The H i Parkes All Sky Survey (HIPASS) is a blind extragalactic H i 21-cm emission-line survey covering the whole southern sky from declination −90° to +25°. The HIPASS catalogue (HICAT), containing 4315 H i-selected galaxies from the region south of declination +2°, is presented in Meyer et al. (Paper I). This paper describes in detail the completeness and reliability of HICAT, which are calculated from the recovery rate of synthetic sources and follow-up observations, respectively. HICAT is found to be 99 per cent complete at a peak flux of 84 mJy and an integrated flux of 9.4 Jy km s−1. The overall reliability is 95 per cent, but rises to 99 per cent for sources with peak fluxes >58 mJy or integrated flux >8.2 Jy km s−1. Expressions are derived for the uncertainties on the most important HICAT parameters: peak flux, integrated flux, velocity width and recessional velocity. The errors on HICAT parameters are dominated by the noise in the HIPASS data, rather than by the parametrization procedure.