I wondered if anyone has been in the same situation that my girlfriend has found herself.

Bought a golf convertible in a private sale 6 months back for £4500.
Did an HPI check and paid the £25.00. It checked out ok.
Tried to register the change of ownership at the DVLA but someone else was trying to register the same car! DVLA inspect car, turns out it was stolen and car now seized by police before being handed out to the insurance company.

It seems the guy we bought it off had originally owned a golf convertible, sold it on to someone and then stole a similar one and sold it to my girlfriend using good copies of his documentation from the legit. golf.

So where do we go now. Have put a claim into to HPI people - what chances of them paying out? Anyone had any dealings? Their check came out clean because the details were right (ie name of owner, description of car etc.) and so they might argue that they did their bit.

I know we can sue this guy if he is worth suing, but (unsurprisingly) he has moved from last address and police are being slack in chasing him. Don't know if he is worth suing and get the feeling that the best course of action is against the HPI people.

Anyone been here before?
Any advice is much appreciated.
The HPI guarantee tinyurl.com/6u94 requires you to check that the vehicle physically matches the description given. If the VIN on the vehicle you bought was not the same as on the V5, there's not much chance of them paying out I'm afraid. It also requires you to obtain a receipt from the seller - all this is on the back of your guarantee.

If you took those steps, which seem only reasonable to me, then there is every chance they will pay out, at least what the insurance company is now asking for your car, which will be less than what you paid for it - but you won't actually be any worse off in that situation.

There may also be an element of statutory protection for you, but I'm deeply unsure on this point as it's not something I would normally deal with. Maybe PU or DVD can help?
Many thanks for the advice. The VIN did match but when the police/dvla looked at it they said it was a very suspicious plate. Can the HPI people argue that we should have noticed that it was dodgy? Looking at their terms I don't think they can. Maybe we will get a pay out. If not then I might try and push them a bit with the threat of bad publicity etc.
Thanks again
Given this some thought.


1. You are a victim here (or your girlfriend) she has been subject to an offence of Obtaining Money by Deception. This needs to be flagged up to the Police.

2. Wait til HPi come back to you.

3. I would engage a brief. Possibly via CAB, do this as soon as you have an indication which way HPI are going to jump.

4. Check out your or G/F motor and house insurance, see if you have legal cover on any or either and activate it. This could save you hundreds or thousands.

5. I would argue that if your G/F has taken all resonable steps to comply with the conditions of the HPI check she may have a case. Would an ordinary punter be able to tell a dodgy VIN plate
from a rel one.

6. This sounds like an almost pro job, I would suggest that the Police should be chasing him.

Not legal advice of course,,,,but get weaving. Involve your Insurance Company and AA/RAC if you are a member.
HPI HELL - PLEASE HELP! - martint123
I don't really see why you can blame HPI - Doesn't it go something like this - you quote the reg nr and VIN the come back with engine number, colour, last owner change, any reg nr changes, if on accident register, if any outstanding finance, if stolen etc.

If the person you're buying it from has forged the above then HPI have no way of knowing - so are they to blame??

(although, looking at their terms and conditions, you may well be covered).
They're not to blame as such, but part of the service is an insurance policy that, if you check and they still get it wrong, you're covered. Given that the £40ish cost of an HPI check is nothing like its marginal cost, people need an inducement.
HPI HELL - PLEASE HELP! - Dwight Van Driver
Not an easy one by any stretch of the imagination and because of several complications should be best dealt with through the use of a Solicitor.

My own thoughts are that if Scroat was caught and charged with OPBD then under Powers of a Criminal Court Act 1973 Section 35, Mags convicting can award up to £5,000 for the loss by GF (more at Crown Court) Now this would have to come from Scroat who by now probably has converted the cash obtained into water and sprayed it down the urinal or sniffed it down his nose etc. He will be a man of straw so little hope of catching him with money still in his possession.

Police took possession of the vehicle? Who does it belong to now?. The old owner, the Insurance Company or the GF who bought it it in good faith?. In the old days if at a Market Overt (Open Market) under these circumstances, gave some rights on ownership. If a dispute as to ownership can be established then under Police (Property) Act 1897, a Mags Crt may make an Order in respect of property in possession of Police in connection with the investigation into an offence. Application has to be made for this.

