My BMW X5 has been seized by the police who say it has been stolen - what can I do?

Last week the police turned up at my door and seized my car. They say that there is another vehicle on the roads with the same number plate (they have seized that car also). I bought the car from a private dealer and meticulously checked all the serial/VIN numbers etc. The registration was not in his name but looked fine. An HPI check came up clear. The police did an HPI check when they took the car, it was also clear. The purchase was in June and the logbook never came back. I have a record of five calls to the DVLA following this up. It's a BMW X5, and I paid £32,000.

If my car is legit what can I do to speed up its return? If it's not legit what can I do to recoup my money? Is there any recourse against HPI who said it was clear, or the DVLA who didn't return the logbook or mention a problem? What action can I take against the dealer?

Asked on 15 September 2010 by elemental

Answered by Lucy
Calling HPI is not enough to validate a check on its own. It is a valid and useful tool in checking out a vehicle but if all you have is a registration plate and a make and model of a car then you could be looking at one car and verifying another. HPI and the other vehicle checkers offer a valuable service, but if you wish to claim against the insurance policies they offer you need to check other factors:

1. Was the vendor the registered keeper and the vehicle registered to the address at which you viewed it?

2. Did you verify the registered keeper's identity and address?

3. Did you verify the VIN and registration number?

4. Did you check the V5 was valid with the DVLA?

These are the minimum requirements and you should meet all the additional terms before the policy will pay. If the vehicle is cloned and it was stolen, then it belongs to the insurer. They will often take a sympathetic view and will permit a purchase at reasonable cost but they can take the car back. Unless you have complied with all HPI terms and conditions (most people do not) I would be surprised if you have any claim against them. My guess is that you have been had big time, and you face losing the car.
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