Is it dubious the V5C is not registered to the seller?

I viewed a car today and it was advertised by a private 'dealer'. However, the V5C details were not that of the dealer and so I queried it.

He waffled on about filling in the documents etc etc. I explained that I understood the process but that I needed to understand why his name was not listed as the owner, when he was about to potentially sell me the car.

I was speaking to the 'dealer' on the phone whilst viewing the car...I actually met with his brother outside a house (I found it odd that the dealer had a fairly distinct northern accent and is brother did not... we were in West London).

The dealer said he could send me a copy of his purchase receipt for the car and so I went for a coffee to have a think and he sent me a screenshot of what could well have been a genuine receipt. It had the photo of the car, correct reg, an invoice number (he'd scrubbed out the price he'd paid).

Is it normal for a private dealer to not have a car registered to them at the point of sale? Was I being paranoid? As a fairly inexperienced car purchaser I'd done a bit of research beforehand and it said to be sure the address details on the V5C match the address where the car is purchased from.

Asked on 10 November 2021 by Julia Dreher

Answered by Dan Powell
Sometimes a motor trader will try to blur the lines between dealer and private seller to dodge their legal responsibilities. There is no such thing as a 'private dealer'. The seller is either a motor trader or a private seller. They can't be both.

The V5C is a worry. But the fact you've not met the trader in person (or know where they live) is a big red flag. How will you return the car if it goes wrong or experiences a serious problem? How do you know it's his/her car to sell?

My advice would be to find another car to buy.

For more car buying advice, see:
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