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How to avoid buying a car with outstanding finance

Check car historyBuying a used car can at times resemble something akin to motoring roulette. Nearly half of motorists who have ever bought a used car privately believe they were deceived in one form or another by the person who sold it to them. Unsurprisingly, drivers are concerned about faulty vehicles and paying too much for their next car. And then there is the worry about the vehicle’s history, whether is it stolen or still subject to a credit agreement? But do motorists know how to avoid buying a car with outstanding finance on it?

Check out our guide and discover how the RAC Car Data Check can help you make the right decision about your next car purchase.

How to tell if there is outstanding finance on a car

Before you buy a used car, you should carry out a car registration check which will tell you if any money is owed on the vehicle, and also if it has ever been involved in an accident or if it’s stolen.

If you’re buying from a dealer, you can ask if they have carried out these checks or you can do your own. Our Car Passport checks the history of a vehicle and is thus a reliable way to avoid buying a car with outstanding finance.

What to do if there is outstanding finance on a car

If you haven’t bought the car yet and a search reveals outstanding finance on it, the first thing you should do is check with the listed company whether the account has been settled or if payments are still due. If money is still owed, you can ask the seller to settle the account, and then continue with the purchase.

If you discover there is outstanding finance on a vehicle after purchasing it, you may be able to show that you have a legal right to own the car. You can contact the finance company explaining this, but if they don’t believe you’re an ‘innocent buyer’ (and proving this can be difficult), they can take the car away from you, which is why getting a vehicle check is so important when buying a used car.

If the finance company seizes the car, you could decide to take the seller to court to get your money back, but this is a lengthy and expensive process, so seek professional advice.

Getting a car check is quick to do online with the RAC Car Passport – just provide a few details about the car you plan to buy.

Click here to view a sample RAC Car Passport report

Read RAC Car Passport car data check terms and conditions.

The following vehicles are exempt: imports, 4x4’s, convertibles, write-offs, hybrids, vans, vehicles over 10 years old, vehicles with more than 5 seats, prestige vehicles, 4-wheel drives, LPGs, motorhomes and vehicles with more than 120,000 miles on the clock.

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