Used car scams are not only a risk when you are buying a car. If you don’t go through the due processes, you can also run into trouble when selling a car.
Forewarned is fore-armed, so be aware of the different types of car scams that you could fall foul of when selling your car – and learn how to avoid them:
Deliberate low evaluations – do your homework on the valuation of your car before trying to sell it. Some scammers are professional car ‘flippers’ and will offer a price well below market value, claiming that they know the ‘book value’ of your car, that multiple things are wrong with it, and they back it up with a mechanic they have brought along. They aim to sell the car on for a profit and can deliberately prey on people who haven’t done their research and/or have been trying to sell for a while.
Bounced cheques – this is an old trick that has caught many a car seller out: the buyer knowingly writes a bad cheque for your car. Either call the bank to verify funds before accepting a cheque or insist on a banker’s draft or cash payment. If you accept a cheque then only hand over the keys once the cheque has cleared.
Overpayment on cheques – especially beware a buyer who writes out a cheque over the agreed price and requests a cash refund from you.
Solo test drivers – buyers will ask to take your vehicle for a test drive, offering to leave their driver’s license with you as they go. However, licenses can be faked; it’s best to accompany them on the test drive so that they don’t drive off with your vehicle.
Aggressive car theft –always be on the guard when you meet up with a respondent to an ad; Make sure that when you arrange a meeting with a buyer, you do so in daylight, in a place that’s visible and public, and ideally have a friend or family member accompanying you.
Be wary of anyone who offers to buy your car sight unseen; screen respondents to ads to make sure they are serious, well-intentioned, have the necessary financing sorted, possess a valid driver’s licence, and are prepared to meet up. Also keep a paper trail of all documentation that changes hands as it is your responsibility to ensure that this is in order before handing over the keys.