The process of selling your car isn't necessarily easy, and you still have to be aware of what you're doing even once you and the buyer have made an agreement. If you're not careful, you could end up getting scammed right at the last minute. It's also possible that you can make a few missteps and sour the deal. Fortunately, there are only a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the final exchange of money. In this context, "exchange" refers to a one-way transfer, with the buyer transferring money to you, the seller. Sellers should not be giving money to buyers under any circumstances. There is one piece of advice that every seller should follow no matter what method of payment they accept: do not give up ownership of the vehicle until the full payment is safely deposited in your bank account and has been verified by the bank.
Insist on the Full Amount
After you and the buyer have come to an agreement, the negotiation process is over. At this point, the seller is responsible for moving the process forward by remitting full payment. The buyer should pay the full agreed upon amount. Do not agree to an installment or payment plan. As a private seller, you are under no obligation to offer financing and other options to make your car more affordable to the buyer. If the buyer cannot afford to pay you the full purchase price up front, they cannot afford to buy your car. It's that simple. Do not transfer ownership of the car until you have received the full payment amount, no matter what the payment method is.
Cash Is Not Ideal
A cash transaction may seem simple, but this form of payment can actually lead to fraud. If the buyer is someone you know very well and trust, you may feel comfortable doing a cash transaction, but if the buyer is not known to you or is not someone you have good reason to trust, do not accept cash. You may want to reconsider selling to a buyer who stubbornly refuses to use any form of payment other than cash. As the seller, you get to set certain terms. Another thing to look out for with cash transactions is an overpayment scam in which the buyer asks you to give them change for an overpayment along with the car. Only accept the exact payment amount if you are going to be accepting cash, and take it to your bank to have it authenticated. If the buyer wants to pay in cash installments, repeat the same process for each installment and do not transfer ownership until you have received and authenticated the full purchase amount.
Cheques Are a Bad Idea
Cheques, especially personal cheques, are a bad idea for car sales. If your buyer wants to give you a cheque, there is a possibility that they are planning some kind of fraud or scam. Of course, this isn't necessarily the case, but it's best to not take your chances. There are multiple ways buyers can defraud a seller by paying with a personal or even a bank cheque. For example, sellers can stop payment on a cheque even after you've deposited it into your bank account. They can also give you a cheque in the full knowledge that they don't have enough money in their account to cover the amount on the cheque. Do not accept a cheque from a buyer, and be suspicious of any buyer who insists on being allowed to pay with a cheque.
Internet Transfers Are a Good Idea
The modern solution to fraud and other issues is to ask the seller to send a their payment through an Internet payment service such as PayPal. This isn't a totally scam-proof method, but it is harder to manipulate than other methods of payment such as cash or cheque. Because it's not completely secure, you still shouldn't part with your car until you've seen confirmation that the payment has been accepted by your bank and is credited to your account. An added bonus of this method is that you do not need to arrange a time to meet the seller. You can simply give him or her a deadline to make the transfer and notify the buyer when you've received the payment. Then you can transfer ownership.
As the seller, you need to protect yourself from potential fraud and scams, and this means that you may have to be a bit assertive. Remember that, as the seller, there is absolutely no reason for you to give money to the buyer. The financial transaction should be a simple, one-way transaction. Be wary of any buyers who insist on a specific method of payment or who want to add steps to the payment process. It should be quick and easy; they send you the payment, preferably through an Internet transfer, and you confirm that the payment has been verified by your bank and credited to your account before transferring ownership. Be cautious and sensible, and the transaction should be smooth and easy.