Selling to a Private Buyer: 3 Warning Signs to Avoid a Scam

If you’re thinking about selling your junk car, you have four main options:

    • Sell to a dealership
    • Sell to a salvage yard
    • Sell to a private party
    • Donate to charity

Each option has its pros and cons. In this post, we’ll take a look at what’s involved when you sell to a private buyer, and offer three warning signs to help you avoid getting scammed. 

The main benefit of selling to a private buyer is that, compared to selling to a salvage yard or dealership, you may very well get more money for your car.  But before your eyes fill up with dollar signs, you should be aware of the following signs that your potential buyer might not be legitimate.  

1. The Buyer Has Poor Online Reviews

Almost every online platform has an area where people can leave ratings and reviews. If you see that a potential buyer has several bad reviews, this is a tell-tale sign that you shouldn’t do business with them. A new account with no history may also be a clue that someone is up to no good. 

2. The Buyer Insists on Paying With Check or Money Order

If you agree to take a check or money order, never turn the keys over to the buyer until the money is actually in your bank account.  If you do, and the check or money order turns out to be fake, you have just traded your car for a useless piece of paper. 

3. The Buyer Makes an Offer Sight Unseen 

Would you ever buy a car without seeing it first? Of course not! So why would anyone else? Whether the car you’re selling runs or not, every legitimate buyer will want to see the car in person before they buy it. If someone offers to buy the car before checking it out, this is a clear sign that you need to walk away. 

While this list is not comprehensive, it’s a good starting point to keep you one step ahead of the game. If you play it smart, you can be sure you won’t make a decision you’ll regret later.

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