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Vehicle Under Threat Due To Previous Owners Finance

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Hi all.


I have recently bought a vehicle which I had no reason to believe had any finance outstanding on it etc - should have HPI'ed it, but there you go.


Turns out it has and is of very much interest to the finance company concerned.


Anyway, this has ended up a bit complex and I have a few points I could do with a bit of help clarifying before I decide what to do for the best.


In short, having now been in touch with the person I bought it off, as I understand it the finance company went to the county court and got a CCJ issued against both the previous registered keeper and their partner for the full amount outstanding.


They have assured me that they attended court, (I have seen the summons etc), and the deal worked out was that they would agree to pay the amount agreed in court and the finance company would declare they had no further interest in the vehicle to enable them to dispose of it and use the money to put towards paying the debt.


The loan was taken out in 2007 - not sure when the default initially was, but it sounds like it was fairly early on in the agreements life.


Anyway... what can I do - I didn't know the car had outstanding finance on it when I bought and so I'm fairly certain 'good title' applies.


I got the car for below current market value, (so this may be something questioned in relation to 'good title'), but at the time it had no MOT, needed bodywork and a windscreen, plus had damage to the interior etc.


I want to keep the car, ultimately.


Ideally, I'd also like to help the previous owners get themselves out of this mess as best they can as they've obviously not got a pot to pee in and I've no reason to believe they've lied to me about what was agreed in court.


Thanks in advance for any advice. :)


Oh, and one last, slightly iffy, question... suppose someone exported a car with finance still owing on it - is this something that would be picked up on if they then went to re-register it in the destination country?

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Having tracked down the previous owner I've deduced the following:


  1. It was bought on a HP agreement
  2. A ROG was granted at some point in the past
  3. The seller resisted attempts at retrieval of the car by third parties not represented by the court after this was granted
  4. Apparently the recovery agents attempted to register it as a stolen vehicle with the police but they weren't interested - however, I am not keen to ask them myself if this is the case for obvious reasons. The seller is adamant that no marker is registered against it by the police, despite the solicitors for the finance company stating this was the case.
  5. The finance company has been back to court to sue for damages and it stipulated in the notes presented to the court that they wanted the ROG to stand alongside any such order granted, with them then within their rights to still snatch the car and knock the pittance they get for it off the damages - the seller was under the impression if they accepted the damages order and made an offer to pay this that they'd then be able to dispose of the car, hence why I've ended up with it!

So... what do I do - I've spent a fair chunk of money buying this thing and it's my sole method of transport and cannot afford to replace it if it is snatched back.


I bought it in good faith, in a poor condition and unaware of all of the above, and I have spent money on it since to get it up to a roadworthy standard since I have owned it.


I'd approach the finance company to see if we could reach an agreement but having now seen exactly how much they've managed to tot up and taken the previous owner to court for, I know there is no way they'd accept the pittance I could offer them.


I still need to use it, although it's now been left in the care of someone else who has lent me an old heap to drive around in whilst I try to sort this out - not ideal though.

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Well the vehicle belongs to the finance company as such but


if they have a ccj against the debtor for the full amount then they are on dodgy ground.


By going to court and getting a ccj for the full amount they would have had to terminate the agreement.


I would inform the finance company this and if the vehicle is returned then the debtor will have to have his ccj set aside as the auction value will have to be deducted from the balance owing.


But as a cj has been granted


no chance

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The money order / CCJ is for less than the sum outstanding on the loan agreement - not quite sure what the reasoning for that is as it appears to be quite complex.


The paperwork presented to the court by the solicitors for the finance company specifically states they want the ROG to still stand along side this money order and that if the vehicle is ever recovered, the proceeds from the sale would be shaved off the damages awarded in the second case, if it isn't, they'd just pursue them for the full amount asked for in the damages case.


Whatever, this is nothing to do with me other than I inadvertently now have a reasonable sum of money tied up in something I'm quite concerned could be taken off me despite me buying it in good faith.

