You expect the car sales process to be smooth and straightforward, and in most cases, this is exactly what it will be. However, when selling a car online it is important to be aware of common scams and typical traits of irreputable buyers. The internet gives you access to the largest possible pool of potential buyers, and advertising online is without doubt the best way to sell a car in Australia – but you do need to be careful. In this post, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know so that selling your car is as easy as 1,2, 3.

Avoid being scammed online and ensure your vehicle is sold to a genuine buyer. Here are our top tips for selling a car online safely.

Sell my Car Online Safely – Common Scams to Watch Out For

  1. Buyers Who Offer to Pay via PayPal

Be wary of prospective buyers who insist on paying by PayPal. They may claim to be overseas or interstate and will usually not even ask to inspect the vehicle, instead offering to pay immediately and have the vehicle freighted to them. This should sound alarm bells.

This is a common scam and you should simply ignore buyers who attempt it. Those who fall victim to this scam usually find that the prospective buyer sent fake PayPal receipts, or if they did send the money, they will open a chargeback shortly after. In the end you’ll be without your car and with zero funds – don’t fall victim to this.

  1. People who insist on communicating via email/text only

Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases most people make, and legitimate buyers want to be sure that the vehicle is exactly as advertised. It is acceptable to answer a few basic questions over email or text message, but do not make any final arrangements until you have spoken to the prospective buyer over the phone or in person to gauge whether or not they are genuine.

Some scammers will attempt to obtain your personal details by sending you a text message and requesting a response via email. Don’t fall for this, always call the number and never hand out personal details until you are satisfied the buyer is genuine.

Sell on a Reputable Website

Be careful about where you advertise your car. You should only advertise on websites dedicated to vehicle sales, as this will give you the best chance of finding a genuine buyer. Additionally, many of these websites have inbuilt security features to protect you as the seller. For example, your mobile phone number will be hidden from view unless a prospective buyer clicks on it. For email/message based enquiries, they will also be required to provide their full name, email, phone number and postcode.

Only Accept Payment in Person

Do not accept any form of online payment, the risk is simply too great. The safest methods when selling a car online are bank cheque or cash, and PayPal, Western Union and Escrow companies should NEVER be used.

Check Drivers Licence and Accompany for Test Drive

Whether you sell a car on eBay or local classifieds, legitimate buyers will always want to test drive the vehicle. Don’t let anyone drive your car without first sighting their drivers’ licence. You should also accompany the individual during the test drive to ensure they have safe control of the vehicle and are not going to attempt to steal it. You can never be too careful, particularly with people you’ve only just met and perhaps only communicated with online.


Don’t want the hassle? Sell to I Sold My Car

Selling a car online is fairly straightforward and it’s a process that people go through every day, but it’s also fraught with danger if you aren’t clued up about common scams and methods of deception. If you’d rather achieve a quick and easy sale with a minimum of fuss, consider selling your car to us. We buy vehicles of all makes and models and pay you out fast, simply let us know a few details and we’ll arrange a quote.

We wish you the best of luck in selling your vehicle online!