What Car? Q&A - Is it legal to withhold V5C document?

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Q: I am considering buying a new Fiat Panda, and best deal I have found is from a broker. Although the car would be factory-ordered to my specification, they would register it in their name for six months and hold the V5C for this period.
What are the risks to me?
Chris Thurlow


A: There are some great deals to be had at internet brokers. Uknewcars.com, for example, is selling pre-registered Fiat Pandas at around 28% less than list price.

Buying a pre-registered car isn't necessarily a problem. Pre-regs are often just a few weeks old and only have delivery mileage on the clock.

You won't be the first registered keeper in the logbook, but that's only likely to affect the car's used value if you sell it within a year or two. Even then, the savings will almost certainly outweigh any losses when you do sell.

Insist on getting the V5C registration document straight away, though. Without it, you could have problems getting insurance.

Many insurance companies insist that the policyholder is the car's registered keeper, not just the legal owner. So, at worst, you might not be able to take out insurance on the car for six months.

You could also run into trouble if stopped by the police. If asked to produce your driving documents at your local police station, you'll be unable to do so if the dealership or internet broker has the V5C.

Finally, you may also have problems getting hold of a residents' parking permit. Many councils will ask for proof that you are the registered keeper before they hand out permits, so without the V5C for the first six months of ownership, you won't be able to park outside your home.

For more on buying a pre-registered car, see our feature by clicking here.

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