As PU says there could be a breach of contractual rights by the HPI Company and the small print will have to be looked at in great detail to see if there is a Civil claim which all in all is best dealt with by a legal eagle.

Learn from this you vehicle purchasers and check, check, check before parting with your hard earned cash.

See where you're coming from on this. A long standing client of mine bought a Mixer from a Car Boot sale (cement not food). Following an unfortunate seiries of conicidences the Police got to hear of it and declared it to be identical to one stolen. He had bought it in good faith for a resonable price. Cops wanted to seize it (As exhibit A), I managed to negotiate a deal with them whereby it remained with the client, pending enquries on an undertaking that he would not dispose of it, my arguument being that he had equal rights to it. This held sway with the local DCI
and he kept it. In the event the insurance company that paid out on the original theft came to an amicable agreement with the owner, who in turn declared an interest if and when the Police caught the thief. Victim was happy, he had a payout, new owner was happy in that he kept his cement mixer, Police were happy cos they new where it was if a Court Case came along, Insurance Company where happy cos they recovered a portion of their loss. (and PU was also happy - but that's another story). The point being that there is no reason in law why the above could not apply in the case of the stolen Golf. The thing would have to be re-registered and all that but this is why its imperative now for
the victim to start staking a claim to it, otherwise she may end up £5k out of pocket. Find a brief that does No Win No Fee, this is a straight, solvable, civil case.

HPI HELL - PLEASE HELP! - J Bonington Jagworth
"If the person you're buying it from has forged the above then HPI have no way of knowing - so are they to blame??"

If they won't indemnify you against forged paperwork, there's not a lot of point in asking them about forged cars!

If their PR was any good, they'd pay up straight away and thrash it out with their underwriters afterwards. Anything that undermines their credibility will cost them a lot more in absent punters...
I did hear of a situation where HPI actually paid out on a car that was a different colour than what they came up with on a check.

This was a few years ago on a Nova GTE. It turned out to be a write off and the HPI check should have confirmed this.

They did state that the colour was different to that on their records, but they paid out anyway.

I really don't think you'll have a problem with this. As JBB says, they'll lose 100s of punters if they mess you about, especially if you report it on this site! So the money they save by arguing the point will be lost several times over in reduced turnover.

One other possibility, if the car is otherwise OK, it will eventually hit the market as 'stolen and recovered'. Have you enquired as to the insurers as to what they may be willing to sell it to you for legitimately? You could actually turn this to your advantage!

Best of Luck

HPI HELL - PLEASE HELP! - looking4car
I have no idea where you stand legally, but solicitors don't come cheap.

However, if the insurance company has already paid out to the original owner the pragmatic approach may be to offer to take it off their hands for a modest / compromise price.

They want a dispute no more than you, realise it will be on stolen register, and may feel in a generous mood.

You lose, but not the full whack.
Thanks ever so much for all the advice guys.
I will let you know what happens and will get in touch with a solicitor as soon as hear from HPi.
The car is in the hands of the insurance company now and they have invited an offer from us. I gather we can start very low - say £1200 (given that it will now be stolen/recovered) and see what they say.
With any luck just putting it all on this site might help the HPi people make up their minds.
Thanks again.
if you are not happy with HPi and find that their response is one of washing their hands, have you thought about approaching someone like Watchdog. Sounds like something that they might be interested in and they seem to have quite a lot of persuasive power as invariably they are the bringers of extremely bad PR that no-one really wants.
Given the title of the thread, it's understandable, but so far, all that's happened is that Daniel's girlfriend has bought a car that HPI couldn't verify the identity of. Hopefully, given HPI's guarantee, she'll be able to get her money back.

Everyone is talking about legal action, causing HPI bad publicity and so on, but probably this is just a routine claim that the guarantee expects to deal with and will pay up the actual loss (i.e., the salvage value of the car as a stolen/recovered and potentially any extra depreciation). Chill a bit people, this story might yet have a happy ending.
How did you pay for the car ??? Regards Peter
Sadly not on a barclaycard or anything like that - hard cash I'm afraid.
Agree with last message that HPI may well pay up and any legal action/bad publicity is a last resort....just wanted to know what options people are aware of.


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