VIN Owner Search - How and When Possible
VIN owner search is a common request done by used car buyers who want to make sure that previous owners were not involved in any illegal or suspicious vehicle-related activities so as to be protected from buying a car with a problem history. Knowing about the previous owners business or even the address (and so, the location the car was driven at) can also tell a lot about the current condition of the vehicle. The problem is that vehicle owner search based on the VIN has become more complicated since the introduction of Drivers Privacy Protection Act, a federal act that restricted access of third parties to drivers and vehicle owners' private information. In the UK, the situation with vehicle owner search is just the same.
Why You cannot Search Owner by VIN
Believe or not, but the Act rose from the battle around...abortion rights! Abortion opponents used public driving license databases to find and abuse abortion patients, doctors and clinics. Sensational siege upon Susan Wicklund, an abortion doctor, in her own house was the kiss of death to public drivers records. As a result, today DMV and other authorized holders of driver's personal information can disclose it only in a number of strictly defined circumstances. As a private person, you'll have hard times proving that you have good reasons to search owner by VIN and no illegal intentions. You will also have to provide the DMV with your personal data in order to do VIN owner search. However, that is the only legal way to get the information you want.
Today, vehicle owner information is open only for governmental organizations (like court or police). Even for businesses that actually have to search vehicle owner by VIN every day (like wrecker services that need to give notice to owners of towed vehicles) the information is provided by an application that include DOT and license number of the business. If you are not an employer, a licensed investigation agency, a representative on an insurance company or any other entity specified in the Act, vehicle ownership search by VIN and access to the information for you is regulated by the state laws. There was a possibility to search for current vehicle owners by VIN using local property tax databases. However, now this option is not available for the most part.
Today there are many sites on the web that offer to search for the name and address based on the VIN and the registration plate, stating that they use the same databases as the DMV. You might try to run vehicle ownership search that way. Just make sure these sites are legit and not a scam.
VIN number search: Ownership History Reports
Still, some information about the vehicle's ownership history can be obtained from vehicle history reports, namely, the number of previous owners, registration dates and states, specific uses of the vehicles (in case the vehicle was previously owned by the police, taxi services, governmental use). The value of other information contained in such vehicle VIN search reports for you cannot be overestimated if you are a potential buyer. A used vehicle can have many hidden problems, regardless of who owned it at some point in the past. Buying a used car without such a report is a risky enterprise that may result in serious financial loss.