A to Z of services
Cars for sale on the highway
Selling a vehicle
The sale of motor vehicles from the public highway is an improper use of the highway entitling Pendle Council, Lancashire County Council or Lancashire Constabulary to take action to have the vehicles removed or the current owners prosecuted.
This is not intended to target a resident trying to sell their old car whilst it is parked outside their house, but to address the increasing problem of hot spot areas where numerous cars are regularly being offered for sale at the side of the road.
All streets within Pendle are designated as consent streets, which means it is an offence to sell anything from a street without a street trading licence. The term "street" includes any road, footway, beach or other area to which the public have access without payment. Anyone found guilty of trading on the highway without a licence shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding £1,000.
Section 147A of the Highways Act 1980 (external link) states that no person shall, for the purposes of selling anything or offering or exposing anything for sale, use any container or vehicle, kept or placed on the verge of a trunk road or a principal road, a lay-by on any such road or unenclosed land within 15 metres of any part of any such road. Anyone found guilty of this offence may be liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to £1,000.
Lancashire Constabulary will also check to ensure a vehicle advertised for sale has all the legal documentation (such as insurance) to be kept on the public highway. If not, Lancashire Constabulary will issue a seizure notice to the vehicle.
In addition, the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (external link) introduced the offence of "nuisance parking" whereby it became an offence for a trader to leave two or more vehicles parked on a road within 500 metres of each other where they are advertised for sale. A trader guilty of this offence may be liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to £2,500.
Thinking of buying a vehicle?
If you're buying a used car privately, you should be doing the deal at the address shown on the V5/C Vehicle Registration Certificate (external link). Don't be tempted to buy a vehicle advertised for sale on a highway, and never buy a car without a V5/C Vehicle Registration Certificate. If the seller is unable to produce it for any reason, walk away.
When you buy a car from a trader, you have legal rights under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (external link), as amended by the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 (external link) and the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002 (external link). However, some unscrupulous traders have been known to park cars on the highway and pretend to be private sellers to avoid their legal obligations and, in some cases, rid themselves of faulty or overpriced vehicles. This of course is illegal.
Even a car from a private seller must be capable of passing an MOT test, unless the seller clearly agreed that the car was to be sold as scrap.
But if you buy a car from a stranger at the side of the road, don't be too surprised if you later find you've bought a "lemon", and the seller's mobile number no longer works and the address they gave you doesn't actually exist.
- To report cars for sale on the highway, please contact Lancashire County Council's Customer Service Centre on 0845 053 0011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you think a trader is pretending to be a private seller, contact Lancashire County Council Trading Standards on 0845 600 1352 or 01772 533569 or complete their online complaint form.
- For more information about consumer rights when buying a used car, visit the website for Lancashire County Council Trading Standards.
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Contact: Lancashire Highways
Telephone: 0845 053 0011Visit: http://www3.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/atoz/toptasks/index.asp?catID=13079 Area East Highways Office, Willows Lane, Accrington, Lancashire, BB5 0RT
Contact: Trading Standards Lancashire
Telephone: 08454 04 05 06 or 01772 533569
Fax: 01772 533591Visit: http://www3.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/atoz/toptasks/index.asp?catID=13091 58-60 Trading Standards Office, County Hall, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 0LD