Acting Supt Joanne Archie on Thursday at the weekly police news conference warned potential used-car buyers about the dangers that could be hidden in such a transaction if they are not careful.
She said, “If you are responding to an advertisement, when making arrangements to view the vehicle please do so in a public place.”
She also added that unusual or late hours to view the car should not be done and when these viewing arrangements have finally been made view the car with someone who has experience with vehicles.
“Make thorough checks of the vehicle, engine and chassis number,” said Archie, who added, “Check any numbers that may have been etched unto glass surfaces ensuring that they correspond with what is written on the certified copy or that these numbers do not appear to be tampered with, because before you part with your hard-earned cash you need to consider that the car may have been stolen.”
Archie further warned used-car buyers, “Do not accept any documents, such as a bill of sale in place of the certified copy. Ensure that the certified copy corresponds with the records at the Licensing Department.
“Let the vendor know you need to conduct a thorough check before closing the transaction. We have had reports of false certified copies being tendered in transactions for sale of motor vehicles.
“Ask the vendor for a copy of his/her Trinidad and Tobago Identification Card back and front, copy of Trinidad and Tobago Passport or Drivers’ permit.”
Archie continued, “Do not sign transfer forms and leave it to the vendor to effect the transfer and we remind you of the provisions of Section 19. (1) of the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act Chapter 48:50, which states that on the change of possession of a motor vehicle otherwise than by death.”
Archie further advised that when making the purchase, “try to avoid as far as possible conducting such transactions with cash but if you have to, have the vendor meet you at a financial institution.
“Obtaining a manager’s cheque is the best option.
“When you are totally satisfied after all checks were conducted, then and only then you can take possession of the vehicle and part with your cash.
“Despite how tempting the offer may be, do not take possession of the vehicle unless all you are absolutely sure the vehicle that you are purchasing was not illegally obtained by the person who is now attempting to sell it to you.”
Archie said, “The vendor may be an unscrupulous person making a very tempting offer to you for the sale of the vehicle. Do not fall for the scam of the vendor making additional offers with the package and even offering to have the vehicle transferred for you.”