against it. With as many as one in four cars hitting the HPI outstanding finance register, the risk to dealers of damaging their reputation and facing judicial punishment is painfully high.

Although the dealer is known to regularly conduct HPI Checks, he admitted that he didn’t on all stock, particularly older vehicles, as was the case of the 55-reg Citroen C3 he sold on. This mistake cost him and his two colleagues involved a total of £1,700 in fines, legal costs and victim surcharges, under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Neil Hodson, deputy managing director for cap hpi, explained, ‘We’re often hearing about dealers being found guilty in a court of law for selling on clocked cars, be that intentionally or otherwise, but this case concerns outstanding finance which is actually rather rare. Dealers should treat this recent prosecution as a stark warning, given a quarter of cars checked with us are on outstanding finance.’

Tim Milsom, a motor trade lead officer for the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said, ‘Traders need to follow strict due-diligence protocols before offering vehicles for sale or even accepting them in part exchange. This should not only include physical checks on the vehicle to ensure it is safe and roadworthy, but office checks too.

‘Traders must know about several issues including outstanding finance, provenance, DVSA safety recalls, mileage validation, service history, MOT status, as well as accident and cam belt histories. They should then share relevant information with potential buyers.’