You will not want to be in possession of a vehicle that has been stolen from someone else, no matter what a bargain you are getting it for. It is very important that you cover all of you bases in trying to avoid finding yourself in this situation.
Before making a payment or signing any paperwork on a second hand vehicle that you are thinking of buying, make sure that the vehicle was not stolen so that you can put your mind at rest.
Take not of the following tips and DO NOT purchase the vehicle if you are in any way suspicious or wary. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry in this situation.
By law, the responsibility rests with the buyer in ensuring that the vehicle they are purchasing was not stolen. You will definitely want to make sure that you avoid this situation by being careful.
How to make sure that the vehicle you are buying is not stolen
There are several ways to make sure that any vehicle that you purchase has not been involved in any suspicious dealings. Follow these tips to the letter and if you are wary, ask for a second opinion or step away from the situation to be safe.
- Always buy your vehicle from a reputable seller
Try to make sure that wherever possible, you only view vehicles that have come from reputable sellers. If you are looking at cars from second hand dealerships, look into the company’s history, do some research on staff members and look for reviews of the company and previous sales online.
Ask around of friends and family members if they have ever heard anything about the said company. If you are buying a vehicle at an auction, only attend auctions held by reputable auctioneering houses with good reviews, a longstanding good reputation and a solid, happy customer base.
If you are buying cars on Gumtree from a private seller, look online for information about them, look at their personal Facebook accounts and try to find information that proves that they are who they say they are.
Often, a good thing to do is to come right out and ask the individual for some proof of identity. Say that you do not mean to be rude but you know someone who was sold a stolen vehicle by an individual operating under a fake name.
- Look into the history of the vehicle
Invest in a check into the history of the vehicle. You will need the VIN number for this and you may not be able to find any history or the history may sound suspicious.
It is a good idea, if this occurs, to walk away from the sale and perhaps even to report it to the police.
- Check the Natis registration document
Ask for an original copy of the Natis registration document for your vehicle and check that is has a Department of Transport watermark. If it does not, walk away from the sale and report the dealer.
If your seller says that he or she does not have the Natis registration document and that it has been sent to be updated at the Traffic Department, wait to see it yourself rather than trusting the individual.
You should also check that the registration and VIN numbers match what is on the Natis registration document.
- Look for obvious signs of tampering around the VIN number on the vehicle or in any of the joins between the structure of the vehicle to ensure that it has not been tampered with to change its look.
Many companies will be able to do these check-ups for you. If you do not have the time, the experience or the stomach to do the detective work you can ask an auto company to look into it for you. Auto Trader is one such company who offers these services.