Please remember that JapClassifieds is merely a platform used for advertising vehicles. We do not offer any vehicles for sale ourselves. All adverts you see on the website have been submitted by independent parties and JapClassifieds have no affiliation with any sellers.
1. Do Your Research
Find out about the model of car that you want to buy, check that the car you are looking at is of the correct specification. When buying a second-hand vehicle you should make sure that the vehicle you are buying is the property of the seller and has not been stolen.
A history check will also identify whether the given vehicle has been reported as an insurance write-off, has any outstanding finance on it or mileage inconsistencies. Do your own history check. This will protect you and will give you current information for the vehicle. Do not accept a history check from the vendor; it may be false or at best out of date, it is best to do or repeat the check after viewing the vehicle and its documents.
If you think the car is stolen, report this to your local police. However, the Police and the HPI check cannot confirm ownership details – they can only confirm the status of the genuine vehicle with the registration number and other vehicle details given.
2. Contact Details
When buying privately it’s wise to do your research on the seller as well as the vehicle. Get a landline telephone number but you should be aware that it could be for a public telephone box or might transfer to another phone. Always meet a private seller at their home address, Check the car is registered on the V5c to that address and be sure the seller resides there.
If you feel unhappy with the other party trust your instincts and walk away. Do not be tempted by that elusive bargain.
3. Vehicle Numbers & Marks
Check that the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) matches that on the documents, and has not been tampered with. The VIN number is in at least three places on a vehicle. The ‘visible’ VIN plate is under the windscreen, on the nearside (left) of the car, under where the tax disc should be. The ‘VIN plate/sticker’ will normally be somewhere under the bonnet. There will be a number stamped in the main body that is located differently for each type of vehicle.
Be very wary if there are any signs that etching or numbers have been tampered with or removed. Make sure that the vehicle registration document (V5c) has not been tampered with and is watermarked. Compare the document with another V5c or look at the V5c for your own vehicle. Check the V5c is not stolen. For further information please see the DVLA website.
Do not buy if the seller cannot produce the vehicle registration document and other documentation (e.g. MOT or, for a new vehicle, the purchasing correspondence). Check that the MOT certificate is valid at using our list of free tools. Check the vehicle handbooks and confirm the service history if possible.
Consider having the vehicle professionally examined before you buy, either through a motoring association, private company or garage. This will give you more safety with your transaction.
There are different ways you can pay for a vehicle – cash, cheque, banker’s draft, bank transfer or ESCROW. Choose the method that works for you but be aware of the potential dangers. Be very careful about how and where the hand over of the cash and vehicle is to take place. It is dangerous carrying cash, especially when you’re going to meet a stranger, so use your common sense and always have someone with you.
Cash, cheques and banker’s drafts can be forged or counterfeit and your seller is advised not to accept these. NEVER pay using a money transfer company such as Western Union or Moneygram – these exist for transferring money between people who know each other. An immediate bank transfer can be made using the CHAPS system for a nominal fee, (£20-£30). Consider meeting the buyer at your bank and completing the transaction there. CHAPS payments are irrevocable. ESCROW is safe way of paying for a vehicle but make sure that the company is registered with HMRC. Be careful when using ESCROW or Shipping web sites as many are bogus and set up by fraudsters.
See the Metropolitan Police Fraud Alert web pages about money transfer, cashback and ESCROW.
The Internet can be a source of bargains and is increasingly popular and useful. However it is also used by criminals to sell vehicles that are stolen or do not exist, often using pictures and details of genuine vehicles and stolen or false identities. Most sites provide safeguards for buyers and sellers. Understand the rules of the site and how it works. If you buy via the web, view the vehicle and make all the above checks before paying for your vehicle.
Please click here to read our fraud warnings.