Reclaiming money for car purchase gone wrong

Pavel_SPavel_S Forumite
39 Posts
Good evening,

I realise this may be slightly unconventional in this forum, but it's the closest one so i thought I'd post here.

About a year ago I had to quickly get rid of a car I purchased and as I couldn't get insured on it as it turned out it had mods, I got a replacement car and needed this one moving off the communal parking.

In a haste, I made probably the biggest mistake of selling a car to someone else.. Handing over the keys before I had all the cash in hand.

I basically took a deposit of approx 30% with a written agreement, with the remainder to be paid within two weeks. I was just relieved to be able to get rid of the car without it being clamped or worse..

I'm sure you can figure out where this is going.. the guy wouldn't pay up, even after a few more calls and trips to his house. I knew he lived at the address he gave for the V5. I threatened legal action and when he didn't respond to that, I submitted a small claims court claim.. He did not respond to the claim and so I won the case by default. However, given how long it dragged on, he had moved by the time the bailiff came over to collect the monies.

The response I got from court was that there were no saleable assets left behind at the indicated address (I know he used to live there since I went over there a few times previously and the car would be there and so was he when I came over to demand my money back). The bailiff found no indication of a forwarding address and that I should alert them if I find out the whereabouts of this guy.

So I figured I would get in touch with the DVLA to get the keeper details of the car... As a previous owner and having provided them the documents and the court reference, today I received a response from them (almost 3 months since sending them the request) saying they are unable to give out this information, as I have not demonstrated reasonable cause to request it (I had filled in the V888 form etc.)

They said they cannot establish legal ownership of a vehicle and that only the court can do that. Now surely I have court proof of having reason to pursue this information? The court judgement makes no mention of the car ownership, simply the outstanding debt (although obvivously all the details regarding the car purchase were provided to the court as evidence.)

Anybody know how I can establish the whereabouts of this vehicle or its past history of owners?

The registration is G314SBW, it's a 1989 Silver BMW 318i. I have no problem giving this information out as I still have not received the majority of the agreed money for the purchase and understand that I am still the legal owner.

I have put this experience behind me as a lesson to learn for the future, but it would be nice to get the few hundred pounds owed!

What do I do/where do I go now? Police don't want to know about it as it's a civil dispute.. the court doesn't want to know about it as they do not know the person's whereabouts, and the DVLA doesn't want to know about it as it's not to do with taxation or road safety (?!?! those are their words..)


Let's not call me a muppet too much for letting it go this way, I'm normally very sensible and careful and it was just a combination of circumstances and carelessness that led to this.. However, it could've been a lot worse; life lessons are worth a few hundred quid I guess...

Cheers everyone,

Pavel
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