Personal Safety

It seems pretty straightforward. You have a vehicle you want to sell, you post it online and take the sales calls. You figure you’ll sell it in a few weeks, get most of the money you were asking, and give someone else a good deal on a great used car- your car.

Potential benefits of selling your vehicle yourself include setting your own price, handling the sale on your own time, and possibly knowing that you have given your vehicle a good new owner who will continue to take care of it the way you did.

In exchange for these benefits, though, you may find yourself putting in extra time to deal with lookers who may or may not be seriously interested in your car, handling low ball offers or unpleasant people, and dealing with people showing up at your home or workplace to look at the vehicle.

Most importantly though, you need to take steps to ensure that you protect yourself, your family and your vehicle from potential harm. We’ve compiled the top five tips to help you better protect yourself from scams, fraud and other potential pitfalls—but these are by no means a guarantee, only a guide, and you always have to trust your instincts and err on the side of caution in any matter of personal safety.

  1. If you want to post your vehicle online, choose your site carefully. Pick a large reputable classified listing site, like Kijiji Autos, who employ quality and safety inspectors who review the online ads to help make sure that the items offered are legit. They also have processes that shut down spammers trying to contact multiple sellers of the same type of product in any type of suspicious pattern. If a seller does receive inappropriate , harassing or suspicious inquiries, Kijiji Autos will act in response to a seller’s concerns to stop the offending person from being able to respond to ads. (If you’ve already answered the person from your own email or phone, no advertising website can stop the contact since it has been taken offline from their site. You may need to activate your security settings to block unsafe senders, or even contact the police if the messages are threatening or abusive)
  2. Don’t give out your contact information. Don’t post your phone number, and set up a generic email address relating to the sale of the car that you can shut down after the vehicle is sold. Never include your address or personal information in your ad.
  3. Let them leave a message. If a person is seriously interested in your car, they will leave a voicemail. That way, you can pre-screen the callers and if anyone seems suspicious or just makes you uncomfortable in their approach, you don’t have to call them back.
  4. Don’t show your vehicle at home, at night, or alone. Most of us are good people. So we assume other people have good intentions too, but your safety and the safety of your family is not a thing to leave to assumption. Arrange a vehicle viewing in a public place, and ask the potential buyer to show you their personal ID, like a drivers licence, and record the information before you go to meet them. Remember, no one is obligated to share that information with you, but you are within your rights to ask. Don’t go meet a potential buyer alone, regardless of your age, gender or physical size. Make sure the shopper sees that you have a witness with you, and that that person is waiting for your safe return. If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, thank the looker for their time, and let them know you do not want to continue to work with them.
  5. Consider using a professional car buying service, like CarBuyCo, to secure your private sale without exposing yourself to individuals and the potential risks. Aside from bypassing the whole shopper and negotiating experience, you will get the peace of mind of having a professional third party inspection company arrive to pick up your vehicle and pay you with a guaranteed, corporate cheque that same day.

Always remember that people can present themselves in a very different light online, and that if you want to sell your vehicle yourself, you must take steps to protect yourself wherever you can. If you feel uncomfortable, for any reason, at any time, stop, break contact with the person, and notify either the advertising source you connected with them through, or, if necessary, the police.

Think about why you want to sell your own vehicle, and then make an action plan that helps you achieve your main goal: either a fast sale, or the highest selling price possible, or finding a buyer for a unique vehicle. Ask experts, like a local car dealer or one of our customer service agents, for a few minutes of their time to help you gather information and to check if something seems out of the ordinary. At the end of the day, business is business, and a good business always has time to help people in their community to keep themselves safe.