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Cloned Cars - Alert !


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With increased security at manufacturing level, cars are becoming harder to steal, but cloning – where the identity of a genuine car is placed on that of a stolen vehicle - is still rife.

The end result is that two - or even more – cars end up with the same identity. Identical make, model, registration number and even the same VIN number (vehicle identification number).

All this can make it very difficult for a prospective buyer to tell the difference between a fake and the genuine article. And, of course, even if you have bought the car in ‘good faith’ you will never have good title to a vehicle that has been stolen.

So, what to look out for when buying a used car? An HPI check is always a good starting point, but all the details of the car are needed: make, model, body style, colour and colour of trim, registration number, mileage and VIN number. A check with HPI costs £39.95 on line and £42.95 via the call centre.

However, before ‘spending out’, there is a number of checks that can be done. Always insist on seeing the V5 registration document and check carefully that all the information matches. If the V5 is not available, proceed no further. Look at the service history and ensure that the name that appears in the registration document is the same as that of the person selling the car. Don’t be fooled into the old ploy of ‘selling it for a friend or relative’ – unless perhaps as an executor’s sale where there is documentary evidence, ie letters of probate.

Having checked that the numbers match, check further for signs of tampering. HPI checks: or 01722 422422.

Please note - that even if you have genuinely bought your car for cash, and it turns out to be cloned, that car can be seized for forensics , and you may never see the car again !

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with all the increase in car theft and the use of valuable police time

you would think it better if the checks could be done for free

allways puts people off having to pay for something they may not buy

how many times do you have about three cars to choose from :blink:

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My brother-in-law was selling his Fronterra. So he had the HPI check done himself and posted to him. When he advertised it he included that a HPI report was available. For complete piece of mind All they had to do was be with him and he phoned them in front of perspective buyer to verify he was the owner who had the report done.

I think that the onus should be on the seller to provide bona fide HPI report when selling a vehicle. If you buy from a garage/dealer you are covered, so it should be the same for private sellers. Obviously the seller is going to add it to his selling price but so will the buyer when he sells it on.

This is still NOT a foolproof method of buying a dodgy/cloned car but it is an extra safeguard.

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