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Can someone scrap my car without my permission?

Selling someone else’s property against their consent is considered a crime. If you’re pondering the question ‘can someone scrap my car against my permission?’, you might discover some peace of mind here.

The Scrap Dealers Act 2013

This law was passed in 2013 in a bid to hinder car crime and cut back on disreputable scrap dealers conducting questionable transactions. Before the passing of this law, it was common practice to enter a battle of wills with your local breaker yard and haggle over details from collection costs to your total payment. Scrapping your car today isn’t such a difficult process, with Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs) recycling your vehicle safely and fairly. These sites are regulated by government laws put in place to protect both the public and the yards.

If you don’t have a V5 registration document proving you’re the car’s owner, you can still arrange for your car to be scrapped. However, you’ll need to provide proof of identity and where you live. A driving licence or passport are both suitable for personal identification and a recent utility bill is acceptable to prove your address.

These documents aren’t just shown briefly to the ATFs and forgotten. Copies of the documents are held on file by the facility for a period of up to three years. If someone were to scrap your vehicle without your consent, a clear record of who they were and where they resided would be present, making them simple to track down.

If this wasn’t deterrent enough to criminals seeking to scrap your car and reap the rewards, the Scrap Dealers Act also stipulates that ATFs can’t pay out for vehicles disposed of in cash. A bank transfer or cheque are the only acceptable forms of payment, both of which leave a trail that can be easily traced by the authorities if a theft occurs.

Scrapping a car without its keys

If someone attempted to scrap your vehicle without your permission and didn’t possess your car keys, they’d be requested to present a V5 registration document, sometimes referred to as a logbook, showing they were the registered keeper of the vehicle. If they couldn’t provide this documentation, they’d be asked to show proof of purchase for the vehicle with their name on it. These documents would also need to be fully backed up with photo ID and proof of address.

HPI checks

In some circumstances, such as missing keys or V5 registration documents, it’s necessary for a scrap yard to conduct a Hire Purchase Information (HPI) check, which they’ll typically charge for.

This is a comprehensive vehicle history check. Although HPI checks do make sure there are no outstanding finance agreements attached to a vehicle, they also reveal if cars have been stolen or written off - among other specific circumstances.

When proof of ownership is in doubt, an HPI check can be carried out by the scrap yard prior to scrapping and the release of payment. If your car has been registered as stolen, the ATF will be alerted before any illegal transaction can take place.

If proof of identification can’t be supplied to a scrap yard, then no payment will be forthcoming so it’s never in the interests of someone to scrap a car without permission if they’re hoping to profit from the sale.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

When a car is no longer roadworthy, it still has some value. An Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) will pay you the scrap value of your car, which could be well over a hundred pounds, depending on the model.

No problem. A Certificate of Destruction (COD) will be issued when your car is scrapped. Please let us know if you need one when you request a quote – and we’ll ensure a copy is forwarded as soon as possible.

It’s illegal to sell a car with outstanding finance, so before you scrap a car you need to have paid off the outstanding finance amount. Technically, a car with outstanding finance is the lender’s property, not yours.

End of Life Vehicle (ELV) is the term used to describe a car that is no longer suitable for use – either through wear and tear or damage. ELVs must be recycled at authorised treatment facilities.

When a car is no longer roadworthy and needs to be scrapped, there’s probably a scrap dealer near you who will collect the car and pay you money for this. It’s easy to find a nearby scrapyard.

When scrapping your car, you must inform the DVLA. You’ll need your logbook to pass onto the ATF (Authorised Treatment Facility). Afterwards, you’ll be given a Certificate of Destruction (CoD).

ATF stands for ‘Authorised Treatment Facility’ - another name for a scrap yard, breaker’s yard or vehicle dismantler that meets with strict government guidelines relating to the handling of scrap cars.

Yes, our network of dismantlers can scrap vehicles that are registered in other countries. You’ll need to inform the governing body in the country that the car is from; usually by sending them the completed registration document.

To scrap your car legally, the three absolute musts are you must use an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF), ensure your logbook (V5 certificate) is completed correctly, and, if the vehicle’s to be destroyed, obtain a CoD (Certificate of Destruction).

Yes, you can. Before your car is collected, you’ll need to ‘retain’ your registration with the DVLA; either online or through the post. Your registration will then be held on a retention certificate, ready to transfer to another car.