Step-by-Step Guide: How to Claim for Mis-Sold Car Finance

If you've taken out a Hire Purchase (HP) agreement to finance your car, you might be wondering if you were mis-sold. HP is a popular type of car finance deal in the UK, but it's not always sold responsibly. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has found widespread evidence of mis-selling in the motor finance industry, including HP and other types of agreements like Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) and Personal Contract Hire (PCH).

In this guide, we'll explain what mis-sold HP car finance looks like, how to know if you're affected, and what you can do to claim compensation with the help of our experienced team of specialist lawyers at Claim For My Car.

What is Hire Purchase (HP) Car Finance?

Before we dive into mis-selling, let's clarify what HP car finance is. With a Hire Purchase agreement, you typically:

  • Pay a deposit (often around 10% of the car's value)
  • Make fixed monthly payments over an agreed term (usually 2-5 years)
  • Have the option to purchase the car for personal use at the end of the term for a small fee

Throughout the agreement, the finance company owns the car. You're essentially hiring it with the intention to buy. This differs from PCP finance, where you have the choice to return the car or pay a larger "balloon payment" at the end, and PCH (also known as car leasing), where you simply rent the vehicle for a set period without the option to buy.

HP is one of the most common types of car finance agreements in the UK, alongside PCP. According to a recent FCA report, around 9 out of 10 new cars in the UK are sold on finance, with HP and PCP accounting for the majority of these deals.

How is HP Car Finance Mis-Sold?

Mis-selling happens when the car dealer or finance provider fails to act in your best interests when offering finance options. The FCA investigation has uncovered evidence of widespread mis-selling in the car finance industry, often due to poor advice, irresponsible lending practices, and discretionary commission arrangements.

Some examples of how HP finance might be mis-sold include:

  • Failing to properly assess your ability to afford the monthly payments on the car finance loan
  • Not clearly explaining the total cost of the finance deal, including interest rates and fees
  • Pressuring you into signing without giving you enough time to make an informed decision
  • Selling you add-on finance products (like GAP insurance) that aren't suitable for your needs
  • Misrepresenting the car's condition, mileage, or history during the sales process

In many cases, mis-selling occurs because of the payment of commissions to car dealerships by lenders. These discretionary commission arrangements incentivise salespeople to push customers towards more expensive finance deals, as they can earn higher commissions by charging higher interest rates.

The FCA estimates that these commission models have cost UK motorists £300 million per year in extra interest charges. In light of these findings, the regulator has implemented an FCA ban on discretionary commission arrangements in the motor finance market as of January 2021.

Signs You May Have a Mis-Sold HP Car Finance Claim

Still not sure if you've been mis-sold? Here are some key indicators to watch out for:

  • The monthly payments are higher than you were initially told by the car dealership salesperson
  • You weren't given a clear explanation of the total amount payable over the finance term
  • The dealer rushed you into signing the HP agreement without sufficient time to review it properly
  • You weren't asked about your income, expenditure, or credit report to assess affordability
  • The car has turned out to be worth significantly less than you paid, or has hidden problems
  • You've struggled to make the repayments from the start, causing financial difficulty
Signs You May Have a Mis-Sold HP Car Finance Claim

If one or more of these signs apply to your situation, it's worth making an enquiry with our claims team. You could have a strong case for a mis-sold HP car finance claim.

How Much Compensation Can You Claim for Mis-Sold HP Car Finance?

The exact amount of compensation you could receive for a mis-sold HP agreement depends on your individual circumstances. Factors that will be considered include:

  • The total amount you've paid in interest and fees over the term of the finance deal
  • Any negative impact on your credit score from unaffordable monthly payments
  • The difference in cost between your HP deal and a fairer, more suitable alternative
  • Stress, inconvenience, and hardship caused by the mis-selling and any subsequent financial difficulties

Compensation amounts can vary widely, from hundreds to tens of thousands of pounds. In 2022, the average mis-sold HP car finance claim pay out was around £5,500, but some claimants have received significantly more.

To get an accurate idea of what you could claim, it's best to speak with our specialist mis-selling claims team at Claim For My Car. We can assess your case and give you a personalised compensation estimate, usually within a matter of months.

