Buying a magnificent classic vehicle is likely to be one of the biggest purchases you are ever likely to make and hopefully these tips will help safeguard you and your money.
Know your rights
Buying vehicle through a dealer is generally considered a safer option because you are protected by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (replaces the Sale of Goods Act).
You don’t get the same protection when buying from a private seller, but the vehicle must still match the advert and/or what the seller has told you. If it doesn’t you could have a claim under the Misrepresentation Act 1967.
You should never buy a vehicle without seeing it and check all paperwork so as far as you can tell the vendor is legitimately able to sell it to you. Avoid meeting in a car park, middle of a field or on a ferry to complete the purchase. Some vehicles cannot be kept at the vendors home address e.g. aeroplane, battle tank, cruiser, but if it can that is another check of legitimacy. Dealers should have paperwork to show they own the vehicle.
If it is not possible to physically view the vehicle then ask for pictures of obscure bits, preferably of places not accessible from the exterior, e.g. under the boot carpet, inside the engine bay.
Compare the vehicle to the pictures and make sure they match!
Check that there is no outstanding finance agreement or that it will be settled on sale of the vehicle. However, be aware that if you buy a vehicle still on finance the finance company will remain the legal owner of it until repaid in full.
If possible drag someone along with you that is knowledgeable about the vehicle you are after. Not only will they help you decide if the vehicle is a good one they may also keep your head from your heart and save your money!
Go for a test drive. Take appropriate proof of insurance/licences to show you are insured to take the controls.
These days handing over a thick bundle of used fivers is frowned upon by many, what with all the money laundering checks now in place. Most dealers are reputable so the following is aimed more at private purchases.
Bankers draft :- This is usually a safe bet as you buy the cheque from the bank so funds have already cleared but the vendor may wish to contact the issuing bank to double-check the validity.
n.b. It will cost you £10-£20 when the bank draft is paid-in by the vendor. Check the cost when you arrange it.
Cheques :- Whilst most cheques are now processed the same day you may still not be able to remove the vehicle until it has cleared. Be very careful here as there will be a period when you have neither the money or the vehicle.
BACS/CHAPS : – These are also faster payment methods and a CHAPS payment will cost you £25 and BACS is mostly business to business.
Cash : – If you must, but make sure you carry the money discreetly and not swinging about loosely in a transparent carrier bag. Bundle it into neat piles held with rubber bands and ensure it is counted out and agreed in front of the vendor so there is no mistake.