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Checking the Paperwork When Selling Your Used Car

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 18 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
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Once the deal has been done and the money has changed hands, it is time to transfer legal ownership of the car to its new owner. In other words, the paperwork has to be done. Some find this a little bit daunting, but it is, in fact, very simple.

The key document is the registration certificate (V5C). The buyer will probably want to see this in order to check the car’s details, so it is difficult to sell a car without one. If it has been lost, get a replacement from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

It is important to tell the DVLA as soon as the car is sold. Failure to do this means the seller will continue to be responsible for paying the car’s road tax as well as any penalties for non-payment of it. In addition, the seller may receive mail relating to motoring offences committed in the car. Once the DVLA has been informed, the seller should receive an acknowledgement letter confirming that he is no longer responsible for the car.

Inform the DVLA

When selling a car privately, always keep a separate note of the buyer’s name and address. Complete section six of the registration certificate, entitled ‘New Keeper or New Name/New Address Details’. Both the seller and the buyer must sign section eight and send the V5C to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BA. Give the buyer the V5C/2 green section once it has been completed properly.

If the seller does not have a V5C, he can still inform the DVLA that he no longer has the vehicle. To do this, the seller must write to the DVLA quoting the vehicle registration mark, make and model, the exact date of the sale and the name and address of the new keeper. DVLA records will not be complete until the new keeper tells the DVLA in writing, and until the buyer does this, the police may contact the seller if they have to make any enquiries regarding the car.

Fight Clocking

By entering the car’s mileage in the box provided, the seller can help the DVLA fight clocking. This is where a car’s odometer, or speedometer, is turned back fraudulently to suggest a car has covered fewer miles than it actually has.

When selling a used car to a trader – be it a dealer, auctioneer, insurer, scrap yard or finance company – the process differs slightly. Obtain the details and signature of the trader to complete the V5C/3 yellow section of the registration certificate and post it to the DVLA. Pass the rest of the document on to the trader.

It is worth checking that the paperwork is in order and that both the seller and buyer know exactly what has to be done before handing over the keys. As well as sorting out the registration certificate, the seller should hand over the current MOT certificate and the car’s service book so that the new owner can keep these documents up to date.

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