New Car dealers have years of experience dealing with the buying public. We at the Greater Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association offer these tips, which we hope will help increase your success and minimize potential risks in selling your car - before, during, and after the transaction.
You don't need to run a long, costly ad to sell your vehicle. Stick to the important facts about the car, its special features (anything new or recently rebuilt), and the asking price. Don't list an unreasonably high price, expecting to "bargain", since you could instantly eliminate potential buyers. Offer the car at a reasonable price which is acceptable to you. If you have doubts, check other ads for the market price of similar models. Include only a phone number, no address.
Use caution when inviting the perspective buyer to your home. The potential buyer could be interested only in casing your home for future burglary. Arrange to meet at a public place, such as a local shopping center, to show the car. Only meet buyers during daylight hours. If for some reason you must show the car at your home, do it only during day light hours and discuss matters outside by the vehicle. Never invite the buyer into your house to discuss the car.
Insist on seeing the buyer's valid driver's license with photo. Do not accept a temporary driver's license, or any non-photo ID (i.e. Social Security card). Write down information from the ID or make a photocopy when possible. If the buyer refuses to show ID, or the ID given seems questionable, discontinue the deal.
Let someone know where you are going to meet, who you've been talking to and how long you expect to be gone. If possible, take someone with you. And let the person you're showing the car to know that you are in contact with others.
Don't give out your full name and address. Keep things on a firstname basis. Don't divulge unnecessary information about your work hours, neighborhood, house, or belongings. Remove all documents with your home address from the vehicle before showing it. Criminals may target owners of expensive vehicles to investigate their home and valuables.
Don't even consider a test drive until you're satisfied that the potential buyer is legitimate. Keep your test drives limited to areas you're familiar with. If possible, bring a friend or relative along. Avoid taking out more than one person at a time, married couples being the exception. And never let the potential buyer drive off on their own.
Verify all checks used for payment, including cashier's checks. Hold the title until you have called the bank to verify existing funds for the amount of purchase. To further guard against rip-offs, arrange to meet the buyer at the bank the check is drawn on to finalize the purchase. Cash the check in the presence of the buyer before handing over ownership. This ensures that the check is authentic and that payment will not be stopped.
Complete a bill of sale with the odometer reading and all pertinent information on the buyer. Have it signed by both parties and send a copy to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) immediately. This will clear you of future liability regarding that vehicle. Also, notify our insurance carrier that you have sold the vehicle. Have the buyer acknowledge the time and date of delivery, so your insurance will not be involved if the new owner has an accident.
Take notice of whether or not the potential buyer arrives in a car, if so, what shape it's in, whether it has license plates, etc. Be aware that expensive luxury autos and sports cars, because of their high demand on the black market, are obvious targets for criminals. Always remember that if you don't feel completely comfortable about the person for any reason, you don't have to continue the deal.