Sudden drive offs, unlicensed joy riders, scammers and bullies are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the perils of selling a car privately.
Avoiding rip offs, uncomfortable negotiations and dangerous encounters is a worry for everyone – particularly women, who can be seen as easy targets.
Everyone wants to get the best price possible for their vehicle. But most sellers are not well versed in all the tricks employed by the people you probably don’t want knocking at your door in the first place.
Even if you’ve prepared your car well, priced it fairly and advertised it on the right channels, the risks are still real.
Whirlpool is full of stories from victims of con artists who have taken them for a ride.
The Dodgy Test Drive
“I’ve been messed around so many times selling my cars privately,” one poster says.
“My RX7 I had so many issues with, young kids coming to me wanting a joy ride, or coming to me saying they just wrote off their car and are looking for a new car blah blah blah.
“Be aware, if you do let people test drive it always grab their details, including licence number. I’ve known a few people in the past who will simply test drive it and never return it, or sit in the driveway with it running and when the owner turns their back off they go.”
Another poster said: “Selling an Audi A4 a few years ago and had these 2 young guys come and look at it for their band’s transport. They told me all their plans and how they were going to get the leather died black to match their jackets, yada, yada etc. etc. They ‘bought’ the car and I stupidly didn’t insist on a deposit. Sure enough, they were not good for the money and mucked me around for a week or so before admitting the fact.”
The US website CarTalk.com advises women to “think carefully about whether you want to go out on a test drive with any unknown guy. Arrange to have a friend there with you!”
The Uncomfortable Negotiation
The knife cuts both ways because private buyers can get the butt-end of a bad deal as well.
Negotiating with individuals can be tricky. Let’s face it, some people are gifted at haggling, while others are easy prey. Getting the car checked by a mechanic is a must, and this can throw the whole process up in the air.
The problems don’t end there. Other things you ought to consider before selling your car privately include:
- Getting Paid: Not as silly as it sounds. Do you complete the transaction at home, in a public place or somewhere else if you’re dealing in cash? What if someone is waiting around the corner and demands the money? It’s not smart to accept personal cheques and most individuals don’t accept credit cards.
- Giving out personal information: Most buyers would need your phone number and home address. What if something goes wrong with the car after you sell the car and you have to deal with an irate person wanting their money back?
So, what are the other options for selling your car?
Pros: Hassle free.
Cons: Costs sellers money because they don’t get what their car is really worth on the open market.
Pros: Quick and easy.
Cons: Sellers don’t get the best price. Buyers don’t always get what they bargain for. Cars can be in poor mechanical condition and have no warranty.
Cash For Your Car
AreYouSelling.com.au offers a unique free car valuation process which removes the risk of a private sale going wrong and gives you a fair price based on accurate information about your car.