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he money order / CCJ is for less than the sum outstanding on the loan agreement - not quite sure what the reasoning for that is as it appears to be quite complex.







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ROG was issued first.


Attempts were then made to seize the vehicle and these were thwarted by the previous owner.


Finance company then went back to court, this time to go for the damages side by way of a 'Money Order', as I understand it - a CCJ, in other words and as per what I previously outlined.


The sums requested were for what the vehicle was worth if in good order and sold off a forecourt at the time action was instigated against the debtors, plus the finance companies costs to date.


It appears the owner has then got it into his head if he accepts the money order and makes an offer of payment, he can just keep paying that off (or go bankrupt), and the car can then be sold on - this is where it's then been sold on to someone (me), who wasn't made aware of all the problems attached to the vehicle - they have only come to light since.


So anyway... to summarise, the court went in favour of the finance company and sent the owner through the forms to do whatever in light of the judgement which he then returned with proposals on clearing the debt.

Edited by Uncle Peter
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It looks to me like the ROG stands and the finance company, having seen that the owner was not in any mood to give it up the goods any time soon have then gone back to court to try another angle to make sure they get their pound of flesh by way of the subsequent CCJ.


All the paperwork from the court shows is the sums due to the finance company and that judgement was found in their favour - no mention of other orders etc.


It's also telling I feel that the solicitor made a point of setting out clearly that their client wanted the ROG to still stand if they got judgement in this subsequent case.


Whatever, as far as I'm concerned they can sort that side of it out amongst themselves, I'm more interested in making sure I don't end up out of pocket / without the car I bought in good faith.


Previous owner is obviously on skid row and not in a position to return the money I paid for the car to me... and to be honest, I feel quite sorry for them so was hoping that I'd be able to help them make the best of a bad lot.

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Here is another angle...


Say I decide to just use the bloody thing and take my chances?


I take it given I have the documents and a receipt that proves I bought it in good faith (previous registered keeper signed a receipt at the time of sale to me that said the car was theirs to sell and free of finance (!) ), that should a recovery agent call, I can tell them to sod off?


If this is the case, would the finance company then have cause to issue a ROG against me, and if so, would I then become at risk of being sued for the full outstanding amount due on the agreement... or would it be more the case that I could scream 'good title' at them?


I don't even really like the car but as I have said, I have sunk a fair amount of money into it and I don't think it would be the honourable thing to do to sell it on to someone else with all this hanging over it - with that in mind, I'd rather get some decent advice and get it sorted out so everyone is as happy as you could hope.

Edited by Uncle Peter
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Right... something else has now come to light.


Apparently the ROGs were quashed by the court in the second case - the finance company were told they could either have those or have the damages order in place, but not both.


So...where does that leave me - can they come after the car now that has been established and the debtors have confirmed they accept the money order and are looking to come to an agreement on clearing the balance.


Also, despite what the paperwork I saw yesterday intimated, they're adamant they've cleared off more than 50% of the balance owing - the fact the finance company sought a ROG order in the first place rather than just snatching the car back suggests that would be the case, no?

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if the original owner had paid 50% off the vehicle then they would have been able to return the vehicle and owe nothing via a voluntary termination, so why the court route


if the finance company are happy with the court ccj to cover there total loss then why are they after your car


if they now applied against you for a rog order then they will have some serious explaning to do in front of a judge

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In respect of the 50% - he's forwarding a copy of the paperwork to me so I can see for myself exactly what is occurring on that one.


In respect of what the finance company are or aren't happy with, it appears they were slapped down by the judge in respect of the request to have both ROG and damage orders running concurrent and had to pick one or the other.


In respect of them applying for an order against me, this won't be happening any time soon as I've taken steps to make sure my details are kept out of the frame until such times as I am confident of the exact position I will find myself in should I put my head above the parapit... hence my asking in here for some solid advice before I decide what to do that's best for me, so many thanks for the advice you've given so far and any more you can offer to help me with this.

