Transport for London (TfL) has launched an email "penalty checker" service to enable those buying new cars to see if the vehicle has any unpaid congestion charges on it.
To use the service, potential car buyers will need to provide their name, address and the vehicle registration, as well as confirmation that authorisation has been obtained from the registered keeper.
Requests should be sent to:
An e-mail response will be sent within ten working days confirming whether there are any outstanding penalty charges.
Basic advice as to what action can be taken if there are is also provided.
John Mason, TfL's head of enforcement in congestion charging, said, "It is only fair that the motorist who incurred, or who is liable, for a penalty issued by us for not complying with the congestion charge scheme is the person who pays for it.
"We are providing this service in order to assist anyone buying a used car to find out quickly and conveniently that no outstanding congestion charging penalties exist, and provide clear advice and guidance to them if there are."
A wait of up to ten days to check however will severely delay many deals and potential buyers may miss out on their ideal cars - particularly those sold through online auction sites such as eBay which require speedier payments.