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How to prevent shipping a stolen car

Shipping a car overseas should be an exciting adventure, if you discover the vehicle is stolen though, your dream suddenly turns into a nightmare. Avoid this by carrying out a few essential checks on the vehicle prior to purchase, stay safe and ship in confidence knowing you are the rightful owner.

Read documents carefully – Always check the V5 registration document to see who the car is registered to. If this is a private sale meet at the seller’s address and verify the V5 matches the details. Check the MOT document if applicable as well, is it current, does it match the car? Look at the service history as well. If there are no documents with the car how do you know it’s genuine and been looked after?

Get a vehicle check – It’s worth paying for a data check on the vehicle to see if it has been recorded as stolen or been involved in an accident at some point. You can pay for this online, the RAC and AA offer this type of facility and the details will be emailed or text straight to your phone.

Have a HPI check – Pay to have a HPI check as well. This will show if the vehicle has any outstanding finance on it, if it has and you buy it, the car isn’t yours, it will be repossessed and you’ll lose all of that lovely lolly.

Verify the VIN – Look for the vehicle’s vehicle identification number (VIN), this is a unique reference number for the car. Modern vehicles display the VIN at the bottom of the windscreen, on older cars it might be on a metal plate in the engine bay so you might have to dig around a little to find it. A good tip is to know where the VIN is on the vehicle before you go to see the car, then you can verify the number matches with the VIN on the V5.

Avoid public meeting places – If the seller wants to meet you in a car park alarm bells should be ringing. If they’re a dealer they should have a sales pitch or a showroom, if they’re a private seller what’s wrong with meeting at their home? Genuine sellers won’t have a problem with this. Dodgy dealers want to meet at McDonalds.

Use your wits when you buy a car and shipping a stolen car will be the last thing on your mind.

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