Avoid Dodgy Dealings

Don't get stuck with a virtual vehicle or a cloned car

Avoiding the dodgy dealerUnfortunately there are fraudsters out there but they can be easily avoided using Seen a Car's specialist advice and tips on buying securely.

Our step by step guide to buting an honest car.
  1. Check the Car

    • AutoCheck by Experian - 26 checks on everything from outstanding finance to VIN numbers, results in seconds and £30,000 of data guarantee cover if there's an error. It protects you against buying a dangerous car, or a car that wasn't the seller's to sell. And at £19.99 it's an awful lot of protection for much less than the price of a trip to the petrol station
    • Is it worth the money? A valuation from Glass's Guide can give you an indication of whether the car you're looking at is overpriced or a steal - and all for just £3.75!
    • Check the car's chassis number (VIN).  You'll find it at the base of the windscreen, as well as on a small metal plate/tab underneath the bonnet. Make sure these numbers match, are clearly visible and have not been tampered with or removed
    • Has the car had a recent respray? Look for overspray that may appear on windows and door frames, or evidence of an earlier colour behind door seals
    • With the doors of the car closed , walk around the car and check the distance between any gaps between the doors and frame. Large or inconsistent gaps are signs that the car has been repaired at some point
    • Ensure the vehicle is in good working order . If you (or someone you know) knows what to look for don't be shy about asking to check the car's engine, chassis and main electrical functions
    • And if you don't know what you're looking for? Book a vehicle inspection from Dekra and for just £99 your car will be given a thorough going over by one of the UK's leading vehicle inspection services

      You will be able to obtain the VIN (Chasis Number) over the phone, whichwill allow you to varify the information provided to you by the seller -but we  advise you only go out to see the car once you have receivedthe Vehicle History Check by post or online.

  2. Check the seller 

    • Avoid sellers who say they live overseas and can't, therefore, let you see the vehicle in question
    • Call the seller on their landline number whenever possible
    • Try to view the car at the seller's address, not at a location suggested for its 'convenience'  
    • Ask for a copy of the seller's ID and proof of address to confirm the seller is who they say they are - but be aware the registered keeper as shown on the V5C need not always be the vehicle's legal owner
  3. Check the paperwork

    • When viewing the car, ask to see: 
      • Check the mileage on the dashboard against the stamp in the service history book and your Experian AutoCheck report. Your £19.99 AutoCheck will display the mileage recorded on the DVLA database when the vehicle last had its MOT - giving you the confidence of knowing that the mileage shown in the car is the correct one
      • The car's log book (V5 or V5C)
      • Service history book
      • A full set of original keys
      • All MOTs and receipts for repairs or work done 
    • The lack of any of the above does not, in itself, mean your car is suspect - but ask why these items are missing. If you're not entirely happy with the explanation, or if a combination of these and other factors sets alarm bells ringing, walk away
    • Check the Log Book (also known as the V5 or V5C) for a DVLA water mark. Also check that the address on the V5C document is the same as the seller's address you are visiting. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of the log book, call the DVLA on 0870 241 1878
    • When viewing a car, why not take someone with you? They can check the car, VIN numbers and VC5 document whilst you deal with the seller. If you bring a Dekra inspector with you, they can check the car whilst you negotiate
    • Paying by bankers draft is more secure than paying by cash and will act as  evidence of your having paid for the car. For alternative methods and more advice, see ways to pay for your car

Buying a car privately is as safe as any other private transaction. And at seenacar.com we're making it safer still. Take the time to carry out these checks, buy with confidence - and enjoy your new car.

Useful links

Metropolitan Police Fraud Alert
DVLA help for buyer

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Services to help you buy your car

Glass's Warranty Direct AutoCheck Dekra