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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Hire Purchase Agreements




Deirdre Vann Bourke, Information Manager with South Munster Citizens Information Service discusses hire purchase (HP) agreements.

“A HP agreement is a credit agreement. You hire an item (for example, a car, laptop or television) and pay an agreed amount in monthly payments. You do not own the item until you have made the final payment. Personal Contract Plans (PCPs) are a type of hire purchase agreement.”

What you should know:

* Some HP agreements have a balloon payment at the end of the agreement which is normally higher than your usual monthly payments.
* You do not legally own the item until after the final payment is made, but you do have full use of the item throughout the payment period.
* You cannot legally sell the item until the agreement has been paid off.
* If you do not keep up the repayments, the item can be seized.
* You have the right to end the agreement at any time.

You can take out a hire purchase agreement with a bank, building society or finance company. Hire purchase can also be arranged through a retailer. If you take out a HP agreement with a retailer, you should know that the store or garage is not actually providing the loan. It is acting as an agent for a finance company and will earn commission from the finance company for arranging the loan. This is called being a credit intermediary and the agent must be authorised by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to do this.

Hire purchase agreements usually last between two and five years. Most HP agreements last three years. You should read a hire purchase contract very carefully before committing yourself to any agreement.

Personal Contract Plans (PCPs)

This is a specific type of hire purchase agreement offered by car dealers as a way to pay for a car. In a PCP contract, you pay a deposit and continue to make regular instalments, usually over three years. There is usually a large lump sum payment at the end of the contract.

At the end of the contract you can either:

Pay the final lump sum and keep the car, or
Return the car to the seller (you can take out a new PCP arrangement on another car)

You do not own the car until the final payment is made. You must stick to certain restrictions on usage and maintenance, such as mileage limits and servicing obligations.

PCPs can seem very attractive because they usually have very low monthly repayments but they can be very complex compared to other types of car finance. It is important to understand all the terms and conditions before you sign up for a PCP.

Hire purchase costs

To calculate the real cost of a hire purchase agreement:

Find the total hire purchase price
Find the price of a cash purchase of the same item
Deduct the cash price (2) from the total hire purchase price (1)

Different lenders have different hire purchase costs. Some will quote an APR (Annual Percentage Rate). This can help you to compare hire purchase costs. It may be misleading to compare a hire purchase APR with that of a normal bank or credit union loan. This is because you are paying for the hire of the goods. Unlike a loan, you do not own them until the last instalment of the HP agreement has been paid.

There is a maximum interest rate of 23% APR for hire purchase agreements since 16 May 2022.

Hire purchase charges and fees

Hire purchase agreements may also involve additional fees and charges. These fees and charges vary, but may include:

* Documentation fees
* Penalty fees for missed or late payments
* Interest surcharge for missed repayments - this means an additional amount of interest will be charged on the amount unpaid
* Completion fee for ownership of the goods to pass to you – sometimes you have to pay a balloon payment much higher than your usual monthly payments
* Repossession charges - you could be charged for repossession costs or for failure to take reasonable care
* Rescheduling charge - if your lender agrees to change the loan terms

Any balloon payment charged on a hire purchase loan has the effect of postponing part of the costs until after the loan. This means that in the earlier months and years, you are paying less off your loan than you would for a bank or a credit union loan. You have to pay the balloon payment to clear the loan and to become the legal owner.

What must be in a HP agreement contract?

A hire purchase agreement is drawn up and signed by you (the hirer) and on behalf of the owner (the finance company). If there is a retailer involved, for example, a garage, it also signs the agreement and supplies the items in question.

The hire purchase must include:

* The item covered under the agreement, for example, a car or computer
* The cash price of the item
* The hire purchase price. This is the total amount you will pay over the life of the loan. The hire purchase price is the monthly payment or instalment multiplied by the number of instalments which you have to make.
* The amount of each instalment you have to pay. Sometimes the final instalment is much larger than all the others (a balloon payment).
* The date you must pay each instalment
* The names and addresses of all the parties to the agreement.
* A statement that you have the right to withdraw from the agreement within 10 days of receiving a copy of the agreement. This is known as a cooling off period. Often you are asked to give away this right by signing a waiver. You do not have to sign this waiver
* A statement that you must tell the owner (finance company) of the locations of the item
* The words "Hire Purchase Agreement" which must be stated clearly and in a prominent place on the agreement form
* The fees, charges, and penalties that apply
* The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) charged (for agreements made since 16 May 2022).

