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Buying a used car in France

Buying a used car in France

Old Nov 11th 2016, 5:31 pm
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Default Buying a used car in France

Hi All
We are going to look at a used car in Agen tomorrow. Does anyone know if there is a way of checking if a car is still under an HP agreement, in France?
Anything else I should look out for? Any thoughts on a secure way of paying for the car, which I guess will not be released until funds are cleared?
Thanks
Peter
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Old Nov 11th 2016, 5:52 pm
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Default Re: Buying a used car in France

Originally Posted by Peter219 View Post
Hi All
We are going to look at a used car in Agen tomorrow. Does anyone know if there is a way of checking if a car is still under an HP agreement, in France?
Anything else I should look out for? Any thoughts on a secure way of paying for the car, which I guess will not be released until funds are cleared?
Thanks
Peter
You need a certificate de degage ( think that's the name) with the Reg number you can look it up online, it shows that there are no fines/costs etc, on the car.
With finance a bank cheque is normally insisted by a firm. If you are buying privately as always let the buyer beware.
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Old Nov 11th 2016, 6:25 pm
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Default Re: Buying a used car in France

I'm no expert, but I think that Cad means a "Certificat de Non-Gage"
.... and check that the Contrôle Technique was done within the last 6 months.
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Old Nov 11th 2016, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: Buying a used car in France

Originally Posted by dmu View Post
I'm no expert, but I think that Cad means a "Certificat de Non-Gage"
.... and check that the Contrôle Technique was done within the last 6 months.
Knew it was something like that, done it a few times but not for six years.
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Old Nov 11th 2016, 7:40 pm
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Default Re: Buying a used car in France

DMU is correct. It's a 'Certificat de Non-Gage'. Very, very important to obtain this if you are purchasing a used vehicle. If the seller says he doesn't have one, tell him it must be provided.
I've not sold a car for some time here, but recall that the non-gage was downloaded as a pdf file from the internet. It can also be provided at the prefecture.
Turning the odometer back to indicate less miles than in reality, is far more frequent in France than commonly realised. Both in private sales and 'cowboy' second-hand car dealers. I subscribe to Auto Plus which is a mine of information for buyers, sellers, and car enthusiasts in general. As a buyer, be very vigilant.
Be familiar with the Argus price for the vehicle you have in mind. Argus prices are listed and updated weekly in Auto Plus. At 1,99 euros the magazine is a must.
If you are buying privately the following are also a MUST.
- Ensure that the vehicle s/no stamped on the car matches that in the registration documents of the seller.
- Ensure that the seller is the legally registered owner of the car. Checking on his certificat d'immatriculation and/or make sure that the seller provides a certificate de non-gage (also commonly called a certificat de situation), which includes a certificate of non-security (valid for one month) and a certificate of non-opposition (valid for two months) proving that the car may be sold.
Personally I wouldn't hesitate it searching for the vehicle of my choice on LBC, as there are some bargains to be had, but for a first time buyer with limited French this is not advisable, unless you take along someone who has done this before, knows the market, and who can hassle with the seller fluently on the final price. For peace of mind, purchase from a recommended dealer, but of course you will pay a premium for the service and warranty. Regarding dealers, remember also there are professional rogues out there.
Believe it was Bigglesworth on this forum who fell foul of a somewhat dishonest car dealer relative to the alleged warranty, although I can't recall the details.
Again, be vigilant. Oh, and always offer an amount below that on offer. If the seller refuses, walk away. Almost guaranteed you'll get called back to renegotiate.

Last edited by Tweedpipe; Nov 11th 2016 at 7:43 pm.
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Old Nov 11th 2016, 7:57 pm
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Default Re: Buying a used car in France

Sorry, I didn't address your 'secure way of paying' query.
Although I have done it in the past, don't pay cash. You'll have limited or no come-back if the seller is dishonest, and/or does a runner.
I'd pay by cheque, or ask the seller if he will provide his RIB account number so you can get your bank to do a direct transfer. If he/she baulks at the idea of supplying a RIB, I'd seriously question their motive. They may provide a legitimate reason, but it could be the first sign of a shady customer.
Good luck on your car hunting.
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Old Nov 11th 2016, 8:58 pm
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Default Re: Buying a used car in France

Thanks to all who have helped.

The first man I contacted, from the autoscout24 website, suggested meeting in a car park, rather than at his home! And will not divulge his car registration! So that's a non starter.

We're looking at another from the LaCentrale website, where they suggest paying by depopass, which seems to be some sort of escrow account which holds the cash until both parties are happy.

