When Martin Barwick spotted a new Citroen Grand C4 Picasso with almost 27% slashed off its list price at online auction site Autoebid.com, he couldn’t believe his luck. He placed his order and sat back to wait for the car to arrive.
After some delay, the Citroen was delivered in mid-August 2011 by supplier CFL Central of Kidderminster, and quickly put to work as the family motor.
Just one thing was missing: the logbook. Repeated calls and emails proved fruitless until finally, six months later, it arrived.
Martin’s relief lasted as long as it took to read the V5C. To his horror he saw that the Citroen had been registered to someone else before him. In fact, according to the document, he’d owned the car for only a matter of days. Its legal keeper until that point had been none other than CFL, which had apparently acquired it on the same day it was delivered to the Barwicks.
Martin had bought the Citroen based on the fact that, as stated in the website’s advertising, he would be its first registered keeper. He’d even paid the first registration fee. He complained vociferously to CFL. Yet his phone calls, emails and letters went unanswered.
Helpdesk agreed to come to Martin’s aid, and contacted CFL, Autoebid and Citroen, asking how this had been allowed to happen, and what would be done about it.
Autoebid was the first to respond, saying that its policy was to confirm the registration status of all vehicles prior to a supplier advertising on its site, and again before orders were processed. It also said it had ceased trading with CFL. Citroen also promised to investigate.
Finally, after almost 18 months, CFL stepped up. Because Martin had been mis-sold the car, he was within his rights to reject it, but as it was now a valued part of family life, he decided not to. CFL sent Martin a full written apology and a cheque for £250 to compensate him for any potential loss in resale value, which he accepted.
What if this happens to you?
- If your car isn't registered to you, you could be committing a criminal offence and invalidating your insurance. Get it in writing that yours will be the only name on the V5C.
- Don't accept the car until you're in receipt of the V5C naming you as its first keeper.
- Keep all evidence - invoices, etc - to prove you owned and were the owner of the car from new.
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