Safety Tips for Private Car Sellers

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You know that the safest way to sell your car is through a reputable dealer. You also know that you can get more money if you opt for a private sale.

However, there are several safety-related considerations you should take into account before you take the plunge and put up that “for sale” sign: online, in the print, or on the window of your car.

It was recently reported in the media that a Durban man who advertised his VW Golf on an online classifieds site was hijacked by two men posing as potential buyers. The man got away with his life, but at the time the incident was reported (end March 2012), his car had not been recovered.

The website in question was not bidorbuy, but that is of no importance. Hijacking incidents, like the one described in the newspaper report are, according to police, a rare occurrence. However, it can happen to anyone looking to sell a car privately, regardless of the channel. It could even happen to the driver who opted for the self-service ad and pasted a “for sale – call...” notice on his car.

So, if you are determined to sell you car privately, what can you do to protect yourself?

  • Your safety plan starts with screening calls and emails. If your first contact was by email, make a point to talk to every potential buyer by phone. Vetting callers will help you weed out buyers who are not serious, as well as buyers who seem “dodgy”. The more you chat with them, the more it is likely that you will get “a feel” for each individual potential buyer. Don't be too eager for a sale; if you are, you may miss a warning sign.
  • Don’t meet potential buyers at your home (or theirs). Instead, opt for a public space like a shopping mall parking lot, preferably with cameras.
  • Do not meet a potential buyer on your own. Bring a friend with you. Police say that people are less likely to harm you if there is someone else present.
  • Check your insurance policy. Does it cover accidents made while someone else is driving your car?
  • Only schedule a meeting and a test drive with serious buyers whom you can reach by phone.
  • Ask potential buyers to bring their driving license as well as a photocopy (which you should keep).
  • Go with the potential buyer and your friend on the test drive, and don’t have valuables lying around in the car.
  • Trust your gut feeling. If there is something about the potential buyer that makes you uncomfortable in any way, walk away. Hang up, cancel the meeting, or cut the meeting short.

Armed with these tips, you may proceed to list your car for sale on bidorbuy!

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