Information about the pros of selling your car privately abound online. While trading your car in or working through a dealership,  is an easier route to go, private car sales tend to get you more bang for your buck. There’s quite a lot of administration involved, but most advise that it’s worth it in the long run. However, there are also endless opportunities for scam artists to try their luck with you throughout this process. You are a bit more vulnerable than when you work through a dealership.


What’s more, the process of a private car sale is not the easiest and will require you to have researched the process somewhat. Because you need to know what you’re doing from start to finish. You need to be able to sniff out a scam and be confident enough to decline an offer and reject a person if something feels off or wrong. Your intuition plays a big role in this game but it’ll only be on point if you actually know what you’re talking about. Of course, the most important part of a private car sales is the transfer of monies.


Exchanging such an enormous amount of money between parties can be tricky instead of simple. It sounds simple considering it’s one amount of money that is transferred once to the seller but methods of payment can become a challenge. Also, some buyers don’t want to hand over the full amount but rather work in increments of a deposit and then two separate payments. Sellers can end up trusting this type of process but may never see that final payment. The most important tip for all sellers to heed is that they must never handover ownership of the vehicle until full payment has been made and the bank has verified the deposit. EFTs can be reversed and many private car sellers have been scammed into thinking payment has been made because they’ve received a bank SMS alerting them to the deposit of funds. But as soon as the vehicle changes hands and is driven away the buyer can reverse the funds.


Protecting your money is crucial and there are some ways to ensure you err on the side of caution when conducting the sale of your vehicle

There will likely be a negotiation process right in the beginning but this is often quickly sold if the buyer and seller are serious. Once a figure has been agreed upon, the back and forth between the buyer and seller will continue because of the administration process behind the sale. Once things have settled and the actual purchase and handover of the vehicle is set to take place, the seller must insist on the full amount being paid for the purchase. As a private seller, you are not expected to offer financing or payment plan options. If the buyer needs financial assistance it is not up to the seller to provide that and so an expectation of full payment is not out of the ordinary.


Cash is less than an ideal way of accepting payment

Cash seems like the simplest form of payment that has the least issues. But the problem with cash is that it leaves the seller vulnerable. There are far too many stories about cash transactions having gone awry as the seller is robbed of the cash moments later either by the buyer who is a scam artist or someone with nefarious intentions who’s been watching. If you end up doing a cash transaction, make sure to accept only the agreed upon amount.


Similarly, steer clear of buyers who insist on paying with a cheque

It’s simply far too easy to scam someone with a cheque payment. While not everyone is out to get you, if the buyer insists on a cheque payment and won’t even consider any other form of money transaction, you should be wary of them. You see, a cheque can be handed over and money may even appear in your bank account but that cheque will simply bounce if there aren’t sufficient funds available.


Fraud is a big issue in the private sales game so modern solutions have come to the fore

Internet payment services have become a very popular way of transferring large sums of money for private sales. This is not only used for car sales but also other things such as equipment, machinery and computer parts. Anything that costs a lot of money can be paid for via internet payment solutions. The most commonly used service is PayPal. They certainly don’t tout themselves as a risk-free method of payment but they offer pretty tight security. It’s a difficult system to scam. Also, it’s completely remote, which means you don’t have to run back and forth with the seller to the bank or to meet up for the transfer.

About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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