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Buying a second-hand car? Be careful it doesn't have money owing on it

Depending on the year of registration, as many as one third of used cars for sale are not fully paid off.

Image: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

MORE THAN ONE in ten used cars for sale in Ireland still have finance owing on them – a number that has risen in the last six months, according to research carried out by Cartell.ie.

When only cars registered in the last three years are surveyed, that number rises to almost one in three, the sample of nearly 6,000 used vehicles revealed.

Of cars registered in 2015, 31.5 per cent had outstanding finance – up from 26.7 per cent in the same survey carried out last year.

For 2014 registered cars there is a 28 per cent chance of a vehicle offered for sale having finance owing. For 2013 registered cars the chance is a 27 per cent.

Even older cars are a risk: 8.1 per cent of 2010 registered vehicles offered for sale had outstanding finance.

This is particularly worrying for used car buyers as the lending institution owns the vehicle until the last payment is made. Buyers could potentially lose the car if it is bought with finance outstanding.

John Byrne of Cartell.ie, said of the survey:

Finance levels for cars offered for sale which are less than 3 years old are over 30%. This means a buyer in the market for a relatively new car needs to be particularly careful. You can lose the car if you purchase it with finance outstanding.

He added that the organisation expects the overall level to rise further, saying: “We anticipate levels reaching or even surpassing 13% in 2017.”

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