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Vehicle history and car market expert, Cartell.ie, is sounding a warning that the number of second-hand cars offered for sale in Ireland with finance still outstanding has reached record levels. The proportion of vehicles offered for sale with money still owed on them has hit 16.6 per cent, according to Cartell's figures. The figure for this time last year was 14.3 per cent, and it was 12.5 per cent as recently as July 2017. That's also a whopping 75 per cent increase from June 2016.
Jeff Aherne, Director of Cartell.ie, commented: "We have now returned to the highest levels ever recorded by Cartell.ie for vehicles offered for sale with outstanding finance. In December 2014 we saw levels of finance outstanding at 7 per cent, so in four years the rate has more than doubled. A buyer is advised to check a vehicle for outstanding finance as the finance company owns the vehicle until the last payment has been made - the bottom line is that you can lose the vehicle."
Irish car buyers have taken to car finance, especially PCP plans (Personal Contract Purchases) in a very big way, so much so that the total amount of finance now owed by Irish car buyers has topped €1.5 billion. Last year, both the Central Bank and the CCPC (Competition and Consumer Protection Commission) sounded warnings, indeed alarm bells, over the inexorable rise of the PCP finance package, at a time when many are not fully aware of the fine print of such deals.
With global financial experts warning of, at the very least, a major worldwide economic slowdown in 2019, the incidence of cars being sold on without their finance being paid off is likely to rise. That exposes the next buyer to the potential for the vehicle to be repossessed by the finance company or bank, if the debt is not cleared. In such situations, the innocent second owner has no recourse - their car is simply gone and they're out of pocket.