Thousands of cars are stolen each year, often with the intent of turning around and selling them. If you buy a stolen car unknowingly, you could lose the car and your money. You may also be prosecuted for receiving stolen vehicle.
Ignorance is not an excuse before the law.
The following tips may help you stay out of trouble when buying a vehicle:
For Foreign used (Tokunbo) cars:
1. Ask for the original Customs papers and do a VIN check on the vehicle
2. Buy only from a reputable car dealer
3. Check for repainting of the car, especially the bonnet area where it is hard to re-spray
4. Check the glass for any engraving
5. Demand a bill of sale. You want some sort of document that establishes you bought the car. If the seller hesitates to give this to you, then you should walk away. Typically, you’ll want a bill of sale, which should include the following information:
- car’s make, model, and year
- seller’s name and address
- your name and address
- amount of the sale
- seller’s signature and date
For Nigerian used cars:
1. Ask for the original Customs documents
2. Ask for the original vehicle documents
3. Confirm that the name on all documents match seller’s name. If not, let the seller provide proof of sale from original owner
4. Input the plate number into FRSC database and make sure it conforms to the vehicle
5. Make sure all documents are originals and not photocopies
6. Take a selfie with the seller and the vehicle. Who knows, it might save you trouble in future.