Buying a "Tokunbo" car (a second-hand/foreign used car) in Nigeria can be a smart economic decision, as it often costs less than purchasing a brand new vehicle. However, it’s important to make sure the car is legally acquired, and all necessary documents are obtained from the seller. In this article, we will discuss the important documents you should collect when buying a "Tokunbo" car in Nigeria.
The first and most important document to obtain from the seller is the registration documents. The most crucial of these documents is the Proof of Ownership, which is typically a title certificate, indicating that the seller rightfully owns the car. This document proves that the car is not stolen and that the seller has the legal right to sell it. Once a car is registered, the car's chassis number, engine number, and the owners’ details are recorded by the VIS.
Other essential registration documents that should be collected include the Road Worthiness Certificate, Motor Vehicle License, and the Vehicle Insurance Policy. The Road Worthiness Certificate is issued by the VIS to certify that the vehicle is in proper working condition and is fit for use on Nigerian roads. The Motor Vehicle License is a legal permit issued by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) that enables a vehicle to be used on public roads within Nigeria. The Vehicle Insurance Policy is also necessary to protect the buyer from unexpected costs due to accidents or other forms of damage.
Pre-purchase Inspection Reports
Before purchasing a "Tokunbo" car, you should obtain a pre-purchase inspection report from a reliable and trustworthy mechanic or auto technician. This report will provide you with critical information regarding the car's condition and components. The inspection report should include details about the car's engine, transmission, brakes, suspension, steering, and electrical systems. It should also provide insight into the vehicle's entire history, including any previous accidents or repairs.
This document is important because it helps identify possible malfunctions or defects that could affect the car's performance, safety, or resale value. A pre-purchase inspection report can also be used as a bargaining tool to negotiate the car's price or to determine if the purchase is worth the cost.
Bill of Sale
A Bill of Sale is a legal document that proves the ownership transfer from the seller to the buyer. This document contains details about the transaction, such as the seller's name and address, the buyer's name and address, and the vehicle identification number (VIN). It also includes the date of sale, the purchase price, and the payment method.
A Bill of Sale is important because it establishes proof of ownership and serves as a legal binding agreement between the buyer and the seller. It also protects the buyer from potential fraud by stating the car’s true purchase price, which prevents the seller from altering the price after the sale.
When buying a foreign-used car, ensure you obtain all necessary customs documents. These documents include the car's original purchase documents, the Export Clearance Certificate, and the Import Duty Certificate. The original purchase documents prove that the car was lawfully obtained by the foreign seller.
The Export Clearance Certificate is issued by the government agency in charge of customs in the foreign country of purchase. It certifies that the car was lawfully exported from the foreign country. The Import Duty Certificate is issued by the Nigerian Customs Service and is evidence that the necessary taxes and duties have been paid on the vehicle.
If the seller doesn't provide you with these documents, the car could be impounded by customs officials, or you could be penalized for not having the required documentation. One reliable website to check the validity of customs documents is the Nigeria Customs Service Official Website.
Buying a second-hand car in Nigeria can be a financially smart decision. However, before making that purchase, ensure you obtain all the necessary documents to protect yourself legally. These documents include the Proof of Ownership, Road Worthiness Certificate, Motor Vehicle License, and Vehicle Insurance Policy.
Obtaining pre-purchase inspection reports from trustworthy auto technicians and a Bill of Sale from the seller is also crucial. Additionally, when buying a foreign-used car, make sure you obtain all necessary customs documents to avoid legal complications in future.
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