Buying used cars ‘is a minefield’

JonathanJuly 25, 2012

Car leasing allows drivers to have access to brand new vehicles – even when they may not be able to afford the high upfront costs associated with buying the latest models.

List prices of new cars often run into tens of thousands of pounds, while contract hire only requires people to find a fraction of that amount every month.

The advantages of having up-to-date cars are numerous – not only are they likely to better equipped, new technology means that they could reduce motoring costs by having better fuel efficiency.

Another benefit of leasing a new vehicle is that a motorist can be assured of the vehicle’s history.

People who cannot afford a new car often opt for a second-hand model and this can have its dangers.

New figures from HPI, the vehicle information expert, show that there could be up to 10.4 million cars with a hidden history that are currently being driven around on Britain’s roads.

Recently, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed there has been a nine per cent increase in cars in the UK, with 31,362,716 now registered. HPI said that with one in three cars categorised as ‘at risk’ the nearly new and second-hand car market is a “minefield” for buyers.

“Unscrupulous sellers use a variety of tricks to bump up the price of an older vehicle and hide a dodgy past,” warns Kristian Welch, consumer director for the firm.

“Over the last couple of years HPI has delivered over 20 million vehicle history checks and powers provenance checks on behalf of companies such as the RAC, AA, PistonHeads, and eBay,” he added.

Problems with used cars include the vehicle having outstanding finance and many drivers are unaware that the debt is transferred with the vehicle.

HPI states that over 6.2 million cars could have a plate change, while one in 20 could have a mileage discrepancy.

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