Buying a second hand car in france

What should I look for when I buy a second hand car in France, never done this before so I am new to the procedure.

What paper work should i be looking for .

Hi Simon,

Having just gone through this situation myself you may find the following information helpful. You do not say whether the car you're buying is a UK registered one or French registered, so I've tried to cover all bases for you.

Before agreeing to buy a used car:

  • Make sure that the series number stamped on the car matches that in the registration documents of the seller
  • Make sure that the seller is the legally registered owner of the car by checking on the certificat d'immatriculation and/or make sure that the seller provides a certificat de situation, which includes a certificate of non-security (valid for one month) and a certificate of non-opposition (valid for two months) proving that the car may be sold

When paying for and taking possession of the of the used car, ensure the seller provides all items listed'

The seller must provide the buyer with the following:

  1. Certificat d'immatriculation barrée: this is the vehicle registration document, the certificat d'immatriculation with written on it, by the seller, in indelible ink the words "Vendu le..." and the date, or "Cédée le..." and the date, followed by the seller's signature
  2. Certificat de situation administrative (commonly known by its old name of certificat de non-gage), which certifies that the car is not acting as security against a loan (valid for one month) and that there is no judicial opposition to its sale (valid for two months). The form is available from the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture

  3. Déclaration de cession, form Cerfa n°13754*02 (certificate of transfer and document of sale) in triplicate. One copy is given to the buyer, one is kept by the vendor and the third is sent to the Préfecture after the sale is complete. The form is available from the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture.
  4. If the car is more than 4 years old, provide a contrôle technique (CT) certificate (or, if the vehicle is not roadworthy, a certificate from a contrôle technique non roulant). This must be no more than 6 months old when the car is sold, or 2 months if a contre-visite (re-test) is required

Within two weeks of sale, the duplicate of the Certificat de vente/cession must be posted to the Préfecture of the place where the car was registered. There is no administrative charge when selling a car.

Documents required to register a vehicle

  1. Proof of identity: passport, carte de séjour or French driving licence
  2. Proof of residence: a recent utility bill (EDF or France Télécom) or rental receipt, house deeds or home insurance documents
  3. A completed certificat d'immatriculation, registration document is available from the Préfecture, Sous-Préfecture, Mairie or police
  4. A certificat de situation administrative provided by the seller (see above)
  5. A certificat de cession (certificate of transfer and document of sale) from the previous owner
  6. The registration document of the previous owner, marked in indelible ink "Vendu le..." or "Cede le..." with the date of the sale and signature of previous owner and dealers stamp if appropriate
  7. If the car is more than four years old, a CT certificate, no older than six months, or two months if a check up was required, which is the proof of roadworthiness provided by the seller
  8. Cheque, cash or credit card to pay the registration fee (note that not all Préfectures and Sous-Préfectures accept all forms of payment - some may not have credit card facilities, while others will not accept cheques).

Registering a used car by Internet or post

With the a "new-style" certificat d'immatriculation with a detachable coupon, issued since 2003 cars can be registered online or by post.

Registering online:

Registration can be done online, and new number plates requested, within 48 hours.

Registering by post:

Send copies of all the paperwork stipulated above to the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture. The process takes about two weeks:

  • Include the upper part of the certificat d'immatriculation marked as sold with the date and signature of the seller. Keeping the detachable section in the car while waiting for the issue of the new one
  • A self-addressed, stamped letter
  • A cheque or postal order made out to the Trésor Public

Price of vehicle registration

The price of registration is determined annually at a regional level (it varies across the country), and depends on a vehicle's horse power (cheval vapeur). Consult the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture of the region for information.

I hope this helps you out, bon chance xx