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How to Avoid Being Scammed when Selling your Car

How to Avoid Being Scammed when Selling your Car

The vast majority of private car sales go through without a hitch, but a few don’t go quite so well. It is those few we are addressing today, to help people avoid being scammed.

 

While we would prefer you to sell your old car to us, we appreciate you may still want to sell it privately. If you do, follow these simple tips to avoid being scammed.

 

Describe your car accurately

 

Preparing the ad for your old car needs care and attention. The description needs to be 100% accurate, images need to show the car as it really is and you need to mention ‘sold as seen’ in any receipt or payment acknowledgement you provide.

 

Take screenshots of the ad when it’s live so you have evidence of what it says.

 

There are scammers that buy the car, damage it in some way, bring it back and say it wasn’t as described. There are also scams that will threaten legal action unless you offer a discount due to some fabricated damage or malfunction.

 

Use a fake phone number

 

The use of ‘fake’ was a little disingenuous but the theory is sound. If the website you advertise your car on has a private number function, use it. Having your real phone number published on the internet is less than ideal. Having buyers call a system number and be put through is much better.

 

If the website doesn’t offer that feature, use a burner phone. It will save a lot of followup phone calls when the number is scraped while online!

 

Don’t go it alone

 

Have someone around when the car is being viewed. Whether it’s a partner, friend or family, make sure there is someone in proximity. They don’t have to be by your side but they need to be visible and able to react if necessary.

 

Knowing someone else is there can deter some scammers or car thieves from doing anything. Prevention is always better than cure!

 

Test drive carefully

 

All buyers are going to want to test drive the car to make sure it works as advertised. If you go out alone with the buyer, make sure your friend or family know where you’re going and how long you’ll be.

 

If the buyer wants their friend to come with, bring your friend or have them follow.

 

If the buyer asks you to drive the car and they switch later, remove the keys when you get out the car. A common scam is for them to slide across and drive away while you’re walking round the car to get in the other side.

 

Cash is king

 

Don’t use escrow, don’t use PayPal or Western Union to get paid for your car. Use a cashier’s cheque if you go to the bank and see it being provided. Then go to your bank to cash the cheque so the buyer can see.

 

Only pass the keys once you have cleared funds in your account. There are lots of cheque or electronic payment scams that depend on having the keys before payment clears!

 

You also could avoid being scammed by selling your car to a dealership. We pay close to market rate and will even get you a coffee while we strike a deal!

 

For any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us here!

 

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