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Stay vigilant

Most vehicle transactions proceed without issue. However, you should always exercise caution and conduct thorough research when considering the purchase of a pre-owned vehicle.

Be vigilant and safeguard both your personal safety and financial interests. Keep in mind that if a deal appears significantly under market value or too good to be true, then it may conceal a hidden risk. If something does not feel right about the transaction, trust your instincts; conduct more research and use safeguards before paying.

We have provided some safety tips below to help you have a hassle-free buying experience.

Check the vehicle’s history

Whilst Collecting Cars performs some screening of vehicles (for example, a basic HPI check on every UK-registered vehicle listed), it’s best to do one for yourself. This ensures that you personally have the results of the search and that the search is as up to date as possible. Please also note that data held by different vehicle history services is not always identical. In rare cases, issues may be shown via the Experian service that are not visible on the HPI service, and vice versa. Collecting Cars is not responsible for any data errors or omissions from either third-party service.

Check the vehicle’s documents

Before completing your purchase, you should make sure you have checked the vehicle documents. Check the vehicle registration number (VRN), vehicle identification number (VIN) and the vehicle’s registration document (called a V5C or logbook in the UK). A genuine V5C certificate will have a watermark showing its authenticity. You should also review any previous MOT test certificates and service history documentation.

Inspect the vehicle before bidding at auction or buying via Classifieds

It’s always a good idea to inspect or arrange a professional inspection before committing to bid at auction or buy a vehicle listed in a classified advert. If the seller says that you can’t inspect the vehicle, then be cautious and think why this may be the case.

Use a safe payment method and consider escrow

Be cautious of paying for the vehicle before seeing it and use a trackable payment method, like a credit card when you do. Always consider the use of an escrow service, whether you are buying a vehicle or automobilia or number plates, which will provide you with additional transaction security. Collecting Cars has partnered with as our escrow partner. We recommend the use of escrow particularly if you are unable to see a vehicle prior to purchasing it or if you are selling or buying a number plate.

Be cautious if a seller is requesting to be paid in cash as this carries additional risk for you as a buyer.

Be aware of common red flags and criminal tactics

Additional information on buying and selling vehicles, as well as up to date information on common tactics used by criminals can be found on the VSTAG website.

Make sure you have correct insurance in place before driving away

Tell your insurer that you are purchasing a new vehicle before you pick it up. Not providing up to date information on your new vehicle may otherwise invalidate your insurance.

Report fraud

To report fraud, criminal or suspicious behaviour, please contact Action Fraud in the first instance and/or Collecting Cars. Action Fraud allows victims to report instances where they have been the victim of fraud and these will be added to a national database to combat future occurrence.