Some used car retailers, including major dealer group Bristol Street, which also owns the Motor Nation car supermarket, have been instructed not to accept any vehicle without a V5 document from November 1 in anticipation of new rules coming into force in February 2003.
From February 1, car owners will have to present a V5 document in order to obtain a vehicle tax disc, making it vital for the appropriate part of the registration document to be passed on to the buyer when the vehicle is sent for auction or sale.
Richard Lownsbrough, used vehicle operations director at Bristol Street, told delegates at the Fleet News Hit For Six conference that his company would be taking a tougher line towards its acquisition of used cars from November.
'The buying policy towards vehicles that don't have the required documents will change,' he said. 'We have put processes in place in anticipation of the change and instructed our dealers that from November 1 no vehicle will be accepted in purchase or part exchange without a full set of documents.'
Fleet executives will have to ensure they keep the most accurate records on their vehicles if they have any hope of selling them.
Lownsbrough added: 'Without a V5 document and preferably a manufacturer's handbook it will be hard work to convince retail customers that what we are selling is bona fide, even with a good brand name.
'We will need to see service histories and we will only invest in those vehicles which we can quickly bring up to the manufacturer's standards.'
Traditionally, prior to sending vehicles to auction, vendors sent part of the V5 document headed 'Notification of Sale/transfer to a Motor Vehicle Trader Only' to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, making the auction company the point of contact.
However, sources at auction companies say they now want to receive the full V5 document to accompany a car through the sale process, which they will then complete after the sale.
The changes, being implemented by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, are aimed at tackling vehicle crime, and by only allowing the legitimate keeper to buy a tax disc it is hoped criminals will find it harder to sell stolen vehicles.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association has already begun a campaign to ensure fleet decision makers collect the relevant documents for vehicles several weeks before disposal.