General Data Protection Regulations – Fit For Purpose?

Friday, 12. January 2018

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

I start the year in total confusion, not because I’m dosed up with anti flu treatments but the fact that we are seeing tighter and tighter legislation being introduced by the FCA and now Data Protection with the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) to be introduced in 2018 but little that genuinely helps consumers.


The FCA rules deal with fine detail, record keeping, annual returns and providing contractual information that few customers ever read. But there are no competence tests on those providing or arranging the finance and when you start digging around the various Acts of Parliament, as I’ve been doing recently to prepare my latest report on PCP’s, they are shockingly weak.


Whilst we are now going to have to come up with data storage routines that protect customers from having data collected from our computer systems via a virus with all sorts of penalties if something goes wrong there is still no protection against false information being provided on the Internet that could be costing customers fortunes.


As an exercise I went onto a well known legal forum before Christmas and posted a problem. I said that I had bought a car costing £14,000 from an individual. At the time I asked the seller if there was any finance on the car and he told me there wasn’t. In fact I wrote on his receipt ‘Free from any finance’ and got him to initial it.


Several weeks later I had a knock on the door from a representative of a finance company. They showed me a copy of a PCP agreement, signed by the person I bought the car from, and said that as this was their car I should hand the keys over and it was then up to me to recover my money from their customer.


I said that I had fobbed off the representative but what should I do? They would be calling the following day to collect the car. I quickly got a response from one of the forum members asking if I had checked HPI to see if the car was on finance. I told him no.


He then inferred that I was pretty stupid and that there was nothing I could do about the situation, I would have to hand the keys over as the car remains the property of the funder until the final payment has been made, along with any option to purchase fee. Others on the forum were agreeing, some with sympathy at losing £14,000.


The fact is that this was totally incorrect advice and had I followed it I would certainly have been out of pocket to the tune of £14,000. The finance company would have asked me to sign a document confirming that I had voluntarily surrendered the car and the problem would then be passed to me. This is incredibly bad advice. In fact I would be regarded in law as an innocent buyer.


There is no legal obligation on the part of lenders to record finance details on HPI, or any other platform, so there is no legal obligation on your part to check it. Of course it would be wise to carry out a check but you shouldn’t lose your car if you don’t. And this is my point.


This information was provided on a legal platform so who should take the blame for my loss when I find out that I could have kept the car? Who is responsible for the data? It’s all well and good going to extreme lengths to protect client information but what about the quality of data presented to you on web sites? Wrong priorities! Graham Hill

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