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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: distraint: after the levy: checks on road-registered motor vehicles

Motor vehicle (road registered)

Before you arrange removal or sale of a road-registered motor vehicle you must check that it is free of any finance agreement by using the Experian ‘Car data check’ either on-line by direct access to the Experian Europe database, or by telephone.

You must keep a copy of the report of the enquiry with the case papers. You must not proceed to remove or sell a vehicle if a third party has a financial interest in it.

Other information available about motor vehicles

The Experian ‘car data check’ will also provide other information that will be useful to you and the auctioneer:

  • number plate transfers: ifthe registration number has been changed (for example, a cherished plate may have been transferred to it) you can make further enquiries (by telephone) if necessary to establish if information is held about the vehicle under its former registration number (DMBM655160)
  • major damage: Vehicles subject to a major damage insurance claim are identified. In such cases you should tell the debtor that the position will be notified to the auctioneer before the vehicle is sold at auction and advise the auctioneer of the insurance claim
  • stolen vehicles: if the vehicle is reported as stolen you will be advised of this when you make an enquiry about it (or up to one month after if a late report is filed). In such a case, withdraw the vehicle from the distraint and tell the defaulter
  • Police enquiries: as part of the ‘Car data check’ on a vehicle that has been reported as stolen, Experian also tell the police that enquiries have been made about it. If the police approach you for information regarding the whereabouts of a vehicle which has been reported as stolen you should

    • refuse to disclose the information on the grounds of confidentiality of information
    • refer (if necessary) to the declaration of secrecy set out in TMA70/SCH1, and FA89/S182
    • report details of the police enquiry and their reaction to your response to Solicitors Office immediately (HRLG3.2.5).