Car Leasing Expert reveals five lesser-known laws that Brits might break when selling their car

All Car Leasing has released comments warning Brits of the lesser-known ways that they may be breaking the law when selling their cars.


As of the start of 2023, Google searches in the UK for “how to sell a car” were at their highest level in five years, and up by 10% overall year on year (Source: Google Trends). However, whilst the demand is clearly high, the rush to get your car sold can land you in trouble if you don’t take the time to get familiar with your rights and responsibilities before putting your vehicle on the market.


To help Brits ensure that they are selling their car responsibly and lawfully, Nigel King, Group Operations Director at All Car Leasing, has outlined five lesser-known laws that Brits might be breaking when selling their cars.


“Although the laws around selling your car are relatively straightforward, it’s important to be vigilant and have a good understanding of how to safely and responsibly put your car on the market. There are a number of regulations that Brits might not be aware of, but should be taken into consideration to avoid any nasty surprises.”


  1. Sale of Goods Act 1979


“The Sale of Goods Act requires that a product is sold as described by the seller to the recipient and that it is fit for use as advertised. In the case of selling a car, this means that it is against the law to make false, exaggerated or misleading claims and statements regarding the vehicle’s condition, history, or characteristics.”


“This is why it’s important to be mindful of how precise and truthful you are when describing your car. Even if done so by accident, if you provide inaccurate information about your vehicle to its potential buyers, this could potentially lead to legal issues.”


  1. The Road Traffic Act 1988


“This law prohibits the modification of a vehicle’s structure or mechanics in a way that could render it dangerous to use or non-compliant with safety regulations. If you have made significant modifications to your car and sell it without disclosing what changes have been made, or without ensuring that these alterations are legal, then you may be in violation of this law.”


  1. Inappropriate or incorrect number plates


“The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) have outlined a specific format that all UK number plates must abide by.”


“Your number plate must consist of two letters (which refer to the region of the UK in which your vehicle was first registered), two numbers (that tell you which year it was issued) and then three additional random letters.”


“They must also be made from reflective material, with the front plate displaying black characters on a white background and the rear plate displaying black characters on a yellow background. They must not have a background pattern and must be marked to show who supplied the plate and with a British Standard number. The characters must not be removable or reflective.”


“If you sell a car that has number plates that violate these laws, or if your vehicle has personalised number plates that could be deemed offensive, then you could be penalised.”


  1. Data protection laws


“The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an act introduced in 2018 to regulate how businesses and organisations access and use personal data. This law also applies to individuals who offer goods or services within the UK or the EU.”


“In the context of selling your car, you, as the seller, may have access to personal information about the buyer such as their name, address and contact details. It is important that you handle this information responsibly, ensuring that it is kept securely and only used for specified and relevant purposes.”


“You should not retain this information once the sale is complete and should you want to contact the buyer for future purposes, it is vital that you get explicit consent from them to use their personal details for this intention.”


  1. Mileage Fraud


“Commonly referred to as ‘clocking’, this is an illegal practice that involves misrepresenting your vehicle’s mileage by winding back the odometer to make a high-mileage vehicle appear lower. This is done with the aim of increasing the vehicle’s value, as every 1,000 miles taken off your mileage can have a noticeable impact on this and make it far less desirable to buyers.”


“It is crucial that you provide accurate information on the mileage of your car before selling it, as if found guilty of clocking, this could have serious legal consequences.”


All Car Leasing have released these comments to warn Brits of the lesser-known laws that they may be breaking when selling their car. For further advice related to your vehicle, visit the All Car Leasing website here.