Selling a car is always a stressful ordeal even for the most experienced car enthusiasts. There are various methods you can go through, while selling your car, including selling it privately or approaching a dealership or third-party seller. Each process has its share of rewards and risks involved.
While selling your car, you are always traversing through treacherous waters, as there are numerous ways in which you could fall into a troublesome situation. Still, if you have made up your mind to put up that used Dodge Charger for sale, we have compiled a list of 5 steps that you should be undertaking to avoid any personal risk or harm while selling your car.
Don't waste your time with buyers who aren't willing to buy
In the car selling process, you will encounter countless individuals who aren't that serious about acquiring your prized possession. They will try to move you in circles to cloud your judgment. This is one of the biggest disadvantages while selling your car privately. To avoid this hassle, knowing how to screen non-interested buyers is a prerequisite skill.
Non-serious buyers will waste a lot of your precious time making a ton of inquiries about your car. After all the effort you put in to advertise your car, which includes having it professionally detailed, making any necessary repairs, crafting a great ad, and taking lots of photos, you don't deserve to waste your time on such individuals.
Most of these people are trying to entice you to sweeten up the deal, and test your patience. Of course, there are the shady guys as well, who are looking to scam you if they see an opportunity. To stay clear from such guys, we have 3 ways to screen these unnecessary individuals:
Ask the person's full name. If the person hesitates to give you a prompt reply of their personal details, don't bother making any communication with them.
Ask where the person lives. If the buyer contacting you is from overseas or far away, it is a potential red flag. Only communicate with them if they are willing to meet you in person.
Ask if they want to see the car. If the person wants to buy your car without test driving your vehicle or at least having a look personally, the person could be a potential scammer.
Don't sell your car to strangers
Although instances of the seller being harmed while selling their car privately are incredibly rare, you cannot rule out the possibility. There have been scary situations where the sellers have been robbed at gunpoint or even worse, being shot at. There are some basic precautions you need to follow while selling your car.
The very first step you undertake is limiting the amount of personal information you give out on the web. Some potential scammers might be more interested in your personal information rather than your actual car. Keep your information as anonymous as possible to avoid the risk of identity theft. Set up a separate Yahoo or Gmail account to contact the buyers, instead of your actual personal email.
Also, be careful to not give out your telephone number, as it will be easy to track your location with it. While posting service or repair records, make sure to blur out your personal information. Also, while posting pics of your car online, make sure to disable any 'geotag' or 'location' data embedded into it.
While meeting prospective buyers in person, never invite them to your home. There is a high chance that you will be robbed. Always set up a meeting at a public place where there are a lot of people around. Always inform your friends or family members before you head into the meeting, so they can come to your quick rescue in case things go haywire.
Don't fall into fake payment traps
Scammers will constantly try to lure you into a deal and take the car away for free without paying for it. Cash might seem the best option to secure the deal from a buyer. But there is always that slight chance that the bills could be counterfeit.
Also, would you like rolling on the streets with a bag full of cash? The next practical option seems to be personal checks. However, what if the check bounces while you try to deposit it? Other payment methods like money orders, wire transfers, and PayPal also carry a similar risk.
The safest step you can undertake is accepting the payments on your own terms. You should be in command for the whole transaction process, not letting the buyer talk you into some other form of payment.
Always follow these 2 rules while accepting payments from buyers:
Don't let the buyer take possession of the car until and unless the whole payment is secured in your bank account
Arrange a meeting with the buyer at the bank so you can verify the payment process
Avoid legal trouble after selling like fraud claims
After all the stress you endured while selling your car, nothing could be worse than a fraud claim from a buyer who is dissatisfied with some aspect of your car. While selling your car privately, it is important to disclose everything you know about the car.
As they say, honesty is the best policy. If you get slapped with a legal fraud claim, your best weapon will definitely be your honesty.
Be sure to state all material facts of the car, even including the accidents it has been involved in. To avoid potential fraud claims, there are some legal paperwork that you need to gather like:
Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form REG 262- This form is a combination of a bill of sale, odometer disclosure, and power of attorney. You can acquire this paper through the nearest DMV office.
Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability- This paper only acts as a notice of transfer.
Approach a dealership instead of selling privately
While selling privately may give you a sense of power, there are a substantial number of risks involved that could force you to rethink your selling method. Selling privately takes away a huge chunk of your precious time, including readying the car for sale, writing and posting ads, fielding inquiries, and many more. The buyers you encounter could also be potential scammers, criminals, or careless individuals.
There is always a brighter alternative to every problem. Here the best option for you is selling a car to a trusted dealership or car-buying portal. The process is transparent and risk-free, and your car goes through constant inspection as it only ends up in the hands of certified buyers.
Although you may be losing out on some cash by not selling privately, selling to a dealership sometimes gets you a cracker of a deal as the used car market is competitive in nature.