Unless all of these requirements are contained in the agreement, the agreement may not be legally enforceable.

Can I end a HP agreement?

You can end the agreement at any time by giving notice in writing to the owner of the goods (the finance company). This is a legal right under the Consumer Credit Act 1995. You should be aware that breaking a hire purchase contract before its normal end date usually involves penalties.

You have two options:

* Buy the item earlier than planned. You can own the item by paying the difference between the amount already paid and the total hire purchase price. There is usually a reduction on the overall amount due as you are paying the loan off earlier than planned. This reduction is calculated using a recognised formula for early loan repayments. However, the amount of any reduction is relatively small.

* Return the item to the owner and pay half the amount of the total hire purchase price (if the total of instalments already paid have not reached that amount). This is called the half-rule. You do not have to pay half the hire purchase price immediately. Ending an agreement using the half rule may not always be the best solution.

For more information in relation to this topic, please contact a member of the local Citizens Information team in Kerry on 0818 07 7860, they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary. The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. Alternatively you can email on or log on to for further information.



Killarney and District Motor Club members honoured by Motorsport Ireland

By Cormac Casey Several members of Killarney and District Motor Club were honoured at the Motorsport Ireland awards lunch in Dublin on Wednesday. The highlight of the event is the […]




By Cormac Casey

Several members of Killarney and District Motor Club were honoured at the Motorsport Ireland awards lunch in Dublin on Wednesday.

The highlight of the event is the announcement of the sport’s top awards.

Kilkenny’s Jack Brennan (19) was named Young Rally Driver of the Year, while Wexford native Jack Byrne was named Young Racing Driver of the Year and the International Driver of the Year award went to recently crowned FIA Junior World Rally Champion, William Creighton.

Muckross-based co-driver Noel O’Sullivan was presented with his Irish Tarmac Rally Championship winning trophy.

This year saw the introduction of the Motorsport Ireland President’s Awards which celebrate the achievements of  clubs and organisations.

Killarney and District Motor Club won in the innovation category for their work with their KDMC 2 initiative thanks to the efforts of the club’s vice chairman Mike O’Shea.

Rally Rescue teams were also recognised and the club’s Mike Cleary picked up an award for his role he played in what was a difficult year for rescue crew operators.

Tom O’Riordan, who looks after ambulance procurement on the club’s events, was presented with an FIA Volunteer Pin by Motorsport Ireland President Aiden Harper.

Killarney Advertiser Journalist Sean Moriarty was presented with an award for best use of of PR and media in 2023.


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Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest ‘thank you’ event at Brehon

Participation in the 2023 Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest has grown by more than 100% since 2020 with 98% of those who gave feedback saying they would attend similar […]




Participation in the 2023 Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest has grown by more than 100% since 2020 with 98% of those who gave feedback saying they would attend similar events again in 2024.

Feedback from more than 100 people who attended this year’s Fest events from 7th to 14th October was positive with 91% stating they were satisfied.
The Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest is held annually over the course of a week to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.
It aims to raise awareness of the available supports and services in Kerry as well as empower people to engage with the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ through offering a dynamic and interactive programme of events.
99% percent of respondents, most of whom identified as female, said they would recommend the Fest to friends next year. Some key notes for improvement included a request for more events with wider variety throughout the county.
The Chair of the Interagency Steering Group, John Drummey from Kerry Mental Health Association, said: “We wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to event organisers, community groups, businesses, funders and partners that facilitated the Fest’s dynamic and interactive programme of events in 2023. We are encouraged to see such growth in numbers attending the Fest events with a 50% increase from 2022. We are already making plans for the Fest from 5 to 12t October 2024 and we are looking forward to building on this year’s successes. That said, there is always room for improvement and we would welcome suggestions for new events and activities.”
Many of the event organisers attended a ‘thank-you’ event at the Brehon Hotel, Killarney, courtesy of the Kerry Volunteer Centre to coincide with the annual International Volunteer Day, December 5.
The Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest was organised by an interagency steering group made up of local agencies that support wellbeing in our community.
The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, Kerry Recreation & Sports Partnership, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, KDYS, Kerry Volunteer Centre and Family Resource Centres throughout the county.

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