Selling your car privately can add hundreds of pounds onto the value of your car. However, being conned or scammed by fraudulent buyers can leave you out of pocket. The chances are high that you will sell your car to a genuine buyer without any issues. However, by taking a quick look at our simple guide and following a few simple steps you can help to protect yourself.
The safest place to meet buyers is at your home address in daylight hours. Not only does this show the buyer that you’re genuine but criminals are less likely to target you at your home. If possible, try and have someone with you. Their presence alone could be just enough to stop anything untoward happening.
One of the golden rules is to never let a buyer test drive your car by themselves as there is always a small risk they won’t return. Don’t accept anything as “security” against taking your car out alone as whatever they give you may not be their own.
Criminals will do whatever it takes to be alone with your car. This usually involves making up ways of distracting you. This could be in the form of a phone call or asking you to retrieve something from inside your house. As soon as you go then the criminal has the perfect opportunity to drive away with your car. We advise sellers to keep hold of their car keys at all times and avoid leaving the keys in the ignition.
Nine times out of ten the buyer will ask to test drive your car which is fine as long as you accompany them. However, you need to ensure that whoever is test driving your car has a valid driving license and the necessary level of insurance cover otherwise you could be liable for any accidents that may occur.
A serious buyer will always take time having a good look at your car. They will give it a thorough inspection and ask you questions about its history. Therefore be suspicious if a buyer takes little interest in the car and seems to be in a rush.
Fraudulent Buyers – Payment Fraud
You need to be suspicious of a buyer if they turn up with large amounts of used notes to purchase your car. There are a lot of fake notes in circulation that are almost impossible to detect. Although taking cash is tempting you need to be wary of the risks. Ask yourself, would you bring this amount of cash with you to purchase a car with the same value? If the answer is no then alarm bells should start to ring.
If cash is best for you then the safest way would be to deposit the cash into your bank before handing over the keys to your car. The same rule should apply to personal cheques or bankers drafts as these can be easily forged. Again, make sure any cheques or bankers drafts are cleared before handing over your keys.
It’s important to be aware of fraudulent buyers proposing PayPal as a method to pay for your car especially if the buyer is offering the full asking price without even seeing your car. Scammers can quite easily create PayPal accounts with fraudulent credit card details. You can protect yourself by asking the buyer to meet with you in person.
Once the buyer is happy with your car and you have accepted their offer there are a couple of things you need to do before handing over your keys.
The first thing you need to do is create two receipts, one for you and the other for the buyer. The receipts should contain details about you and the buyer such as your full names, dates, addresses etc. They should also contain details about the car that’s being sold such as the cars registration, VIN number and description. You must also include the selling price that has been agreed by both parties along with the phrase sold as seen. This gives you some protection should the buyer return for a refund because the car has broken down. Finally, both you and the buyer should sign each receipt.
Finally, the most important document that needs to be completed is the V5C registration document. The buyer needs to complete their details, and take the new-keeper section, which helps show they now own the car. Once the V5C document has been signed then you need to ensure that you post it off to the DVLA as soon as possible.
The chances that you will encounter a fraudulent buyer are extremely low. However a vigilant level of suspicion is fine. Just make sure you remember and follow the simple steps in this guide and you should be able to sell your car without any issues.
If there’s ever a moment in the process where you’re a little suspicious then simply walk away. Never hand over your keys until you have been paid and the money is safely in your bank account. If you think you have been conned then immediately contact the police.