Main content

Second hand car loans & Non-League Finances

Second-hand car buyers are being left with debts owed by the previous owner of their car. Trading Standards have called for so called 'log-book loans' to be banned.

Adrian Goldberg presents cutting edge investigative journalism, as well as taking on listeners' campaigns and consumer issues.

Unwitting second-hand car buyers are being chased for hundreds of pounds in debts on loans taken out by previous owners of their car. Drivers raising finance with so-called 'logbook loans' secured on their vehicles are selling on their cars before settling their accounts.

Because logbook loans are secured using a Victorian law called the Bill of Sales Act, they offer much less protection to consumers than other forms of credit. Under the Act, a borrower taking out a logbook loan actually hands ownership of the vehicle over to the lender. Not only does that mean that the borrower has no legal right to sell on the vehicle but any innocent third party buying it also has no rights of ownership.

5 live Investigates speaks to one victim who paid £1,100 for a second-hand car. A year after buying the car, the owner received a letter from a loan company to say she wasn't the legal owner of the vehicle and was told would have to pay £600 to keep it - because the previous owner of the car had taken out a loan secured on the vehicle but had sold it on before settling all of his debts.

It's estimated that around 40,000 bills of sale were registered in 2008-09 in England and Wales and experts warn these loans could become more popular as credit remains squeezed by mainstream lenders. The Trading Standards Institute says loans secured on bills of sale should be outlawed. The previous Labour government consulted on whether to ban the practice but the coalition government has decided not to legislate.

Also on the programme, why are so many non-league clubs going to the wall? Is it that small businessmen have over-ambitious ideas, destroying the clubs they buy and letting down local creditors?

John Beech of Coventry University has completed an extensive survey of non-league finances - he's discovered that there have been even more bankruptcies in non-league than league clubs.

5 live Investigates also speaks to Guy Cooper of Halesowen Town's supporters club, who tells how the club went broke, David Newton, the FA's head of integrity, and Kevin Rye of Supporters Direct.

To contact the programme, email goldberg@bbc.co.uk - or send comments via Twitter to @5LInvestigates.

1 hour

Clip

Broadcast

Subscribe and listen every week

Subscribe and listen every week

Get every episode of 5 live Investigates automatically downloaded on your device

Podcast