Selling your car privately is a great option if you want to achieve the best price, but it’s not always a quick and easy process. Every year, thousands of sellers fall victim to scams perpetrated by unscrupulous buyers and professional con artists. To help you stay safe and achieve a legitimate sale, we’ve prepared this blog post with our top 10 tips on how to protect yourself when selling a car privately.


  1. List on a reputable website

By posting your car online you will attract a wide market of potential buyers. The safest way to sell a car privately is by listing on a reputable website. When creating your account, make sure that you choose a secure password that no one else would easily guess. Many car sale websites also offer the ability to hide your email address or phone number. You will be assigned a virtual phone number and email, and you will be able to communicate with buyers as you would normally – but they won’t be able to harvest your personal details.


  1. Be wary of suspicious messages

Don’t be surprised if you receive messages from sellers offering to pay above and beyond the asking price. You may also experience buyers asking you to arrange transport of the vehicle interstate or overseas. These messages should be ignored, as these are two of the most common scams.


  1. Speak to the buyer on the phone or in person

When buying a used car, a legitimate buyer would always want to speak on the phone or arrange a time to visit the car. Buyers want to know answers to questions regarding the condition, history, maintenance records and more. Be wary of people who insist on buying the car sight unseen or communicating only via email or text, as they may be attempting to arrange a fraudulent transaction.


  1. Meet during daylight

It is strongly recommended that you arrange inspections and test drives during daylight hours. Buyers will be able to get a better idea of the condition of the car, and it is also the safest time of day to be on the roads. If you don’t wish to disclose your address, you might like to meet up at a local car park instead. It is also a good idea to bring someone else along with you.


  1. Sight drivers’ licence prior to test drive

Always request to see the prospective buyers drivers licence before allowing them to get behind the wheel. If an unlicensed driver has an accident during the test drive, your insurance will not cover you.



  1. Safe Method of Payment

Choosing a safe method of payment is one of our top tips for selling a car privately. Once the buyer has agreed to purchase your vehicle, there are many ways to be paid. In order to stay safe, you need to be wary of common scams.

Cash – if you want to be paid in cash, you should arrange to meet at your local bank. The buyer will be able to hand over the cash, and the bank clerk will be able to verify the notes are genuine before immediately depositing into your account.

Cheque – many sellers and buyers feel safer accepting a bank cheque. Prior to accepting a cheque, verify that the buyers name and address are correct. It is not uncommon for scammers to pay for cars with a fraudulent cheque, and by the time the seller realises their car is long gone. If you have any concerns about the buyer, you should wait until the cheque has fully cleared before handing over the keys.

NEVER ACCEPT PayPal: Buyers offering to pay with PayPal should be avoided as they may be using a stolen credit card and after the sale a charge back will be initiated.


  1. Never provide personal information

Identity theft is rampant. Be wary of buyers who request detailed information about you such as copies of your drivers’ licence, registration details or banking information. Only provide this information once you have determined the buyer is legitimately interested in your vehicle and has confirmed the sale.

  1. Document Everything

It is a good idea to keep records of the buyer and all documents that have been signed by them. Note down the buyers name and phone number, as this will come in handy if there are any issues or investigations down the track.

  1. Remove Sensitive Information from Service Records

A fully documented service record is invaluable to a buyer, and you can expect your vehicle to command a higher price if you are able to provide this. Be sure to remove sensitive information such as credit card numbers, your address and other information as it could be used to steal your identity.


  1. Finalise the Sale – NSW Regulations

There are specific requirements for people selling a vehicle in NSW, and you will need to make sure that you:

  • Lodge a notice of disposal with the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS)
  • Transfer the registration to the new buyer by giving them the current certificate of registration, as well as a roadworthy inspection report. See RMS website for further details.
  • DON’T FORGET: If you fail to lodge a notice of disposal, you will be liable for all fines and traffic infringement notices incurred by the new owner.


Don’t want the hassle? Use I Sold My Car Instead!

We hope you found the above tips on how to sell a car privately helpful. We realise that time is precious, so if you want to achieve a quick and easy sale with a minimum of fuss, we can help. I Sold My Car buy a full range of cars of all makes and models, and with us the sale process couldn’t be simpler. Simply fill in a few details about your car on our website and we’ll get back to you with a valuation. No matter which way you choose to sell, we wish you a positive, safe result.