Selling a car privately - what to watch out for?

Ant555
Ant555 Posts: 1,563
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For the first time in many, many years i'm selling a car rather than trading one in for another via a dealer.

Can anyone give me some non-obvious things to look out for so as not to get scammed.

For instance, if I show the V5 then can people do any scamming if they happen to record/note any of the numbers on there?
Car likely to be in the region of 6500/7000 so how do private sellers typically get paid for this kind of sum - As money can be moved via mobile then do I accept a transfer there and then  -  If I see a transfer into my bank then are there any situations that they claw it back once they are round the corner? 

I know much of the rest is common sense but im still wary so any advice will be very welcome.

Thanks in advance.
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  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,281
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    I thought the advice was to accompany the buyer to their bank where they withdraw the cash, hand it to you and you deposit it into your own account.  No money transfers.

    Certainly don't accept someone suggesting that they pay you extra so you can pay cash to the "company" that will pick up the car.  Probably stating the obvious here but these are common enough for many websites where people are selling a variety of items.  They say they're happy to pay £7k for the car but can't pick it up themselves so "Bob" from X delivery will come by to pick it up for them so you'll get paid £7500 as Bob needs to be paid £500 for doing the job.  So Bob comes you've withdrawn £500 cash to give him and he drives away with your car.  The £7500 gets disputed at the bank and is pulled out of your account.  So you are without a car and down £500 too.  

    The other side is to be very careful of your description.  If it's old and tatty say so, list & photograph dents, scratches, stains, mileage, engine, boot etc.  That way they can't say "you said it was as good as new with 200 miles on the clock but my mechanic has proven to me that it's a wreck" and demand their money back or for you to pay repairs.  Should they try that refer them back to the photos you posted when selling and tell them to binker off. 
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,281
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    Oh and you might want to meet during the day (avoids "it was too dark to see things") and in the company of a friend.  Some might say meet somewhere neutral rather than at your house so they can't come pounding on the door two weeks later.  

    Make sure you deal with all the DVLA paperwork (V5?) to avoid parking tickets/charges.  And notify your insurance company that you are cancelling/transferring the policy so no insurance claims are registered.  
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • Ant555
    Ant555 Posts: 1,563
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    edited 30 December 2023 at 3:10PM
    Thanks -

    What do people do about test drives nowadays?  Does a cautious seller insist on seeing proof that the car would be insured - when ive traded in, the dealer has never once asked to drive the car but id assume a private buyer would be unlikely to purchase a 6.5k BMW without wanting to drive it.

    When we bought a car privately 5 years ago, (a £1000 Aygo)  I did actually get a dayinsure policy for one day but the chap didn't ask to see it - also paid cash for that.

    Im definitely going to get a checklist of things I need to do as ill probably get carried away and forget.
  • Have you looked at selling on WBAC or the like. Appreciate that they pay less but I personally wouldn't be keen on selling a 7k car privately.
  • Have you looked at selling on WBAC or the like. Appreciate that they pay less but I personally wouldn't be keen on selling a 7k car privately.
    I would suggest trying Cazoo too - WBAC offered £6150 for my Toyota earlier this month - sold it to Cazoo for £8550 - no chipping on price and the money was in my bank account before I turned to walk out of the showroom.
  • You must check and confirm insurance if there's a test drive (there's an offence of allowing someone to drive uninsured) and always accompany the test drive.
  • 400ixl
    400ixl Posts: 2,640
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    Bank transfer is fine, don't go travelling to peoples banks and then have to walk around with thousands in cash. Don't use money payments systems though, stick to a straight transfer that you can see has landed directly in your accounts.

    Don't go meeting in neutral places either (this more important for the buyer than you but don't do it anyway).

    Having a second person with you is good advice though. Have that person always keeping their eyes on the car, making sure they do not tamper with it in any way. E.g trying to make it look like it has a failed head gasket or oil leak to then try to get money off.

    As for test drives, they will have to have appropriate insurance, yours won't cover them, and if they are relying on driving any other vehicle allowance, you have to remember that it is 3rd party only and will not cover any damage to your vehicle. This means in many cases that you may have to drive them and not the other way around (provided your insurance still covers you if you have already transferred yours to your new car).

    Day insurance is the other option. Personally, yes I would insist on seeing the insurance cover before allowing the buyer to drive.

    You do have to weigh up whether the extra £500 you may make is worth the hassle of selling privately to the public. Different if you can find a friend or friend of friend who is looking to buy.
  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,627
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    Ant555 said:
    For the first time in many, many years i'm selling a car rather than trading one in for another via a dealer.

    Can anyone give me some non-obvious things to look out for so as not to get scammed.

    For instance, if I show the V5 then can people do any scamming if they happen to record/note any of the numbers on there?
    Car likely to be in the region of 6500/7000 so how do private sellers typically get paid for this kind of sum - As money can be moved via mobile then do I accept a transfer there and then  -  If I see a transfer into my bank then are there any situations that they claw it back once they are round the corner? 

    I know much of the rest is common sense but im still wary so any advice will be very welcome.

    Thanks in advance.
    Just watch out for people saying that it has left their account. They show you, but it is doctored app, when you say it has not arrived. They will say it's your banks security system.
    Don't let car go till money is in your account. 👍
    Life in the slow lane
  • Ant555 said:
    For the first time in many, many years i'm selling a car rather than trading one in for another via a dealer.

    Can anyone give me some non-obvious things to look out for so as not to get scammed.

    For instance, if I show the V5 then can people do any scamming if they happen to record/note any of the numbers on there?
    Car likely to be in the region of 6500/7000 so how do private sellers typically get paid for this kind of sum - As money can be moved via mobile then do I accept a transfer there and then  -  If I see a transfer into my bank then are there any situations that they claw it back once they are round the corner? 

    I know much of the rest is common sense but im still wary so any advice will be very welcome.

    Thanks in advance.
    Just watch out for people saying that it has left their account. They show you, but it is doctored app, when you say it has not arrived. They will say it's your banks security system.
    Don't let car go till money is in your account. 👍
    This recently happened to a friend selling a £750 phone so definitely one to watch out for
  • WBAC or similar take all the heartache out of this process. 
    At least use their free quote as a baseline.  You can be pretty sure any serious buyer will cross check there too. 
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