Help: a dealer's kidnapped my car

* Reader agrees to sell left-hand-drive BMW through specialist agency * Tries to get car back when it doesn't sell; told it's in Paris * Helpdesk gets reader the money he is owed for his ca...

Help: a dealer's kidnapped my car

When Don Gill decided to sell his left-hand-drive BMW, he suspected it would be tricky to find a buyer, so he enlisted the services of a specialist sales agency, My LHD, in Nottingham.

Don agreed to give the company 60 days to sell the car, and, in late July 2013, it was collected from his Edinburgh home. However, at the beginning of October the BMW remained unsold.

Deciding to take back the car and wait until the market picked up, Don contacted My LHD, but couldn’t get it to provide a date for the BMW’s return. He pushed, and was amazed to hear that it was being kept at the company’s Paris branch.

In an increasingly bizarre string of emails, Don was informed that the car had needed a new sat-nav and an unspecified mechanical repair, which he would have to pay for. It was news to him, as was a later complaint that he still had the car’s registration documents.

Don was then told an HPI check was necessary because the BMW had been declared stolen. Not the case. In mid-October, he travelled to Nottingham, only to find My LHD’s headquarters was a registered office within the premises of an accountancy firm. Suspecting a scam, Don’s wife contacted the police to ask for advice, and an officer called My LHD to make enquiries.

Finally, the company offered to pay Don £3750 to ‘buy’ his car, but the money remained elusive. The involvement of Nottingham Trading Standards and legal proceedings failed to provoke a helpful response.

Following a fretful Christmas, Don called What Car?, and we got on to My LHD. Its proprietor didn’t enlighten us about the car’s whereabouts, but did insist Don had been paid. Don checked. He had not. We asked again, and the following afternoon the money finally showed up in his account.

What if this happens to you?

  • Make sure any company you hand your car over to is registered and has offices you can visit; check on Google Street View.

  • Insist on a written contract and check all terms and conditions.

  • Never hand over the car’s V5C or spare key until you have proof the car has been sold and payment has been made to you

We've prepared lots of useful advice, including a full guide on warranties that could help you with either a new or used car.

If you need our help, email us at with a few details and we'll be in touch.