I was picking up a student of mine for a driving lesson from a local train station when I noticed a man inspecting a car in one of the bays. It soon occured to me that he was planning to buy the vehicle from the current owners. Here is some advice if you are planning to buy a used vehicle privately.
1. Do an HPI check on the vehicle before considering buying it. This would reveal if it has finance owning, has been written off by an insurance company following an accident, or any other unusual activity. This is especially important if the car is only a few years old and is being offered at a reasonably bargain price.
2. Make the deal at the car owner's house. If there is nothing wrong with the vehicle, or the seller is the true owner, there should be no reason why they would be trying to hide their home address. While it is your responsibilty as a buyer to make sure you are happy with the condition of the vehicle being sold, be wary of anyone who asks you to meet at a motorway service station, train station or other public place, they might have something to hide.
3. Take someone familiar with cars along to the sale (especially if this is your first time of buying second-hand). You don't really need a mechanic, but asking the right questions could help delve into a car's history. Does it have a service history, MOT, registration documents?
4. Check documents carefully. Is the name on the car registration document (DVLA Log book) that of the seller, if not why not? If you suspect anything walk away. If you buy a stolen or cloned vehicle, the police will seize it, and you will lose your money.
5. Make sure you have insurance to drive any vehicle you buy. There is no special dispensation that allows you drive a newly bought car home. If you haven't got insurance, get someone with full comprehensive insurance who KNOWS they can drive any vehicle with the owner's consent with 3rd party cover to take it home for you.
6. Get a receipt for the sale, with the date and time acknowledged. This will help to avoid any parking tickets or driving offences involving the car before you became the owner.
7. Don't forget to buy insurance when you get home if you didn't have any before, new car insurance rules came into effect in june 2011 which means all registered vehicles need to be insured even if not being driven temporarily unless a SORN is declared.
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