Buying a used car is always a risk, but as long as it comes with all of the documents you’re safe, right? Sadly, this isn’t always the case.
Many buyers have discovered the hard way that documents such as an MOT history aren’t always trustworthy. While it isn’t common, forged MOT certificates and other legal documents occur more frequently than they should. However, the good news is there is a way to check whether you’re being misled before you part with your hard-earned cash.
Why every buyer should consider an HPI check
When you’re buying a used car, the truth is you can’t always trust what you’re being told by the seller. Numerous factors could be left out of their sales pitch, such as whether the car has been in an accident or when its last MOT was carried out.
In some cases, the paper MOT certificate ‘receipt’ could even have been forged. This means you could be investing in a potentially dangerous car. (It’s important to note that it’s only the paper versions of an MOT document that can be forged. The electronic imprint version found on the DVSA’s website is always 100% accurate. Anybody can view the electronic MOT details via the government website, even if they don’t own a car.)
There’s also a risk the mileage could have been tampered with. Though it’s a lot less common than it used to be, some sellers do ‘clock’ their cars to make it look like they’ve done a lot fewer miles than they actually have.
It’s worrying, but there is some level of protection available to buyers of used vehicles and that’s carrying out an HPI (Hire Purchase Inspection) check. Various companies offer these types of checks in the UK such as HPI Limited, Experian and the AA.
If you do invest in an HPI check, it’s still worth comparing the MOT details to the electronic imprint found on the DVSA website to see if they match. If they don’t, you should contact the HPI company to ask why it’s different.
What Does an HPI Check cover?
So, how exactly does an HPI check protect you when buying a used car? Well, it reveals important details about the car’s history, including its MOT history.
By viewing proper MOT records for the vehicle, you’ll not only be able to see whether the details the seller has given you are correct, but you’ll also see how well it has been maintained. Some HPI checks are more detailed than others, but all of them provide details on MOT history.
As well as MOT history, you’ll also be able to get an idea of the vehicles mileage. So, you can see whether there are any discrepancies between what is listed and what the seller has told you. Be aware however, that the mileage isn’t always revealed, it’s only shown if the information is available.
Another very useful detail an HPI check will reveal is whether it has any outstanding finance. Why does that matter? Because once you become the registered owner of the vehicle, any unpaid and outstanding finance will be automatically transferred to you. This is something many buyers are unaware of and shockingly it’s absolutely legal.
Overall, HPI checks are an excellent way to check the MOT history of a used vehicle. The sad truth is you can’t always trust the seller and when it comes to your and your family’s safety, it’s just not worth taking the risk when you can find out everything you need to know with a simple check.