I shall proceed with caution!
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Old Nov 11th 2016, 10:57 pm
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Default Re: Buying a used car in France

And for those of us based in the UK but thinking of having a car to drive in France,...........are there any UK websites for 2nd hand LHD cars ?
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Old Nov 12th 2016, 12:16 am
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Default Re: Buying a used car in France

Originally Posted by Scots in Treignac View Post
And for those of us based in the UK but thinking of having a car to drive in France,...........are there any UK websites for 2nd hand LHD cars ?
I think that we had that thread previously.
The problems are: is it on french plates; has it a less than 6 months controle technique; what insurance would you get to transport it to France?
If it is on UK plates then you would have to re-register it in France and are the headlamps needing changed and the speedometer?
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Old Nov 19th 2016, 1:05 am
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Default Re: Buying a used car in France

Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
I think that we had that thread previously.
The problems are: is it on french plates; has it a less than 6 months controle technique; what insurance would you get to transport it to France?
If it is on UK plates then you would have to re-register it in France and are the headlamps needing changed and the speedometer?

It looks as if the other thread was about a car still on French plates but located in the UK.


If I bought a 2nd hand LHD which had UK plates and then I put it through an MOT , I would have a year before it needed an MOT again. During that year I presume I could drive it to France and back on a UK insurance .


If I decided to leave it in France, could I wait until the UK MOT and/or tax were due before I had it registered in France.
Would it matter if I was a resident of the UK ?
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Old Nov 19th 2016, 8:11 am
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Default Re: Buying a used car in France

Originally Posted by Scots in Treignac View Post
If I bought a 2nd hand LHD which had UK plates and then I put it through an MOT , I would have a year before it needed an MOT again. During that year I presume I could drive it to France and back on a UK insurance .
Why not? Thousands if not millions of UK residents drive their UK reg cars to France and back on UK insurance every year. LHD or RHD is neither here nor there.

Originally Posted by Scots in Treignac View Post
If I decided to leave it in France, could I wait until the UK MOT and/or tax were due before I had it registered in France.
Would it matter if I was a resident of the UK ?
First issue is that a car is not supposed to spend more than 6 months of the year in a country other than the one it's registered in, that is EU law but is not really enforced.
Second issue is that you will have told your UK insurer that the car is normally kept overnight at a specified UK address and this will not be true. If you tell hime the car is normally kept overnight at an address in France he won't insure it.
Third issue is that UK insurance, even if it nominally provides 365 days EU cover, normally specifically excludes any vehicle left abroad without the owner. If it did get vandalised /stolen /torched while you were in the UK, you couldn't claim. So if you really want to do this, I suggest you buy an old banger and insure it third party only.
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Old Nov 19th 2016, 8:43 am
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Default Re: Buying a used car in France

Originally Posted by Scots in Treignac View Post
It looks as if the other thread was about a car still on French plates but located in the UK.


If I bought a 2nd hand LHD which had UK plates and then I put it through an MOT , I would have a year before it needed an MOT again. During that year I presume I could drive it to France and back on a UK insurance .


If I decided to leave it in France, could I wait until the UK MOT and/or tax were due before I had it registered in France.
Would it matter if I was a resident of the UK ?
I replied with both scenarios because you were not specific re french or UK plates.
There are also several threads about registering a UK plate car in France.
Before you can register a car in France, you would need a Controle Technique to establish if the car was legal on french roads prior to registering in France. The MOT would not be accepted by the Prefecture.
The problems cited previously were:
a) a certificate of conformity.
b) speedometer (perhaps)
c) headlamps
My SIL recently imported her Irish mini into the UK and it took several weeks and cost her approaching £2k. She needed a) and b) and I think that she was over-charged.
Her conclusion was that she would have been better to sell the car in Ireland and buy another one in the UK.
I would agree with ET's advice - much less hassle.
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Old Nov 19th 2016, 3:55 pm
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Default Re: Buying a used car in France

In fact I believe the rules have changed and as of this year you can re register a UK car in France as long as it was MOT's less than 6 months ago. You could argue that would defer the conformity issues - headlamps, maybe speedo I don't know - until the MOT expires and it needs a CT. But, it would be irresponsible to drive round with your lights pointing the wrong way for 6 months just because you can. IMHO.
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Old Nov 19th 2016, 5:48 pm
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Default Re: Buying a used car in France

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
In fact I believe the rules have changed and as of this year you can re register a UK car in France as long as it was MOT's less than 6 months ago. You could argue that would defer the conformity issues - headlamps, maybe speedo I don't know - until the MOT expires and it needs a CT. But, it would be irresponsible to drive round with your lights pointing the wrong way for 6 months just because you can. IMHO.
A discussion on another forum used the word "theoretically" and suggested that it's acceptance may depend on the local Prefecture.
The current MOT "certificate" is just an A4 printout.
It only costs 50€ +- and takes one hour by appointment.
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