Tag Archives: Experian

Using PCP to buy a new car

When I was young I was taught to save before I bought things. In fact I don’t think my Mum ever owned a credit card.

OK this philosophy doesn’t apply when buying a house but it has always informed my car shopping behaviour.

If I haven’t been able to afford the wheels I wanted, I have either made do with an older car, moved down a brand or used a personalised FXY number plate which I still have.

But apparently nobody saves to buy a new car nowadays so it’s time to get with the beat and understand how the PCP model works.

The PCP car ownership finance model

The market for new cars has been fuelled by competitive finance rates, a tendency for some dealerships to stockpile pre-registered cars at a discount and the ease of car finance methods called Purchase Contract Plans (PCP) and leasing arrangements.

Apparently anyone still wanting to buy a car using cash (older drivers we’re told) may be paying over the odds doing this – how confusing is that? This is because the car salesman is incentivised to sell you a finance deal from the manufacturer that enables him to earn more commission AND discount the car by more than he could do if you paid cash.

Keeping matters simple here, if you have a spare couple of hundred pounds a month (and often much less) you could be driving a brand new small family car and, depending on your contract/likely depreciation/annual mileage you could be able to trade up to a newer/flasher model in Year 2 or 3 and keep paying the same or a lower monthly bill.

Most contracts give you the option to buy out at the end of the period with what is called a balloon payment but I was reassured that 95% of motorists that have chosen to buy a car this way don’t; they simply swap cars and keep going.

Experian research tells us that one in five 18 to 24 year olds lease their car as in hiring one with the majority of cars costing more than £11,000 and nearly four out of ten paying for this by credit of some sort. Whereas 68% of drivers in the 46 to 50 age group pay for cheaper cars (worth £8000 or under) using cash.

I also learned that pet owners can be clobbered severely by wear and tear clauses and apparently few motorists know whether they’ve signed up to a contract or leasing plan.

Whilst the younger drivers are more at home with this monthly instalment method of car ownership and financing, increasingly older motorists are learning how to sign up for a PCP deal then using their ‘opt out’ rights to legitimately cancel that arrangement with the finance house ie pay it off using cash.

The more I learn about this car finance model the simpler and more compelling it becomes. For as long as one’s job is secure and there’s no sign of uncertainty on the horizon.


The critical importance of a thorough car check

pink_lady-showing-key-holding-hand-40899761Whenever it’s to do with motoring, men and women think and act differently at car shopping time.

Despite being the gender most likely to influence the final car shopping decision (in 80% of all cases in the UK), all too often women feel they are being ignored in manufacturer advertising and then intimidated and even overlooked in showrooms. This is often most apparent when she enters a showroom with a man. Too often the salesman ignores her, without finding out who the car is for, preferring to talk to a man during the car buying experience!

And knowing how dire the female feedback about the car shopping experience has been in recent surveys, such as the ones from Good Housekeeping and DifferentSpin.com I am always on the alert for new found knowledge that I can share with our FOXY Lady Approved car dealers and Club members.

Research from Experian’s AutoCheck confirms that one in ten cars they check has outstanding finance recorded and one in eight is listed as an insurance write-off. Think about it – the car you are considering buying from a dealer or privately could be reclaimed by a finance house and/or not owned by the person who is selling it.

Why a thorough car check matters

This is yet another worrying example of what can happen when you go car shopping for a used car in an unregulated industry where complaints are all too common.

Too many of us are too trusting having been seduced by the shiny look of a gleaming ‘new’ car that’s hiding mechanical problems. That’s mechanical problems usually borne out of neglected car care such as regular servicing and/or maintenance. If an elderly car has been neglected for a long period of its life, especially when it comes to regular oil and filter changes, it will likely have lost its reliability and, chances are, it’s waiting to prove this to you just after you’ve bought it or any warranty expires!

Negotiating the price of a used car

When it comes to finalising the price of a used car, the motor industry is in a league of its own due to so many potential smoke and mirrors tactics designed to confuse the car shopper. Whilst a cash transaction is easy most of us consider using finance and may need to part exchange a car. That’s when it gets more complicated and in many cases of used car sales it’s all too confusing by intent.

