60% of online car buyers worried about fraud

Article date: 7 April 2008

HPI, the leading independent vehicle information provider, reveals that nearly 70% of used car buyers believe they are more vulnerable to buying risks by purchasing a vehicle online. These are the figures from HPI's latest survey on online car buying habits and shows that 60% of respondents fear fraud the most. Although consumers are aware of the hidden dangers of buying online, HPI warns buyers to back buying decisions with thorough research.

The HPI survey showed that 71% of respondents thought choice was one of the main benefits of buying a car online, with 63% stating convenience as a bonus. In contrast, 62% said fraud was the main downfall and nearly 70% thought they were more at risk from used car crime when buying online. Two out of three people believe not being able to see the car before they buy as a downfall of buying on the internet.

"Our survey reveals that car buyers are wary when buying online, however, only 48% would be more likely to carry out even the most basic of checks, such as an online valuation," says Nick Lindsay, director of HPI. "Checking the market value of a vehicle can be a quick way to identify if the car is a true bargain or not. If a seller is looking for a quick sale it could well be because they have something to hide. If the price seems too good to be true, it usually is and we advise buyers to walk away."

Used car buyers can access an HPI Valuation* instantly online or via SMS, making it easy to check a car valuation at any place, any time. Simply text the keyword VALUE to 80160 together with the VRM or registration number and mileage details and a text message will be sent back confirming the car description and valuation.

Nearly all of those surveyed - 98% - recognised the importance of conducting an online HPI Check**, which offers used car buyers the ultimate peace of mind. The HPI Check will confirm the vehicle description, whether it is currently recorded as stolen, has been written-off by an insurance company or is subject to outstanding finance. It also includes a mileage check, using HPI's National Mileage Register of over 125 million mileage readings, providing access to the most comprehensive database. In addition, a V5 check is included as standard, which will alert you to any fraudulent activity.

Nick Lindsay concludes: "There's good news for sellers, because 45% of those surveyed said they would be prepared to travel over 100 miles for the car they wanted, having done all the necessary online checks to ensure it was worth the journey. For those looking to sell online, internet auctions such as eBay and online classified ad publications such as exchangeandmart.co.uk continue to be the most popular sites for those shopping online."

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* HPI Valuation costs £1.50 plus standard network charges for sending a text

** HPI Check costs £19.99

For press enquiries please contact:
Margot Tomkinson, Dominic Dennis and Justine Hoadley at HSL 0208 977 9132. dominic@harrisonsadler.com

Notes to editors:

About HPI
Originally established in 1938, HPI Limited is a primary source of vehicle information for the UK motor industry and motoring consumer, which since August 2004 has been owned by Norwich Union. HPI encompasses both the HPI database of all UK road registered vehicle descriptions and histories, and the National Mileage Register which holds in excess of 125 million mileage readings.

Together, HPI and NMR represent the UK's largest vehicle information source, combining and interpreting data from government agencies, industry bodies, private organisations, the police and the general public. Registering with HPI helps companies to protect their financial interests in motor vehicles and a wide range of other mobile assets. HPI Checks give purchasers instant confirmation of whether vehicles are correctly described, known to be subject to outstanding finance or serious accident damage, or recorded as stolen or "clocked".

'HPI' and the HPI logo are registered trademarks of HPI Limited. 

(1) All prices include VAT and are correct as of 1 January 2006
(2) Mileage Data is not covered by The HPI Guarantee
(3) The HPI Guarantee is subject to terms and conditions

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