Sunday 26 May 2019

Revealed: One in six are trying to 'sell' cars they don't own, report reveals

Selling used car
Selling used car
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

RECORD numbers of people are trying to 'sell' cars they don't own - because they still owe repayments on them.

According to analysis carried out for, the numbers doing so have surged to account for nearly one-in-six (16.1pc) cars advertised for sale.

Vehicle data expert, who carried out the research, reports the new levels are the highest on record.

They are up from 14.3pc this time 12 months ago.

They also represent a substantial rise on the 12.5pc figure recorded in July 2017 and a significant climb on June 2016 when the rate was 9.5pc.

The study was based on a sample of nearly 6,000 vehicles offered for sale and checked via the website in 2018.

However, the reasons for the increase are not as clear cut as might first appear.

The figures can be interpreted as reflecting the plight of thousands who have stretched too far in buying a new car and now can't keep up the repayments.

Experts suggest that is certainly the case for an undetermined and desperate proportion.

But they also point out that the increase mirrors more active value-gauging by owners testing the market to see what they'd get for their car if they sold it privately.

In doing so, many of them, most likely on PCPs or finance plans, are attempting to see if they can get more than the guaranteed minimum value under their deal with a garage.

That would help explain why there are still repayments to be made. Technically they would have to clear the outstanding amounts with the lending institution or dealer before selling the car as it is not theirs to sell. Simply put, they would have to buy the car before they could sell it. But if it leaves them with more cash in their pocket at the end of the day to begin a new deal then it appears some are prepared to do the leg work.

However, some unscrupulous sellers may also be trying to pull a fast one.

And that is why it is vital that prospective buyers should have such matters checked out by one of the many websites who provide such a service.

For anyone who buys a car with repayments incomplete there is the risk of the vehicle being seized by the lending agency, leaving the new 'owner' at a total loss.'s Jeff Aherne warns: "The finance company owns the vehicle until the last payment has been made. The bottom line is that you can lose the vehicle."

He adds: "We have now returned the highest levels we have ever recorded for vehicles offered for sale with outstanding finance."

Levels have more than doubled in four years (7pc December 2014).

Mr Aherne advises buyers to check there is nothing owed on a vehicle.

For sale: with debt owed

Period % with money owed

Jan-11... 12.83

Jan-12... 11.41

Jul-12...  11.24

Nov-12...  9.28

Jan-13...  10.07

Jun-13...  8.21

Nov-13...  7.52

Jan-14...  8.99

Jul-14...  7.84

Dec-14...  7.01

Jan-15...  8.29

Mar-15...  9.11

Jun-16...  9.50

Jan-17...  11.50

Jul-17...  12.50

Dec-17...  14.30

Dec-18...  16.61

Indo Motoring

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