Risks of Selling A Used Car Privately

Do you need to sell your car badly? Or do you want to sell your old car so you can get a new one? Either way, it is very important to consider the options available before deciding how you want to sell it. You can decide to take it to a car dealer or decide to sell it privately or sell it online. They all have their pros and cons. But this article aims to highlight the risks involved when you sell your used car privately.

Know the Risks Involved When You Sell Your Car Privately

  • Your Personal Information
Risks of Selling A Used Car Privately - personal information
Personal information is at risk

Your personal information is at risk when a total stranger comes to your house, telling you they want to purchase your car but need to test drive it first. In this situation, you might have no choice than to go with them for the test driving.  Even if you decide to hold on to their own car key while they go test drive yours, It is not a good idea at all. What if the car is a rented car, borrowed car or even worst, a stolen car. Then you’d have to face the law and also lose your own car.  So even if you decide to go with them for the test driving, going out with a complete stranger is not a very good or safe idea. Who knows? They might be a kidnapper, armed robber, or even a serial killer.

  • It Consumes Time

Selling your car privately requires a huge amount of your time investment. Before you can be able to sell your car you will need to advertise a lot, which is a process that requires a lot of time posting it around on social media platforms, informing people and all. Now after advertising, you have to take time to reply to all the inquiries/questions you will get from interested buyers here and there either via social media, phone calls or emails. Which can be very tiring. Now after all the replies, there will be people who will tell you they want to see the car, so you still have to set out time for appointments again.  Apart from that, you will need to take care of car from time to time during the time it is for sale because the car has to look fine in order to attract customers.

  • Security Risk

In order for people to contact you, you will need to give out your personal contact information like your phone number and home address. Which is very risky in this age, as fraudsters can get any information about you just by dialing your number. Also, there is a lot of risks involved in giving out your home address to strangers. You don’t know if they are honest buyers or scammers the way you are an honest seller.

  • The Car Might Have Problem
Risks of Selling A Used Car Privately - car problem
Problem in a car

Let’s face the reality it is a used car, there are chances that you are probably selling it because it has one or two problems, or there might be unknown problems about the car you don’t know about. So you are at the risk of the customer coming back to return the car asking for a refund, just because they know where you live and have your contact information.

  • Transfer And Release Of Liability

 When you buy a used car, your information remains with the new owner. The problem is the new owner may be reluctant to go through the stress of transferring ownership fully to him. This means you are responsible for whatever goes wrong. If a crime or offense is committed with the car, you are liable for it. Unless you want to go through the stress of having to prove in court that you no longer own the car, which will also cost you money anyway.

  • Getting Payment Safely
Risks of Selling A Used Car Privately - payment
Payment issue

So you have succeeded in getting a customer. Then how do you then get paid with no hassles? You are more likely to get scammed with a cashier’s check I.e. giving you a bounced check without you even noticing.  Cash? What’s the guarantee that you won’t get robbed on your way back home? Besides receiving such amount in a public place is very dangerous since you can’t invite a stranger into your home. Also, you have to beware of people who don’t live in the same location as yours, then they tell you they will pay for the car only on delivery. They might be scammers who only want to dupe you.

Also, read: How to program a remote car key

  • No opportunity to trade

When you sell your car privately, you do not have the option of trading it in for a replacement. With a dealer, there is the advantage of exchanging your old car for another one. Most dealers pay less in cash than they would if it was a trade I.e. one car for another. If you sell privately, you get less than the original worth of the car and you have to pay more to get another. A dealer settles that for you.

  • Having to deal with difficult buyers

As a seller, getting someone to buy your car can be frustrating. This is because people can be really picky. They are more likely to dissect every part of your car and try to pick out faults in a bid to reduce the price. This can indeed be annoying and time wasting if you need to sell your car immediately.


So, these are the risks you are exposed to by selling your car privately. But if you know you are willing to go through the stress and the hassles, then selling your car privately might not be so bad. However, if you are not willing to go through all these stress, then it is advisable to sell your used car to an authorized dealer. Although selling to a dealer has its own cons too, it is still the better option you can consider for a hassle free and stress-free process.

Lisa Mitchell has been taking things apart ever since she learned about better way to sell car in San Diego! She has started her carrier from Driveo in 2012 as Content Manager. With Driveo you’re guaranteed safety, convenience, transparency and competence throughout your entire car selling experience.

Manjesh Shetty

Manjesh shetty is  Founder of GOPCSOFT and B.Tech Graduate from Sahyadri College of Engineering. He is Part-time Tech Blogger, Mozillian, Developer by passion, an open source contributor and FOSS enthusiast. His writing and Tech-talks focus has been revolving around Hacking, Techie Tutorials, SEO, computer security.