Buying / Selling Motor Vehicles

For many owners the worst part of selling a car is having to deal with potential buyers. It may feel as though they have all the power, but it does not have to be like this.

Know what to expect, and how to deal with it, and you should not be caught out by experienced hagglers, time wasters or criminals.


Test drives

  • Never let the buyer go out alone, there is a potential risk that they will not come back. They may leave you their car keys as security, but how can you be sure it is not stolen? Also check they have adequate insurance cover, otherwise you could be liable for any accidents they may have.
  • Let the buyers follow their own route, as many are suspicious if you dictate which roads to take. Be prepared for people to drive your car hard - but if it is a performance model and they are seriously abusing it, politely ask them to calm down, or demand they stop. It is your call.
  • NEVER leave the keys in the ignition when swapping seats. Thieves may try to engineer such situations, so you should be especially aware.


Handling the money

  • If you are paid in cash, make sure to look out for forgeries and make sure you count it all out. Remember to bank it safely, as soon as possible after the transaction. If you feel unsure, you could take the buyer to the bank and have them give you the cash there. You can safely deposit it, and the cashier will ensure there are no forgeries.
  • Cheques are a little more trouble. NEVER let the car go before a cheque has cleared through your account, even if the buyer is desperate to get hold of your car. Why the rush? If they're genuine, they will not mind waiting a few days - or coming back with cash.
  • If possible ask the buyer to give you a bank or building society draft; it is the best way to ensure you receive your money safely. This is as good as cash, as they can only be issued if the buyer has enough money in their account. There are forgeries, however, so be vigilant. Again, don't let the car go until the money has cleared into your account.
  • If you have not already done so, ask the buyer for ID with an address and landline telephone number. At least if something goes wrong, you will know where to find them. If they are reluctant to give this information, you should be wary.
  • Write a receipt for both you and the buyer, stating that the car is being sold.