Browsing cars online is a lot like being a kid in a candy store. There are so many fantastic options to choose from, how do you know which one to go for? You will have specific criteria, such as manual vs automatic or how many km the car has been driven. One of the most important things you’ll need to do before making a decision on which car to buy is to complete a car owner check. Find out how to check the car owner so that you know you’re not being taken for a ride when buying a car privately.
Buying a Car Privately
New Zealanders often purchase their cars privately through an online listing site instead of a dealership. This is a great way to grab a bargain. You may be able to negotiate down the price more easily with a private seller than with a car salesperson.
However, the Consumer Guarantees Act does not offer protection to those buying cars privately. That’s why you have to take certain precautions to check that the person selling the car is the owner, such as completing a car owner check.
So, you’ve decided on your perfect vehicle – what next?
Check the Car is Not Stolen
Whenever a car is reported as stolen, the vehicle goes onto a database managed by the Police. You don’t want to get involved with accidentally buying stolen property, so make sure that you check the car against the stolen vehicle database.
All you need is the plate number so that you can enter it on the Police website. Simply type in the information and the site will return one of two results: ‘not stolen’ or ‘stolen’. If the car has been stolen, move on and find another option!
Check There is No Debt Owing on the Car
Did you know that when you buy a car, if there is money owing on it, it could be repossessed? When someone takes out a car loan, the vehicle is often used as security. This means that if the person cannot make their payments, the finance company will take back the car.
A private seller who purchased a car on finance could now be selling it to you before repaying the debt in full. This means it could be repossessed, and you won’t be compensated. The person who took out the loan is still responsible for repaying the debt, but you could find yourself suddenly without a car! Don’t get caught out – check whether there is any debt owing on the vehicle you’re thinking of purchasing before making a decision.
To find out if there is any debt owing on a vehicle, you can check the Personal Property Securities Register to see if the car is listed. To complete a search, you will just need the car’s registration number. Alternatively, you could use the VIN or chassis number if you have access to these.
How to Check Car Owner
The best way to check that the person selling the car is the owner is by visiting the NZTA website and completing a search. You’ll need the person’s full name according to their driver’s license and the vehicle’s plate number.
The search result will confirm if the details match what NZTA have on record. Be aware that if you make a typo or add in the abbreviated version of a person’s name, it will come back as not a match. This website requires 100% correct information.
If it comes back as not a match, make sure to check back with the seller for the full correct spelling of their name. If it still doesn’t work, the seller should check why the vehicle is not correctly registered to them.
Avoid Getting Ripped Off
You don’t want to accidentally buy a stolen car or one with money owing on it. By following the above steps, you can ensure that the person selling the car is the real owner and doesn’t have a loan for it.
Make sure that you also write up an agreement that you and the owner both sign to say that you have purchased the car. This will give you something to fall back on if there are any disputes.
Finally, complete the change of ownership online as soon as you have paid for the car. The previous owner will need to do this too. Once that’s all done, you’re in the clear and can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that your new car is now all yours.
Check out the car listings on Shopless to discover your next vehicle. With hundreds of options to choose from, you’re sure to find the ideal car for your needs!