South West Wales

Ystalyfera woman stung by 'logbook-loan' on new car

Helen Thompson, from Ystalyfera

A motorist from Swansea Valley has backed calls for a change in the law on so-called "logbook-loans".

Helen Thompson, from Ystalyfera, bought a second-hand car last year - but weeks later a finance company tried to repossess it.

The previous owner had taken out a loan secured on the vehicle and had not settled the debt before selling it on.

The Law Commission said new legislation was needed to make it a criminal offence.

Ms Thompson paid £1,200 for the VW Golf to take her autistic son to college. But the man she bought it from had borrowed £500 against it and had not made the repayments before selling it to her.

"I bought the car in June, and then I received a letter saying that they [the finance company] were coming to get the car because it had a logbook-loan on it," she said.

"I contacted them saying I didn't have the loan on the car. It went on for weeks and weeks."

Bailiffs then turned up at her door trying to repossess the car, she said, so she removed the wheels from the vehicle so it could not be taken away.

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Media captionMs Thompson said she has since had to purchase another car

"Now it's sitting there and I can't do anything with it," she added.

Ms Thompson has since had to purchase another car, borrowing money from friends and family which has put her in debt.

Citizens Advice said at least 100 people had been caught out like Ms Thompson in the past couple of years.

Stephen Lewis, of the Law Commission, said: "We're going to change the law so people in Helen's position, they will be the owners of the vehicle, they will be fully protected. The lender can't come and re-possess the vehicle anymore.

"What the lender will then have to do to proceed is sue the borrower."

If the UK Government accepts the Law Commission's recommendation, it could become law next year.

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