I unknowingly sold a car that had outstanding finance - what can I do?

I sold a car three months ago, which I’d bought privately two months prior as a fixer upper. I occasionally fix cars as more of a hobby than as a money maker. The car was a non-runner when I bought it. The buyer has now been contacted by a finance company saying that the car has owed funds of £2500, which were not cleared by the owner before me. I asked at the time of purchase if it was finance free and if it had been declared a write off. The guy said it was all clear and seemed very genuine.
I then did a HPI check myself, which came back clear, but I hadn’t realised until today when I’ve looked at it again that the HPI check I did does not cover finance searches. I spent a lot of time and money fixing this car up and sold it in the best of faith. I had no idea about the finance, but the company want the debt paid or the car back. From what I can gather, they are not overly interested in chasing the guy I bought the car from. I sold the car for £1800, but I’d spent nearly £1200 fixing the car up as it was in a very poor state. I made no money out of the car, only just about covering my costs and now buyer and I are stuck in a stalemate. Can anything be done as neither of us are in a situation to pay off the finance? I have the guys details I bought the car off but he's not replying to me.

Asked on 24 August 2018 by Nick

Answered by Honest John
This is legally called a 'chattel mortgage' or more commonly a 'logbook loan' . They are often not registered with people like HPI and Equifax. The vendor has effectively stolen your money by selling you a car he does not own. So what you need to do is bring a private criminal prosecution against him. The police and the CPS are unlikely to help you, but you can do this yourself. You will need a good solicitor. Unfortunately, the type of person who borrows £2500 against a car then re-sells it is unlikely to actually have any money or any assets, so think carefully before you do anything.
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