How to tell the difference between a sale and a sting when selling privately
COVID-19 left many Australians in the lurch when it came to buying and selling vehicles. With restrictions leaving many unable to leave local areas or interact with strangers, options to offload vehicles were limited. As many Australians continue to be affected, private and digital car sales have become the most popular way to sell. Unfortunately, for the innocently-minded, private car sales are full of opportunities to be conned or have your time wasted.
If you’re looking to sell your vehicle privately, here are the top car selling red flags to look out for:
🚩 Digital scam artists
Have you found an overly keen buyer who is looking to purchase with haste? You may have found yourself a scammer. Most sellers are looking to offload their asset as soon as possible, this can leave room for scammers to come up with offers that are too good to be true.
Scammers never actually pay for the cars they inquire about. Car sales scams rely on the trust of sellers in order to either fraudulently obtain a vehicle or access to accounts. To ensure that you’re not being scammed during a private car sale, you must be extremely wary of payment and make sure funds are in your account before you hand over anything to the buyer. Indicators of a fraudulent car sale include:
- Offering to buy immediately
- Offering to buy without inspection
- Over offering on your listing price
- Suspicious checks or money orders
- Overpayment to a bank account
🚩 Dangerous/time-wasting test drivers
Time-wasting test drivers can be extremely difficult to spot. There may be many potential buyers that are eager to test drive your car but have no intentions to actually purchase the vehicle. These types of buyers may not rob you of cash, but they can absolutely steal your time, energy and fuel. These buyers are often the kind who will lowball you with extremely low offers, citing car conditions as a negotiation point.
To avoid these types of red flag customers, we recommend sticking to a strict three rule policy:
- Short test drives only
You should be clear before a potential buyer arrives that you are only offering short, local test drives so as to not waste fuel.
- Serious buyers only
You can usually pick a serious buyer from a wishy-washy one by simply asking a few questions. Potential questions include: Are you a serious buyer? Have you looked at many other vehicles? Are you comfortable with the asking price?
- Upfront payment only
Be clear with the potential buyer that you will require upfront payment for the vehicle, should they be hoping to drive away with the purchase. If they aren’t comfortable with this arrangement, or say something vague about ‘transferring the money later’ this is considered a huge red flag.
🚩 Suspicious activity
Unfortunately, there’s a vast variety of ways a private car seller can be scammed by listing a car online. These are a few ways to minimise risk in a private sale:
Document everything: A common private car sale issue involves fraud claims from an unsatisfied buyer. Make sure that you thoroughly document the condition of the car when making the listing, and keep screenshots of the sale listing to prove you were upfront about the condition of the car when you sold it.
Meet in public: To reduce the risk of having the car or your home property stolen, offer to meet in a public area. Refuse requests to bring your car to potential buyers – even if your communication with a buyer has seemed friendly, you never know the intention of people you meet online.
Want to avoid the pain of private sales?
To avoid the hassle of private sales and car selling red flags, use a trusted service like DIYinspect. DIYinspect is a risk-free solution to sell your vehicle that allows you to avoid all the typical time and effort associated with offloading a car. With DIYinspect, you’re in control.
Complete the inspection yourself from anywhere in Australia. All you have to do is take photos of your vehicle and answer some questions about its condition. After that, we’ll send you an offer. No tyre kickers, no time wasters, no worries.
Get started now.