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Forget the position between the finance company and the seller, it's nothing to do with whether you have title or not. What you need to concentrate on is Part III of the Hire Purchase Act 1964. If you are a private purchaser, in good faith and without notice of the HP agreement and have bought from the hirer under that agreement, you have obtained title. Just tell the finance company you are claiming title under that Act. They will probably have some sort of questionnaire they ask you to complete, so complete that and let them work the rest out. (Don't answer any irrelevant questions they might slip in there, like who your employer is).

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Ok... what I'm now trying to ascertain is if the finance company signed away their rights to the goods as part of the decision made by the courts in relation to the previous owner being subject to the damages order and the ROG order that applied to them being quashed at this time.


This is what the previous owner has told me is the case but given I wasn't told by them about the finance in the first place when I bought the car and as much as they appear to being open and honest now, I'd rather make sure for myself this is the correct position before I put myself in a position where the finance company could work out where the car is and attempt to grab it again, much as I'm aware 'good title' applies.


Can you see where I'm coming from?


Cheers :-)

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Aside from the valid points made above, have a look at s27 (2) Hire Purchase Act (you can google it). Also see s29 (3) which states that "without notice" means without actual notice. This means it is not enough that you SHOULD have known about the finance by running an HPI check, if you do not ACTUALLY know about the finance you get good title.


Given s27 (2) I don't see how the finance company could repossess the car. Some people on the internet and this forum say that the finance company would get the car because you should have done an HPI check. However I see no basis for this in the legislation - "without notice" means "actual notice", not "reasonable notice".


If anyone has a contrary view I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts?


Best of luck.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was in the car trade for many years now retired....


What a previous poster has told you is correct.


If you bought the vehicle IN GOOD FAITH from the seller then you get title to the vehicle and the finance company's argument is with the person(s) tht borrowed the money.


if you ran an HPI check prior to purchase and KNEW there was finance on the vehicle and bought it cheaply on this basis then you do NOT get title to the car.


Call the finance company, under no circumstances give your address (give a reltive's address for any letters) and tell them you bought the car in good faith from mR and Mrs X of Toytown, etc and that under those circumstances you are claiming title to it.


As stated, any forms you fill in should be completed on the basis of matters realting to the car ONLY... it mskes no difference to the title claim when you were born, your maiden name, how long you've lived at your present address, etc.


It's the finsnce company's fault, they lent money to a non payer. They should have known better. But then again that's the business they're in.



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Cheers for the above.


Ok... now what about if you paid under market value for it?


I did - it has various dents and scratches, some interior damage, had a cracked windscreen and no MOT or tax when I bought it and has no service history. (Sounds like a real dream, eh) ;)


I've not sorted out the bodywork (doubt I will either, tbh), but I've fitted a new screen, got it through an MOT etc and will be spending more money on it soon on a cambelt service (not cheap, as I'm sure you can understand) and sorting out the damaged bits of interior.


Yes, I can keep all the receipts but I'm still concerned that they will try to argue that I must have known when I bought it that something was amiss with it on the finance front because I got it under market value, which incidentally having now looked around at what similar cars are fetching on eBay etc, is much higher according to the likes of What Car, than what they're actually achieving on the open market in the real world.

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No within reason what you paid for it makes no difference.


HPI have a record of all HPI checks done on the vehicle.


If, the day before you bought it, it shows that a member of the public (ie you) HPI'd it and found it to be on finance then you wouldn't get title to the car.


In law you are innocent until proven guilty... they have to show you were aware of something, as long as it can be reasonably shown that you bought it in good faith without any inkling that there might be a hidden problem, you get title.


Be lucky!

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I should add that a rare exception to this rule is that if the vehicle is on a LEASE... ie not hp, but leased to a company for example, then you will not get title to it.


But even in that sort of case, the finance company don't really want the car back, they want a few quid to close their file on the headache that it's giving them.

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