How to Make a Mis-Sold HP Car Finance Claim

Think you might have a claim? Here are the key steps to take:

1. Gather Your Evidence

Start by collecting all the relevant paperwork, such as:

  • Your HP agreement, terms & conditions, and any other finance documents
  • Correspondence with the car dealer or finance company, including emails and letters
  • Proof of payments, such as bank statements or receipts
  • Any evidence of affordability checks (or lack thereof) carried out by the lender
  • Documentation of any problems with the car or issues with the sale process

The more evidence you have to support your case, the stronger your mis-sold HP claim will be.

2. Submit a Complaint to the Lender

Next, you need to make a formal complaint to the finance provider. Write to them (by email or letter), detailing:

  • Why you believe your HP finance deal was mis-sold, with reference to specific examples
  • The evidence you have to support your claim, such as the documentation gathered in step 1
  • What you want them to do to put things right, e.g., refund interest paid or compensate for losses

Give the lender up to 8 weeks to investigate your complaint and provide a final response. They have a legal obligation to respond to your complaint within this timeframe.

3. Escalate to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)

If the finance company rejects your complaint or fails to respond satisfactorily within the 8-week deadline, you can escalate your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The FOS is an independent body that settles disputes between consumers and financial services businesses, including car finance providers. They'll review your complaint and decide if mis-selling occurred. If they agree with your case, they can order the lender to pay you compensation.

To escalate to the FOS, you'll need to fill in their online complaint form and provide details of your case, including copies of any correspondence with the lender. The FOS will then investigate and provide a decision, usually within 3-6 months.

4. Consider Legal Action

If your claim is rejected by the FOS, or if you're not satisfied with their decision, your final option is to consider legal action against the finance provider.

However, taking a mis-sold HP claim to court can be expensive and time-consuming. It's crucial to get advice from a solicitor who specialises in mis-sold car finance claims, such as our legal partners at Claim For My Car, before deciding to proceed with legal action.

Most mis-sold HP claims are settled without needing to go to court, either directly with the lender or via the FOS. Working with our reputable claims team at Claim For My Car can help you navigate the claims process effectively and achieve the best possible outcome.

Claim Your Mis-Sold HP Car Finance Compensation Today

Claim Your Mis-Sold HP Car Finance Compensation Today

If you think you've been mis-sold HP car finance, don't wait to take action. You could be owed thousands of pounds in compensation, and our experienced claims experts at Claim For My Car are here to help you get it.

As leading specialists in mis-sold car finance claims, we've helped countless clients successfully claim compensation for mis-sold HP, PCP, and other types of finance agreements. We know exactly what to look for in mis-selling cases and how to build strong claims that get results.

Get in touch today by making an enquiry for a free, no-obligation assessment of your mis-sold HP claim. We'll review your case, gather the necessary evidence, and deal with the lender on your behalf, fighting for the maximum compensation possible. And with our no-win, no-fee service, there's no risk or upfront cost to you.

Mis-Sold HP Car Finance FAQs

What is the deadline for making a mis-sold HP car finance claim?

In general, you have 6 years from the date of the HP agreement (or 3 years from when you discovered the mis-selling) to make a claim. However, it's best to act as soon as possible while the evidence is still readily available.

Can I claim if I've already paid off the HP agreement?

Yes, you can still claim compensation for a mis-sold HP deal even if you've finished making payments. The key factor is whether you were mis-sold the finance in the first place, not your current status.

Will claiming for mis-sold HP affect my credit score?

No, making a mis-selling complaint will not impact your credit rating. Claims and their outcomes are not recorded on your credit file, so your score will not be affected.

Can I claim if I defaulted on the HP agreement?

Yes, you can still make a mis-sold HP claim if you've missed payments or defaulted on the agreement. In fact, unaffordable repayments are a common sign of mis-selling and could strengthen your case.

Can I claim if I voluntarily terminated the HP agreement?

Yes, you can claim even if you voluntarily terminated the HP agreement early. Terminating due to financial difficulties could actually support your mis-selling claim, as it suggests the finance deal was unaffordable from the start.

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