HC Deb 03 March 1960 vol 618 cc1417-8
41. Dr. A. Glyn

asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that anyone buying a second-hand car, other than from a reputable dealer, may lose the car and his money if the vehicle subsequently proves to be the subject of an undischarged hire-purchase commitment; what proposals he has to protect purchasers from such losses; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. J. Rodgers

The risk does not arise if the seller is honest and careful, but there are, unfortunately, exceptions. I am glad to say that, at the request of the Board of Trade, arrangements are being made with effect from 15th March whereby people who are in doubt will be able to inquire through their nearest Citizens' Advice Bureau, before buying, whether the vehicle is registered by H.P. Information Limited as being the subject of a hire-purchase agreement.

Dr. Glyn

I thank my hon. Friend for that very satisfactory reply, but does he not agree that the best protection a prospective purchaser could have would be for the log book to be overstamped or endorsed with the name of the finance company, so that he would be fully aware of the existence of a hire-purchase agreement?

Mr. Rodgers

I understand from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport that there would be serious difficulties about making the registration book a document of title. I believe that the vast majority of hire-purchase agreements on cars are registered with H.P. Information Ltd. I hope that everyone will do his best to publicise the existence of this new facility.

Mr. Bellenger

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that in respect of house purchase the title deeds of a house are registered at the Land Registry. Anything in the nature of a sub-interest is registered on the title deeds? Why cannot that be done in the case of motor cars?

Mr. Rodgers

I think the arrangement I have announced today is an alternative which will safeguard the buyer.

Mr. Nabarro

Will my hon. Friend explain to the House why a registration book cannot be regarded as a title deed for a motor vehicle? Was he not aware of the noises made from the benches behind him this afternoon, expressing support for that view? Will he not re-examine this important point?

Mr. Rodgers

I heard the noises, but I think my hon. Friend should put down a Question on that matter to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport.

Mr. Mitchison

Would the hon. Gentleman consider the insurance position in these cases, in case of accidents?

Mr. Rodgers

I shall certainly examine that aspect of the matter.