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How To Perform a Car Finance Check to See if the Vehicle Has Money Owing

01 October 2021

When you need a new car, it’s exciting to start the hunt for the perfect vehicle. You go through your checklist of necessities – excellent air con, manual gearbox, no more than 100,000kms driven, and preferably a funky colour! However, many kiwis forget to do one crucial thing – a car finance check.

Some owners out there are selling a car with finance owing. You want to avoid these if possible so that you can buy the car outright without any debt already owing on it. Find out how to complete a car finance check when purchasing a vehicle.

Buying a Car From a Dealership

When you buy a car from a dealership such as Stadium Cars, it’s much simpler than buying privately. Car dealers must not only comply with the Consumer Guarantees and Fair Trading Act, but they must also let you know if the car has any money owing on it.

Private dealers are not required to be as upfront as they are not beholden to the Consumer Guarantees Act. If you decide to buy privately from someone, make sure that you complete all of the required checks yourself.

How to Check Who is Registered as the Car Owner

The first step you will need to take is to check who is listed as the owner of the vehicle. You can do this through the NZTA website. Simply fill in the car’s plate number and the owner’s full name to confirm if it is a match.

The search result will only let you know if the details perfectly match NZTA records. If you’ve made a typo or entered the name incorrectly, it may come back as not being a match. Before assuming the person doesn’t own the car, check with them for the correct name spelling.

Complete a Stolen Car Check

The next thing you will need to do is to complete a stolen car check. The Police manage a database of cars listed as stolen that you can check to ensure that you’re not about to purchase stolen property.

To use this system, you just need the car’s number plate information. This can be entered onto the Police’s website to see whether the vehicle is stolen or not. Never buy stolen property as you could be implicated in the theft!

Car Finance Check

Ultimately, you don’t want to get involved with someone who’s selling a car with finance owing. If you do unknowingly buy a vehicle that someone else owes money on, you will not be liable for the debt.

However, if a private seller is in debt for the car, it will usually be listed as security on the loan. This means that if the previous owner stops making their payments, your car could be repossessed. This could be disastrous, as you will lose your personal property due to someone else’s mistake and you won’t receive compensation for this. Don’t get yourself into a tricky situation – always complete a car finance check before purchasing.

You can perform a car finance check by referencing the PPSR - Personal Property Securities Register. If you find the car on there, then it has money owing. Use the number plate, chassis number, or VIN to check.

Is Selling a Car With Finance Owing On It Illegal?

No, it’s not illegal to sell a car that you owe money on. That’s how many consumers get caught out buying these vehicles – it’s a fully legal thing to do. However, you will probably have trouble finding someone to buy the car. It’s recommended that you first pay off the debt so that the new person can own the vehicle free and clear.

A good option is to trade in your car with Stadium Cars and transfer your loan to the new vehicle. This allows you to get rid of your previous vehicle without putting the future owner at risk of repossession.

What Happens If You Buy a Car With Money Owing?

If another person owes money on the car you buy, you have no control over whether they make their repayments or not. You are at risk of losing the vehicle, so it’s not worth getting yourself into this situation.

Buying from a dealership is a great way to find out in advance if someone is selling a car with finance owing because they have to tell you. If you decide to buy privately, complete the steps listed above to protect yourself and make a good choice.

Get Finance with Stadium Finance

Need a hand buying your dream car? Stadium Finance can help with that by offering you a fair deal on a car loan. We offer finance whether you’re buying privately or from a dealership, with flexible repayment options and highly competitive interest rates.

At Stadium Finance, we even offer a free check to let you know if the car you are getting finance for has debt attached to it. Gain peace of mind by getting a loan from us, as you will know that you’re buying the vehicle free and clear.

Get into your new car faster – apply for finance now and we’ll respond to your request within 24 hours. You could be zooming off in your new vehicle by tomorrow!

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