Finance company Equipment Rental phoned Mark Smith out of the blue on Wednesday and told him they were repossessing the Volvo V40 car.They said Five Oaks, which borrowed huge amounts of cash from finance companies to pay for stock, never handed the money over and £9,631 was still outstanding on the account.And worse still, the caller from Equipment Rental told Mr Smith he was one of hundreds in a similar position.The head of the police financial crime unit, Barry Faudemer, said they were ‘assessing information’ from an initial phone conversation with Mr Smith, but added no investigation had yet been launched.The news has devastated Mr Smith, who now fears he will get another call from a finance company because his wife bought a Peugeot from Five Oaks three weeks ago.He said: ‘I have got a bill of sale for the Volvo registered in my name.
As far as I was concerned it was happy days, it was a nice car and it was mine.
Then I get a call from Equipment Rental saying it’s not yours, it’s ours.’He added: ‘I was gutted.
On Wednesday night, I thought it was a load of rubbish.
I thought it was the same as in the UK, that if you buy a car in good faith you have legislation to protect you, especially when you buy from a reputable company.’This could cripple us.
All of our plans could be destroyed.
We are gutted and dismayed we have not got any legal protection and we have just taken out a mortgage, so we cannot get any more finance.’Nobody was answering the phones at Five Oaks this morning.A statement from Equipment Rental issued this morning said: ‘Equipment Rental Finance understands that certain individuals may at present be experiencing difficulties in relation to vehicle purchases.
We are carefully investigating these matters.
However, individuals should be aware that in such instances the matter should be taken up immediately with the people who sold them the vehicle and that it may also be appropriate to take legal advice.’With respect to the purchases made using finance provided by our company, we will be writing to those persons affected in the very near future with details of the situation and the options available to them.
We can confirm that we do not have in our possession any of Five Oaks Garage’s customer vehicles.’It added that customers with doubts about cars should seek legal advice or carry out an HPI check to see if the vehicle is subject to any finance agreement.It added: ‘Because of the present difficulties and in order to assist those who may be affected by the current problems, Equipment Rental Finance will for the next two weeks offer free HPI checks to members of the public who are genuinely concerned about any vehicle they are considering buying or have purchased recently.’Anyone in a similar situation can contact the police’s financial crime unit on 612612.