The ad – Before you make a call do an online search for the phone number and email address on the ad. There’s a good chance you’ll come across other items for sale from the same person. When you do make the initial call listen out for any warning signs. If someone says they are selling their “own” car and have to ask you which one you’re calling about that should set off alarm bells!
Background Check – before you view a car it’s worthwhile paying for a car history check online. If anything you’re not happy with shows up you can either choose to walk away or to use it as a bargaining tool if you do decide to purchase.
The seller – When buying from a private seller it’s important to meet them at their own house – never at vague location. If they don’t want you to know where they live there’s probably a good reason! Trust your instinct – If you get a bad feeling at any point walk away.
Documents – Ask to see the registration cert, NCT cert and service history. Examine all these carefully for any discrepancies. It’s also a good idea to ask for the most recent NCT report to see what problems showed up when the car was last tested and to double check the mileage.
Paying Up – If you’re happy with all of the above and decide to buy the car how you choose to pay can be just as important. Never carry large amounts of cash with you – however most genuine sellers won’t accept a cheque or draft because of scams in recent years.
If you do decide to pay with cash it’s a good idea to leave the money with a trusted friend who’s parked somewhere nearby but not with you when you’re looking at the car. If you’re happy with all the paperwork and have done your research you can arrange to meet your friend with the cash to do the transfer but make sure you have the keys and documents in your possession before handing anything over!
Next week we’ll give you some tips on how to check out a car before buying!
10th November, 2014