General Question

FluffyChicken's avatar

Is it normal for someone privately selling a vehicle to ask for this information?

Asked by FluffyChicken (5459 points ) July 30th, 2011

I have an appointment to go test drive the van that I am hopefully getting.
I just received an email from the gentleman selling it asking for my Full name, address, and date of birth. I am also bringing a friend with me to test drive it as I still only have a permit. He requested her full name, address, and her driver’s license number. Is that normal for a private seller to ask such things?

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23 Answers

YoBob's avatar

Would you let somebody operate a vehicle that is your personal property, for which you currently hold liability, without at least knowing their name and how to get in touch with them?

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
gorillapaws's avatar

How is he supposed to know you just wouldn’t drive off forever with his property without knowing who to file the police report on, or using his car to rob a bank? It seems like a perfectly reasonable request to me.

keobooks's avatar

A copy of a driver’s licence or permit would already have all that info on it. I’d likely ask for a copy of the license from someone who wanted to test drive my car. I probably wouldn’t come out and ask for all the info they had because it might raise hackles—but if they gave me a copy of the DL, I’d already have it all.

snowberry's avatar

If I were selling a vehicle, I’d ask for a copy of their driver’s lisence and proof of insurance. I’d even go so far as to call the insurance company (which means I’d need to see their policy number) and make certain their policy is current. I’ve dodged a bullet or two this way (really).

Aethelflaed's avatar

@snowberry How do they have proof of insurance on a car they don’t have yet?

snowberry's avatar

@Aethelflaed Ah, yeah, you’re right. Reconsidering…

I’d call my insurance company and let them know I’d be having someone driving my car (edit) to buy it, or maybe I’d just get in the car with them and ride around…

flo's avatar

I don’t blame an seller for needing to know the minimum about who he is dealing with. You on the other hand you know something, assuming he is selling it from his house. So, he is just being proactive. If a potential buyer crashes the car or something close then what? It is reasonable to ask and wanting to provide the info. On the other hand there are shady people who put fake ads out there for criminal purposes, so I don’t blame you for being nervous.

CWOTUS's avatar

Not many people go to a seller’s home with a copy of their driver’s license in hand, and not many people have copying machines at their homes. Maybe it’s just my face or something, but when I have bought (or at least tested) vehicles from private sellers, I’ve simply offered to have them hold my license while I drive, and they wave it off with, “Nah, you’re good.” But that hasn’t been for decades, anyway.

I’d still offer to do that, though. It’s not like you’re going to be arrested while on a short drive away from the person’s house for not having the license in your immediate possession – even assuming that you were to be stopped for something.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@CWOTUS Doesn’t everyone have those all-in-one printers with the flatbed copier/scanner now?

JLeslie's avatar

No. I buy and sell all the time, and this has never happened to me once. If you look very very young, maybe just asking to see your license would not surprise me before you get behind the wheel, but to actually take down the information would be odd.

JLeslie's avatar

Insurance is attached to the car, not the driver. There is no reason for you to have insurance if you don’t own a car.

keobooks's avatar

@CWOTUS Everyone who drives should have a copy of their license on their person—especially if they intend to test drive a car that day. Also, people call ahead and ask what they need. You can say, bring your license and proof of insurance. And go to Kinkos and copy that stuff.

Now their insurance won’t cover if they have an accident in your car unless you have an umbrella policy, but would you want to take the risk of handing over the keys to an uninsured motorist? They usually got that way by poor driving or not paying their bills. So even though the insurance doesn’t directly do anything for you, wouldn’t you like the comfort of knowing that you’re not handing the keys over to a lousy driver?

lillycoyote's avatar

I wouldn’t ask for all that information when selling a car, particularly from someone accompanying the potential buyer, but if you only have a learner’s permit you’re probably pretty young, I’m assuming at least, and the man needs to know that you are at least 18 or he can’t legally sell you the car; if you aren’t 18 you can’t enter into a legally binding contract like buying an automobile. I don’t know why he needs the information from the other person.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@keobooks But it’s not the motorist that isn’t insured, it’s the motor. And many people in the market for a car – especially a used car – don’t have insurance right now because they don’t have a car.

AshlynM's avatar

I can understand him asking you for your personal information as you listed, but not quite sure why needs your friend’s info.

I’d just email him a copy of your driver’s license. It already has all that information on it. He shouldn’t need anything more. And if he asks for more, then you need to be wary or just walk away.

CWOTUS's avatar

@Aethelflaed is correct. As an owner of an insured vehicle, I’m allowed to let others drive the car… and still maintain my coverage, provided they aren’t specifically forbidden by the policy or the laws of the jurisdiction.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh oh wait, lerners permit. So you are under 18? I would think bringing one of your parents might be best if you are, rather than a friend.

Usually when we go to drive someones car for sale, the owner comes with. I don’t see why he is not doing that? He is over 18, so the lerners permit would be a non issue.

jerv's avatar

I would say that it is slightly unusual for a private sale, but it is also a prudent move on their part.

john65pennington's avatar

I would ask those questions. Why? Suppose you did not come back? It happens all the time. The seller is being cautious and that is the way it should be. Also, suppose you used his vehicle in the commision of a felony? The police are going to be looking for the registered owner of the vehicle, not the “test driver”. People borrow their friends cars all the time and rob a bank or other crimes.

The seller is not stupid, he is smart.

jerv's avatar

@john65pennington Let us not forget that those “other crimes” include traffic violations. I have a buddy who got into trouble when his boss (the registered owner) got a ticket for running a red light in the work van.

FluffyChicken's avatar

I am almost 25, and my friend is a senior citizen. I told her what information he wanted, and she said absolutely not.

snowberry's avatar

I’m thinking a dealership would ask for at least a driver’s license to test drive a car. Why shouldn’t a private person?

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