posted 5 years ago

HPI Warns Buyers To Steer Clear Of Cars With Missing Log Books

Missing Log Book Spells Trouble For Unwary Motorists

HPI has warned motorists not to purchase a vehicle without its log book (V5C). Why? Because this leaves the buyer vulnerable to countless issues. A missing log book might, for example, suggest that the vehicle has been stolen or that its seller is lying about his/her name and address. It also enables the seller to conceal how many people have owned the vehicle. That is something a smart buyer notices, as (say) five owners in six months suggests there is a problem. The log book also helps prove identity as it contains a vehicle identification number that can be cross-referenced with on-board markings. These are typically found on a plate behind the windscreen or beneath the bonnet. Worryingly, HPI – that for a small fee will research a vehicle's history - has claimed it has seen a notable rise in the number of people buying without a log book. As this is one of several common errors, it has published five easy to follow tips for second-hand buyers:

Five Tips For Buying A Used Vehicle

“Location: if you’re buying privately, make sure you view it at the registered keeper’s address (as shown on the V5C/logbook).”

“Provenance:  always check the history of the car. One vital check the buyer can do is to find all the VIN/chassis numbers on the vehicle to make sure they match each other, and then use the HPI Check to ensure they tally with the registration number of the vehicle.”

“Documents: check the vehicle’s V5C/logbook. Stolen V5C documents are currently being used to accompany cloned vehicles but the HPI Check includes a unique stolen V5C document check as standard.  This will confirm whether or not the document is one that the DVLA have recorded as stolen. The vehicle should also be accompanied by a service history and MOT certificates if the vehicle is over 3 years old – make sure you see these too.”

“Price:  know the car’s market value. No genuine seller will want to lose money on their sale. If you are paying more than 30% below the retail market value, then be on your guard.”

“Payment:  don’t pay with a substantial amount of cash, particularly if the car is costing you more than £3,000. Some cloners (people that replace a stolen vehicle's identity with that from a legitimate car) will take a bankers draft as part payment because the cash part is sufficient profit without ever cashing the bankers draft. Most crooks selling cloned cars would rather walk away from a sale than take a payment that could be traced back to them.”


I bought a one year old Yaris diesel from a Toyota dealership at a special weekend for special customers. When i collected it and was looking at the handbook at home I realised there was no original service book or pre sale check sheet.The dealership made out a new one but this still did not give details of original supplier.Then a new logbook arrived and I realised I had not seen one when at the special weekend.Also the new showed an Exeter company trading as Thrifty hire. Thus I challenged the dealership with help from trading standards and they agreed to a special deal on another. The moral of my story is don't trust anyone even reputable dealerships.

@John Roberts: Apply for a V5 by filling in a V62 from the post office. It will cost £25 but then you can contact any local scrapyard or google car take back and get around £100 if not more, but you will get back more than the cost of the V5.

Here is yet another hole in the Law caused by the blinkered vision of the government and the unwillingness to mix criminal and civil Law. The vehicle logbook isn't a book; it is an insubstantial bit of computer generated paper and it has nothing whatsoever to do with who has title to the vehicle. The registration document is not needed to put the rent on the windscreen, is not needed by the mot station or by the insurance company, except rarely, so from the day the new registration document arrives in the post to the day the car is sold it is simply a useless bit of paper making it quite believable if someone claims to have mislaid it after some years and two house moves or whatever... The registration document records only the person who is responsible for the safe and legal condition of the vehicle and for the safe and legal condition of the driver and the driving: the police need to know who to send the fines to but they aren't interested in who actually owns the car and neither is the government or the insurance companies. Having your name on the registration document doesn't give you the right to sell the car because only the person who has legal title to the vehicle has the right to do that! Often that is a different person to the registered keeper. The Law actually prevents the person who owns the car from insuring it unless he is the registered keeper and actually forces a person who doesn't own the car, in such a case, to insure it even though another Law says only a person with an "insurable interest" in something can insure it. The whole situation is a mess and should be tidied up with some urgency. There should be a logbook substantial enough to last the life of the car and it should record the name of the person who owns the legal title to the car as well as who is responsible for its safe and legal condition. Such a logbook should be required to get the road rent, get it mot'd and to insure it and it should be possible for the driver to have one sort of insurance and the owner to cover his "insurable interest". It would also be helpful if the police interested themselves more in who has the title to a vehicle instead of throwing their collective hands in the air muttering "Civil Law" when clearly there has been fraudulent representation.

I can't believe that anybody legitimate would make a purchase that big without at the very least the V5! I can understand some people not doing an HPI either because they have never heard of it or due to what they may conceive as wasted money. Personally, I have a rule of thumb, either buy from a reputable dealer/car supermarket or make sure you get all docs & do an HPI.

"The log book also helps prove identity as it contains a vehicle identification number that can be cross-referenced with on-board markings. These are typically found on a plate behind the windscreen or beneath the bonnet" The main and most important VIN is the one stamped into the metal of the chassis. The one behind the windscreen can be changed quite easily along with any VIN on a sticker. The MOT only requires the examiner to view one (not all) on the VIN's, so the MOT is not a guarantee of the vehicle's identity. The Log book is also no guarantee that the holder owns the vehicle. Always check the CHASSIS VIN and always view a vehicle at the sellers address. Barry (CatigoryCars)

i have a car abandoned on land I own which the DVLA confirms has no registered keeper how do I dispose of it without a logbook