Customer Online used car checklist before buying

My CarVeto vehicle certificate

Prepurchase checks

Buying a used car is a significant financial investment that may not be easily reversed.

Be familiar with the facts of your vehicle before you buy it.

This page explores the components of your CarVeto certificate of history that impede vehicle:

(1) Safety (2) Legality (3) Value

Used car checklist.
Outstanding Finance - Private Seller

Buying a car privately with outstanding finance

Private seller

It is illegal for a private seller to sell a car with outstanding finance knowingly, and you stand to lose the car unless the loan agreement is settled in full before purchase.

Who has the right to sell?

Outstanding finance means the vehicle belongs to the finance company, not the seller or registered keeper.

The seller must pay off the total loan amount to the lender before selling the car.

Protecting your money

We strongly advise obtaining a “settlement letter” stating the lender has no further interest in the vehicle.

CarVeto tip:

Use the details in your CarVeto certificate and contact the lender directly. Quote the agreement reference and vehicle registration numbers, and explain that you plan to buy the car.

The lender will tell you the steps to a safe and legal purchase.

CarVeto Finance Privately.
Outstanding Finance - Dealer

Buying from a dealer with outstanding finance

Car from a dealer

“Stocking Loan” or “Unit Stocking” is a finance facility accessed by dealers. Lending companies such as Black Horse Motor Finance provide credit facilities to car dealers that buy stock (cars) to put on the forecourt.

Is it safe to buy?

Your CarVeto report will alert you to this type of loan agreement.
Unlike buying a car privately, you can buy a car with outstanding finance from a dealer.

How do I know if it’s dealer financed?

Check for “Unit Stocking” or “Stocking Loan”.
Discuss the finance with the dealer before you pay a holding deposit or pay for the car in full.

CarVeto tip:

You may also request a settlement letter stating that the lending company have no financial interest in the vehicle.

Resource: More information discussing Unit Stocking

CarVeto Finance Dealer.
Stolen - Police or Insurance databases

Recorded stolen with the Police and/or Insurer

Stolen vehicle history

Knowingly buying or selling a stolen car is illegal.

Your CarVeto certificate includes a search in the Police National Computer and Motor Insurance database.

What should I do?

Do not buy the car.

If you believe a stolen car is being sold online, either privately or at a car dealership, contact us immediately. Please include the vehicle registration number, so we can act quickly.

Resource: More information discussing a stolen car check

CarVeto Finance Dealer.
Write-Off - MIAFTR and Insurer

Written-off accident damage repair

There are four categories of accident damage.

These are Cat A, Cat B, Cat S and Cat N.

In all cases, Category A and B write-offs are not allowed back on the road, even if repaired.

Do not buy a Cat A or Cat B vehicle

Cat S and Cat N cars can be professionally repaired and put back on the road.

Difference between Cat S and N write off

Cat S damage usually includes structural repairs, i.e. crumple zones or chassis damage.

Cat N excludes vehicles with structural damage. Therefore, Cat N is most likely to be repaired and put back on the road. 

Buying a write-off

Can I buy Cat S or Cat N if it’s repaired professionally?

Yes, you can.

Although, we do not recommend buying a car write off unless you have previous experience or already work in the motor trade.

Why shouldn’t I buy a car write-off?

The value of a car with a write-off status is significantly impacted. 

Typically, when compared to a like for like vehicle without write off status, the value is at least 50% less.

Also note, even without signs of damage, write off status remains with the vehicle for its life, even after professional repairs. 

Historically, it is difficult to resell a car write off, and it may be difficult and more costly to insure.

CarVeto tip:

Where available, your CarVeto certificate will include details of vehicle damage. It includes:

  • Road traffic accident with insurance company involvement
  • Fire damage
  • Water damage

Need more information on written-off cars?

Resource: More information discussing insurance write off categories

The short video below provides full details on car accident write-offs.

Write-Off Categories Explained - Video Guide





CarVeto written-off check.
Mileage Discrepency - Including Rollbacks

Mileage problems including car clocking

Mileage alerts occur in two circumstances:

  1. The vehicle odometer developed a fault or breakage and was legitimately replaced
  2. The vehicle odometer was tampered with and suffered reduced mileage known as “rollback”, “clocking”, and “mileage fraud”.

Mileage tampering is designed to increase resale value. The practice impacts vehicle safety and value.

Do not buy a car if you know it has suffered mileage fraud.

Genuine odometer replacement

The vehicle could have a legitimate odometer replacement due to damage or wear.

Expect to see the full documentation of odometer replacement, including an invoice that includes:

  • Recorded mileage before and after replacement
  • Parts
  • Date when the mechanical work was carried out
  • Details of the repair centre including business name, address and VAT number
  • Up-to-date vehicle registration document

Can I buy a car with a genuine odometer replacement?

In theory, yes, you can.

Vehicles with previous mileage problems are difficult to resell. Value is also significantly reduced, so we suggest that you walk away.

CarVeto online car mileage check.
Number Plate Changes - DVSA Records

Past and Present Registration Plate Transfers

Most plate changes occur because the registered keeper wanted to personalise their vehicle.

A legitimate number plate transfer will be recorded in your CarVeto certificate.

DVLA provides our data to ensure legitimacy.

You can identify all previous registration numbers along with the month and year of transfer.

If the vehicle you are checking has a genuine number plate change, your CarVeto certificate will display a warning alert.

The number plate warning alerts you to act with caution and ask the seller questions before buying the vehicle.

If you are uncertain about a plate transfer, email our support team.

CarVeto registration plate changes.
User Contributions

Have your say

We’ve included the vital details you will need before buying a car.

However, if you feel we have missed something out or have a comment about this webpage, get in touch with us today!

Buying a used car checklist – user contributions: