How To Sell Your Car Safely

Mistakes, delays and scams can happen when selling your car, leaving you out of pocket. Of course everyone can make mistakes, but when most people think of car scams they think of things where the buyer is the victim. An example is when a car is sold when there is finance outstanding on it. However, you can fall victim to scams and theft when selling your car too.

Ensuring you don’t end up out-of-pocket after you sell your car starts with the way you approach the sale. This means you should advertise only in reputable publications, and describe the car honestly and accurately. Not describing something accurately could result in the buyer contacting you months after they buy the car, causing you hassle that you don’t need, so always be upfront.

Communicating With The Buyer

Be wary of people who communicate with you using generic email addresses, who say they want to buy the car without viewing it, or who are trying to rush you into a sale. Most people act in a similar way when buying a car, and these characteristics are not normal.

Meeting The Buyer

The best place to meet potential buyers for your car is at your own home. Buyers are advised always to do this to stay protected from selling scams, so it shows you are an honest seller when you meet at your home address.

The best time to meet a buyer is during daylight hours, and make sure there is someone else with you. They don’t have to be involved in the sale – they can even be inside the house. It is usually best, however, not to be alone.

The Test Drive

Thankfully problems with test drives don’t happen often, but they do occur. The most common is when the potential buyer simply drives off in the car. The easiest way to protect yourself from this type of theft is to accompany the buyer on the test drive, and to ensure you only hand over the keys when you are inside the vehicle.

Theft is not the only problem that can occur during the test drive though. What if the driver has an accident? Again, this is not a common occurrence, but it can happen. It is always advisable to check that the driver has a full driver’s license and is insured to drive your car (unless your insurance covers them).

You might feel uncomfortable asking these questions but they are perfectly reasonable, and genuine buyers won’t mind.

Processing The Sale

Actually receiving the cash is another tricky part of selling a car. You could get the payment in a number of different ways, and none of them are ideal. The safest method is by bank transfer. You should only hand over the keys however, once the funds have cleared and are available in your account.

Banker’s drafts are also considered by many to be a safe option, but they are not totally fool proof. Again, you should not release the car until the funds are clear in your bank.

Getting paid in cash is probably the simplest option, and it is usually safe. Two of the potential problems that can occur are fake notes and theft. It is hard for private sellers to protect themselves against fake notes, but you should be particularly careful if the buyer gives you bundles of high-denomination notes. Also, use your instincts – if some of the notes don’t look right investigate further.

To protect yourself against theft make sure you get the cash into your bank as soon as possible.

Electronic payment options like PayPal are attractive to many people, but they are not totally safe either. You should therefore make sure you fully understand the risks of the platform before agreeing to use it. One way to mitigate the risk is to wait a period of time between the funds being transferred and you releasing the car – long enough so the buyer cannot recall the payment (which is often possible on such platforms).

Finally, trusting your gut will help you stay safe when selling your car. If it doesn’t feel right, walk away from the deal.

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