You may receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) for a contravention that occurred before you were the registered keeper of the vehicle, ie before you bought your car.
How this can happen
If we cannot match the image of a vehicle registration to our database, we contact the DVLA and request details of the vehicle and the recorded registered keeper. If the DVLA details have not been updated following the sale of a vehicle, the wrong person may receive a PCN.
Whether buying or selling a vehicle it is your joint responsibility to ensure the DVLA records for the vehicle are updated.
What to do if it happens
You can make a representation to let us know you were not liable for the PCN(s) and provide details of the previous owner.
However, if they fail to pay a PCN for a vehicle you now possess, your vehicle may be immobilised or removed.
How to prevent it happening
If you are considering buying a vehicle, you can check whether it is
subject to any outstanding PCNs by emailing the following information to email@example.com:
- Your full name and address for identification purposes
- An email address for the information to be sent to
- The complete vehicle registration number (only one per enquiry is permitted)
- Confirmation that you have obtained the explicit consent of the
current registered keeper of the vehicle (or, if unregistered, the owner
of the vehicle) for the information to be provided to you
The address above should only be used for checking a vehicle being bought
- We can only confirm if there are outstanding red route penalty charges
- Further details of any outstanding penalty charges can only be provided to the person deemed liable for those penalties
If you want to make a representation against any PCNs you have already received you should follow the instructions on the PCN.
Data protection legislation
We will only process the personal information you provide for the
purpose of the administration of the PCN Checker enquiry service. Your
personal information will be properly safeguarded and processed in
accordance with the requirements of data protection legislation. It may
be disclosed to or requested from the registered keeper of the vehicle
in question. If, as a result of your enquiry, we have reason to believe
that there has been an abuse of this service and/or an offence under
data protection legislation may have been committed, your personal
information may be disclosed to relevant third parties, including law
- It is an offence under data protection legislation to
knowingly or recklessly, obtain, disclose, sell or advertise for sale,
or bring about the disclosure of personal data, without the consent of
the Data Controller (TfL)
- We specifically prohibit you from making any other commercial use
of the information you receive or in any way selling, publishing or
- We will provide your name, address, and email address to the
registered keeper of the vehicle that you have enquired about if
requested to do so by that person. Your use of this service indicates
your consent to the release this information
By using this service you are confirming your acceptance of these
terms and conditions and your agreement that you will only use the
information you receive for purposes relating to your possible purchase
of the vehicle.