Sadly many women are too trusting that the advertised price of a used car is a fair one. Or they’ve picked a car that the salesman (it’s usually a male – we’d like to see more females doing this job…) is happy to discount when he knows the car’s background and you don’t. Too many bad cars are being sold as a ‘special price for you’ and it’s only when the ‘warranty’ expires that you start to learn why…

So the point of this blog is to remind all of us to get our cars checked before we buy them. Twice. Once via the likes of Experian’s AutoCheck to make sure the car in question is free of finance and hasn’t been in an accident or stolen.

And again (a different sort of check) to get a trusted mechanic or a dedicated service to give it the once over. Yes, you should be able to rely on the vehicle checks carried out by a car dealer promoting a well known named ‘Approved Car’ scheme but we know of instances where unscrupulous dealers have ticked all the multiple check boxes, actively disguising a missing car servicing history and MOT advisories that hadn’t been addressed pre sale. Clearly the price you pay is critical here, as is any advertising that suggests the car is in better shape than it turns out to be…

So that’s about it from me. When it comes to buying a car, women shouldn’t need to take a man with them and certainly members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club have no need to. Because they can either shop at a FOXY Lady Approved dealer that’s signed a promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women anything they don’t need.’ Or they can ask us for advice and support before shopping elsewhere. And should things go wrong of course.

For example, if the dealer doesn’t get it right or put it right afterwards (most do), we’d then tell the members about this. That’s the FOXY way – fair and feminine by any name!

So if you’re planning on buying a new ie used car soon I recommend you join The Club BEFORE you need us, because we may well help you buy a better car deal than you’d end up with on your own!

And you’ll see we have a special Club offer with Experian’s AutoCheck too (subject to terms and availability) – one of many exclusive member benefits.


Wise holiday advice to pack with your sunscreen

Enjoy Your Summer Break
You’ve booked and saved for the family holiday for ages now and it’s almost here… so it’s time to get excited about your destination and the likely lazy days away from work.

Most women I know prepare a holiday checklist to include essential travel documentation, passport, driving licence, holiday insurance and spending money.

After the tricky family packing most of us do comes the more enjoyable packing to include our own holiday wardrobe, the best sun screen, trendy sunglasses and (to be on the safe side) a mosquito repellent – check!

But who of us has considered protecting our identity this summer? Which is why Experian has some really useful tips that few of us are likely to have considered we imagine.

In the same way you would take sensible steps to protect yourself from the sun, the following easy-to-remember tips can help protect you and your family from identity theft, which could result in a nasty holiday hangover if your information gets into the wrong hands…

1. Pack light

Handbags and wallets often contain lots of items containing personally-identifiable information that you won’t need on holidays. These could prove to be a goldmine for fraudsters, so do a clear-out of your handbag and wallet, removing items such as bills, receipts, out-of-date driving licences and medical prescriptions.
2. Stay in the shade

Don’t expose your personal or credit card information unnecessarily. Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi networks and public computers if you are doing anything which requires you to share passwords or financial information. If you have no other option, remember to check these sites are encrypted (indicated by a padlock symbol and the letters “https:”). Always log out after use.
3. Apply sunscreen regularly

Regularly updating the antivirus and firewalls for your devices is the most simple form of protection here. However, as with sunscreen, many of us forget to effectively reapply. These types of software are updated regularly with patches for specific bugs, so by not updating your software, you run the risk of having gaps in your protection.

4. Don’t get burnt

Identity fraudsters operate to make money and so one of the first ways you can spot fraudulent activity is by  closely monitoring your credit report.

If you spot any unusual activity and suspect that it may be an indication of identity theft, you can contact the Experian Victims of Fraud team who will appoint a dedicated case-worker to investigate and, if necessary, resolve any fraudulent activity not only to protect your bank balance, but also your credit rating. 

I for one wouldn’t have thought of all this and whilst it’s commonsense in most cases it’s good to have the heads up here.