Fleet News

How to uncover a car's hidden history

HPI reveals most commonly asked questions.

HPI has amassed a wealth of experience in used car buying, Its call centre operators come into contact with used car buyers every day and have knowledge of all the latest scams perpetrated by criminals. This constant engagement with customers also provides an insight into the concerns the general public have when purchasing a vehicle.

Nicola Johnson, Consumer Services Manager for HPI, comments, “The questions raised by customers in our call centre suggest that many car buyers are still in the dark as to how simple and speedy it is to conduct a vehicle history check. Buyers don’t need to turn detective to uncover a vehicle’s hidden history, and not all hidden histories mean that you should walk away from buying the car. That’s why we have decided to reveal the most commonly asked questions, and provide responses for these.”

Question #1 – What information do I need to conduct an HPI Check?

Answer – To conduct an HPI Check all you need is the registration number of the vehicle. However, HPI would recommend providing as much information as possible to thoroughly check the vehicle’s history before purchase. HPI asks that you provide the chassis/Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), the current mileage and V5 serial number with issue date. Checking this extra information provides further safeguards, as it can sometimes be the smallest piece of data that can point to a big problem.

By supplying all this information, and following HPI’s buying advice, you will be covered by the HPI Guarantee, providing financial reimbursement of up to £30,000 in the event of any information supplied by HPI being incomplete or inaccurate.

Question #2 – What if I’m looking at more than one car?

Answer – If you have short listed a few vehicles, you should consider purchasing an HPI Multicheck. For only £30.99, you can check up to 3 vehicles. This will provide a voucher code to redeem the checks at some point in the future – unlike other providers these voucher codes have no expiry date. Checking the vehicles out in advance can help screen out any problem vehicles.

Question #3 – How long does it take to tell me if a vehicle has something wrong with it?

Answer – Once you’ve paid for the service, the information comes back instantly. Some results are returned that need further investigation, in which case HPI’s dedicated investigations team will look into the case immediately. HPI has been investigating vehicle histories since 1938, and so has the experience and contacts to turn investigations round quickly – often in less than an hour, and almost always in less than 24 hours.

Question #4 – What information won’t the HPI Check give me and why?

Answer – The HPI Check cannot give you personal data relating to the previous or current keepers, or indicate whether the car has been exported or imported. HPI does not have access to, or hold information on, drivers – their identity, their location, or their driving history.

Question #5 – What if I want to check the vehicle when I’m actually stood looking at it?

Answer – HPI operates a contact centre 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm Saturdays and 10am-5pm Sundays, covering most hours you will want to purchase a vehicle – to speak with one of HPI’s customer team, call 0845 300 8905. Doing this while you are by a vehicle is perfectly reasonable and allows you to observe the seller’s reactions when you speak to HPI. If they become nervous, you should be asking yourself why… Or if you have a web enabled phone, you can access the website at www.hpicheck.com and run a check there and then.

Question #6 – Some vehicle history checks are cheaper, aren’t these the same as HPI?

Answer – Simply put, no. Cheaper checks are available from a variety of sources, but in the history check world – you get what you pay for. HPI is at a higher price than some competitors because it includes more data than any other service, including information on current finance agreements, and data from the UK’s largest mileage record database. .

Question #7 – I’m worried that a history check might stop me buying the vehicle – am I better off not checking at all?

Answer – Absolutely not – knowledge is king. However, not all results are bad. There are only two instances where you should definitely not buy the vehicle: if it’s stolen, or on our at risk/security watch register – in both instances the vehicle belongs to someone else and shouldn’t be put up for sale. Virtually all other issues can be resolved. HPI’s Contact Centre agents can help buyers work their way through the maze and get the facts they need before they part with their cash on a new set of wheels. The old adage of ‘buyer beware’ is very much the case when buying a vehicle second hand. It is virtually impossible these days to claim you are an ‘innocent purchaser’ so the best form of defence is for buyers to arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible prior to purchase.

Johnson concludes, “Hopefully these questions will help shed some light on the aspects of vehicle history checks that used car buyers are unsure of, and ultimately lead to buyers arming themselves with the best possible information before a purchase. Buyers should also remember that the HPI Check is not just for cars – bike and van purchases can be protected also.”

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