Before you place your ad

You'll need:

  • To register with us
  • Your full UK postcode
  • Up to 12 photos in JPEG format
  • Details of the car you want to advertise

Selling Guide - Cars: Selling Privately

Selling Guide

Selling privately

  • When selling your vehicle, be aware that thieves can pose as potential buyers. They may ask up front for details of the vehicle, such as the VRM or the VIN, or the V5C, or for your personal details and could use this information to create their own fake 'cloned' ad. If they're a genuine buyer, they will come and see the vehicle.
  • Beware of emails from abroad, offering to buy your vehicle without seeing it and offering to make over-payments. Also beware of bogus shipping or ESCROW companies recommended by the buyer.
  • When somebody wants to make an appointment, make sure you get a name, address and telephone number. You can then call them back to be certain that they are who they say they are.
  • Agree to meet at your address and not at a location where you are vulnerable - write down the car's registration when the potential buyer arrives and keep it safe. For extra security, it's a good idea if you have a friend or family member with you at all times - even if they know nothing about cars.
  • Never hand over the keys and, if they want to hear the engine running, make sure you are in the driver's seat.
  • If they insist on a test drive check their insurance first and accompany them. Alternatively see if you can change your insurance to provide adequate cover.
  • Only hand over the keys when you are sat in the passenger seat. Allow the potential buyer a reasonable amount of time for the test drive and allow them to drive on a variety of roads.
  • Let the buyer inspect the documents but do not let them make copies or take photos of them. Be aware that mobile phones often contain a camera!
  • Never hand over the car until you have been paid. Make sure that funds have cleared and that the money is in your bank account (electronic transfers are the best mechanism). Prepare a simple written sales agreement that both you and the buyer sign and date.
  • If the buyer offers more than the advertised price, be wary. Do not accept an overpayment especially where you then have to refund the difference or make a payment via a money transfer company such as Western Union or Moneygram. Be careful when using ESCROW or shipping services as many are bogus and set up by fraudsters. If you do use ESCROW, make sure it's verified by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and is based in the UK. See the Metropolitan Police Fraud Alert web pages about money transfer, criminal cashback fraud and bogus ESCROW sites.
  • There are different ways people can pay for a vehicle - cash, cheque, banker's draft or bank transfer. An immediate bank transfer to you can be made using the CHAPS system for a nominal fee, (£20-£30), CHAPS payments are irrevocable. Consider meeting the buyer at their bank and completing the transaction there. Choose the method that works best for you but be aware of the potential issues. Cash could be counterfeit so double check it. If accepting cash, consider meeting the buyer at your bank and paying the money straight in to your account. Cheques and banker's drafts can be fraudulent or counterfeit and you may not find this out until after your car has gone, even if your bank has told you that the funds have cleared.
  • It is your legal responsibility to inform the DVLA of a change of ownership by completing the form on the V5C and posting it to them. You should give section 10 of the V5C to the new owner.
  • You should also give all related documents to the new owner e.g. service books, MOT certificate together with the spare keys and stereo security code does not work with companies, or endorse any services run by companies, that:

  • offer to put car sellers in touch with car buyers for a fee; or
  • offer the car seller financing products that make funds available to the buyer to purchase the car; or
  • send text messages notifying advertisers that there are offers for their advertised vehicle.

If you are approached by one of these companies, we recommend you proceed with caution and do not give your credit card details over the telephone or in an email, unless you are absolutely sure about the service being offered. We advise that you do not call premium rate numbers unless you know how much the call will cost.

If you have any concerns about a company that is claiming to be working in partnership with, please contact our Customer Support team on our Contact Us page.

next: Wording a private ad