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1 in 3 vehicles 'hit' anti-fraud register, says HPI

Statistics just released by HPI, vehicle information specialists, confirm that 1 in 3 HPI checks continues to reveal facts which could threaten a car's title, value or safety.

1 in 7 vehicles ‘HPI'd’ by consumers turns out to be on outstanding finance. A vehicle on hire purchase or a lease agreement still belongs to the lender, and unwary used car buyers could stand to lose both the car and the money they paid for it.

After outstanding finance, buyers are most likely to encounter a car with a mileage that's going backwards. 1 in 11 HPI checks reveal mileage discrepancies or inconsistencies - signs of potential ‘clocking’.

1 in 12 vehicles the public checks with HPI turns out to be written off.

Martin Brassell, director of HPI says: "These statistics are a wake-up call for all used car buyers.

We have seen an upward trend in vehicles hitting a number of the HPI anti-fraud registers, which highlights the very real dangers consumers face when shopping around in the private used car market. When dealing with large sums of money it is better to be safe than sorry and the HPI Check offers a guaranteed level of peace of mind that a vehicle is genuine."

One of the anti-fraud registers on the increase relates to stolen vehicles revealed by HPI - for 2004 so far, this is running at 1 in 111. However, this tends to understate the problem: many stolen vehicles now tend to be 'cloned' to disguise their identity so that they appear legitimate.

In fact, changes of identity are more common than ever. 1 in 5 vehicles checked by consumers with HPI has had at least one plate change. Most of these are an innocent piece of personalisation - but crooks also use plate changes to try to obscure a vehicle's true past.

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