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Buyer Beware!

Although it’s not a new story, the news that 130,000 blank V5 (vehicle registration) documents were stolen some time ago has again hit the headlines.

The fact that car thieves can create “authentic” documentation on what is actually a stolen vehicle creates all sorts of problems for the unwary buyer.  It can mean that an innocent buyer can end up losing both the money they paid for the vehicle and the vehicle itself.  Not a happy situation.

The way to avoid this problem is in theory quite simple.  Apart from doing all the usual HPI checks, buyers with doubts should look for several extra points:

  • Look at the service history – it should be complete but stolen (cloned) vehicles often have little or no history
  • Look carefully at the V5 document.  Although it will look authentic, the stolen documents have a known series of serial numbers, so if in doubt take a note of the number and check with DVLA
  • Look closely at the tax disc – it may show signs of tampering
  • Most “suspect” sales are private ones where only mobile phone contact is shown – try to find a proper address rather than a meeting point


“Let the buyer beware”

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