Sold your car but the purchaser has failed to lodge the transfer of registration?

A seller posts their car online, the potential buyer comes, agrees to buy the car, pays the amount and the parties fill in and sign their respective sections on the Application for Transfer of Registration form. As far as the seller is concerned, this is generally the end of the selling process.

But then the seller starts receiving speeding fines and other traffic & parking infringements. As the owner of the vehicle these come in their name still, yet were clearly incurred on dates after the vehicle was sold. 

Clearly, the buyer has failed to lodge the paperwork within the required 14 days from the date of sale. In Victoria, Australia, if the registration isn’t transferred within 14 days, the registration will be cancelled and you’ll need to re-register the vehicle.

It’s frustrating when you’ve sold your car but the new owner hasn’t bothered with the transfer of vehicle registration into their name. This is a scenario as criminal lawyers in Melbourne, unfortunately, see regularly. 

What Should Happens On A Transfer of Vehicle


Buyer completes vehicle transfer application form

When it comes to selling a second hand vehicle in Victoria, it is usually up to the buyer to notify VicRoads within 14 days of the change of possession and owner of the car.  If the registration isn’t transferred within 14 days, the registration will be cancelled and you’ll need to re-register the vehicle.

Seller’s Can Notify VicRoads Online

Vicroads have made this process easier, with the ability for sellers to notify them about their vehicle transfer online, so you don’t have to wait around for the buyer to do their part. It is however imperative that you collect the buyer’s details and that they have Victorian drivers licence to be eligible for this vehicle notification form online.


What you can do if the buyer does not transfer vehicle registration?

Try contact the buyer

If you find yourself in this situation, the first thing you should do is try to contact the new owner and ask them to lodge the transfer as soon as possible if you have their contact details.

Use a copy of the application of transfer form

It is absolutely vital that the seller keeps a copy of the completed Application for Transfer of Registration. Had half our clients done this they would not have required our services in the beginning. With a copy of the Application of Transfer of Registration, the issue is easily remedied with VicRoads and all outstanding fines and infringements can be applied to the purchaser of the vehicle. Without a copy of the form though, the process can be somewhat problematic.

Forced Registration

In these situations VicRoads can process what is referred to as a ‘forced registration’, but only where the seller can provide sufficient details of the purchaser and the sale. This information includes the seller’s full name, date of birth, home address, licence number, the registration of the vehicle, date of sale and sale price. 

Generally if all of this information is known then the forced registration can be completed with an accompanying cover letter setting out the circumstance of events. If only a combination of those details are known, then it will depend on whether what is provided is sufficient for VicRoads to process the transfer.

Get A Criminal Lawyer Involved

If you’ve sold your car and the new owner hasn’t transferred the registration into their name, you can’t get in contact or get them to comply with any of the above steps,  you may be stuck with the fines and other penalties they incur. In this case, it’s best to get a criminal lawyer involved to help you sort out the situation. Anthony Isaacs has over 40 years experience in these types of traffic offences and can help you through the process.

Taking precautionary steps when you sell a car can help you avoid a frustrating situation of car ownership transfer. If you aren’t able to. Having legitimate buyer details and copies of transfer application forms If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have enough information about your buyer, you may need to consider taking civil action with the help of a criminal lawyer like Anthony Isaacs.

Tom Isaacs

Tom Isaacs

Bachelor of Laws with Honours - LLB(Hons)

Tom has been part of the firm for the past 10 years, working initially as a law clerk and now as a fully qualified Solicitor. He completed his Bachelor of Laws with Honours at Deakin University, and undertook his legal training at the Leo Cussen Insititute where he was president of his class. Tom appears regularly at Magistrates' Courts, both metropolitan and in regional Victoria.