If you’re considering how to stay safe when selling a car privately instead of just trading in or selling to a dealership, you need to approach the sale in an organized way. We have already covered how to maximize the price you get in other posts, so now it’s time to tackle the elephant in the room.
Selling cars privately can go perfectly. You can get top dollar for the car, sell it to the first person who calls and get paid then and there.
It can also go less than perfectly. You can answer dozens of queries, manage multiple viewings, dozens of test drives and things can still go wrong.
Not all private car sales go bad, but enough of them do to make it a risk you need to mitigate as much as possible.
Here are a few tips to help stay safe when selling a car privately.
Get the full name of the person
Legitimate car buyers won’t mind giving you their full name and where they live. Even if they don’t give you a house number and street, knowing roughly where they live can help you stay safe when selling a car privately.
If they don’t live in your city, or they live in another province or even another country, they could be a scammer. They could also be working away or serving, so don’t ignore them, just be mindful.
Make sure to mention sold as seen or as-is in the ad
While private sales of most things are legally sold as seen, some people do love their lawyers so make sure you mention one term or the other in the ad. Make sure it’s very clear and mention ‘sold as seen’ or ‘sold as-is’ in the ad.
Most people know this is how private sales work but you’re covering yourself for those few that love a claim.
Use a burner phone
Giving out your phone number is a definite risk but you need to be contactable in order to help the sale. Just use a burner phone instead of your main phone. They are cheap, they work out of the box and you can dispose of it afterwards.
That should avoid the phone number scrapers that haunt Craigslist and eBay and many other scammers.
Payment in full
Never accept a monthly payment scheme from a private buyer and be wary of any escrow platform the buyer wants to use.
Never give the keys and registration to the buyer until you have been paid in full.
Accept payments via your bank only if at all possible. Meet them at your bank so you can verify receipt of the payment before handing over the keys and registration.
Don’t accept cheques unless it’s a cashier’s cheque. If the buyer wants to pay by cheque, make them understand that they won’t get the car until the payment has cleared.
Let’s be straight. The vast majority of private car sales go perfectly well. Two people performing a simple transaction to the benefit of both.
However, not all private car sales do go that way so make sure to protect yourself. Or, just sell your car to a dealership instead. It’s safer, simpler and you’ll get paid a fair price.
For those of you who know that you have a challenging credit situation, please visit Dixie Auto Loans where we have a team of credit specialists ready to help you get approved for a car loan today!
For any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us here!