Santa Should Check Cars Twice Before Putting Them Under The Tree

Many people have a car on their Christmas wish list and some will receive it. What seems like a great gift could turn out to be a nightmare, said vehicle history verification company HPI.

One in four autos it checks has outstanding finance. During this time of year, fraudulent sellers are eager to take advantage of festive car buyers.

Before purchasing a car this holiday season, consumers should do a vehicle check. This identifies whether the automobile still belongs to a car finance house.

People who purchase a car on finance can lose both the vehicle and the money they paid for it. A used car bargain may turn into a financial nightmare.

It is easy to succumb to the holiday purchasing frenzy and make a hasty car buying decision.

HPI Consumer Services Manager Nicola Johnson recommends exercising caution and making a smart purchase later rather than rushing to buy a car before Christmas. If something ends up being wrong, the vehicle will be difficult to return.

HPI prepared a list of the top risks for holiday car buyers. Outstanding car finance ranks number one and the risk of the car being reclaimed by the finance company is high.

A plate change can also be a red flag and one in five vehicles checked by HPI had at least one plate change. In many cases, the reason is legitimate but sometimes it is an attempt to hide a cloned or stolen car.

Approximately 19 stolen autos are discovered by HPI each day, many sold at bargain prices to unknowing buyers. Four of every 100 cars HPI checks have been written off by insurers due to damage but are still on the road.

Mileage discrepancy is another big risk, with six in every 100 cars checked by HPI having more miles than indicated.