Selling a Car Privately Online? 10 Reasons Why You Should Reconsider

As tempting as it is to sell your car online yourself, with the hope that you will get more money for your car than if you were to sell it through a car buying company or even by part exchanging it, there are a lot of hassles and hidden costs that you need to be aware of.

1. The cost of advertising 

Whether you advertise online – on gumtree or ebay or in a paper or magazine, there are costs associated with putting your car up for sale which people aren’t normally aware of.

The cost to list an advert on an online website to showcase your car for around 2-3 weeks is roughly £40. Even then, there is no guarantee that you will sell your car in this time. And if you haven’t sold it, then you have to pay again for another few weeks until it does hopefully sell. But there is no guarantee. For some people this could take weeks or even months.

2. You don’t know who your potential buyers are

One of the most dangerous things about selling your car online yourself is that you don’t know who you are dealing with. There’s no way to verify a private buyer so how do you know if they are going to be legit or trustworthy? You don’t…

Inviting complete strangers over to your home is unfortunately a necessary process when it comes to selling a car online. You must always ensure that you take extra precautions when doing so to make sure you are safe.

3. Un-secure payment

Again, because you don’t know who you’re dealing with, how do you know that the payment from your your potential buyer is real? Someone may give you fake money for example and how are you supposed to know the difference? Once the money has exchanged hands, the person who has bought the car also knows you have the money in your house – which could be unsafe too. Online payments and scams are unfortunately very common on Auto trader and eBay too with false Paypal notifications.

Click here for an earlier blog that I wrote on the “419 Nigerian scam” which are really rife in the online trading world.

4. Time consuming

On average, it takes someone 34.5 days to sell their old car… most people when setting out to sell their car don’t realise this. But by the time you’ve paid money to advertise and you’ve already gone down the track of doing it yourself, after a few weeks, it’s too late to back track!

Then there is the time spent just in arranging to meet potential car buyers, checking their driving licence and proof of insurance and then taking each of them out on a test drive. Most people don’t have the luxury of time, especially with having such busy lives with work, family, socialising and they’d much rather just have it taken care of for them.

5. Hassle

When selling privately you must ensure that your car is up to scratch and there are many things to take in to consideration. Some of which we’ve already discussed – the advertising, images of the car – inside and out, valeting your car and ensuring it looks clean and in decent condition, writing adverts, contacting potential customers, arranging viewing, negotiating with potential customers… the list goes on. Instead, you could be spending that and time and effort doing something you enjoy!

6. Preparing your car for sale

When selling your car yourself, you need to ensure that it’s desirable to buy and in good condition. Scratches, partial history, MOT due are all good enough reasons for someone to walk away and buy another car that did meet their requirements. You will need to spend (potentially a lot of) money on getting your car up to scratch if you want a quick sale. If not then people will turn up and waste hours of your time because they assumed the car was in better condition than it actually is upon inspection.

7. Finance

We get asked a lot about outstanding finance on cars – it scares a lot of people and will more than likely put a lot of potential customers off. There is only 1 real way of selling a car privately with outstanding car finance and that is to clear the outstanding finance so it does not show on HPI / Experian. Of course if you don’t have the money to afford the settlement figure you are in a sticky situation and may face paying another 1, 2 or 3 months rental due to the lack of interest in the sale of your car.

8. After sale liability

Just the same as buying something from a shop, if something goes wrong, you expect your money back. This is the same with selling your car – if you have not disclosed something to the buyer at time of purchase, and that goes wrong, you could be liable and may have to give the cash back to the buyer. Online services such as EBay/Gumtree do have buyer protection so just beware of this.

9. No guarantee

After all of the time, money and effort that you have put in to selling your car yourself, there is no guarantee that your car will sell. Months down the track you could be in the same position (just with less money and a lot of time wasted)

10. You need to be organised

When selling your car online yourself, you are responsible for the whole process: responding to messages and online requests, making and booking appointments with potential customers which, can be a bit of a nightmare, especially if you are time poor.

You don’t have the option to just call up the buyer or drop in to sell your car on your terms when selling online, however you can do exactly that with Jack!

We are often left to pick up the pieces after customers have spent so much time and money trying to sell their car privately on these websites. This is why we want to make you aware of the above factors, if you are deciding which avenue to go down.

So is there an alternative to selling privately?

So you want to sell your used car quickly for a fair price. However, over the past 10 years there has been a number of online car buying sites that have developed a strong presence as an alternative to the traditional private sale route route. The model is generally the same, you receive a free online valuation for your car and then you arrange for the sale of the vehicle to be made. However, not every car buying service is the same.

We pride ourselves providing you with the best price for your car. We buy car’s regardless for the car’s condition and their service history. We can help even if your car has outstanding finance by showing you how to obtain and pay the settlement figure from the finance company. In addition, there are no hidden admin fees. We pay by bank transfer so you get the money in your bank account within 30 minutes of selling your car to us.

Just some of the great feedback we’ve received from satisfied customers

Here are some of our favourite customers who we have had the pleasure of helping after they suffered some bad experiences as private sellers when trying to sell their car online…

I sold my car to Jack last week and was very impressed. Couldn’t believe how fast the process was. He paid via secure online banking and it was in my account immediately. Forget auto trader wasting your time, and sellyourcar2jack. Thanks Jack

Trisha Grant

Got in touch with Jack was given an appointment the very next day after trying to sell it privately for weeks! Had sold the car and been paid a price I was happy with in about 30mins! Highly recommended!

Kamrin Yasmin

I have been trying to sell my car for months and it was so stressful and I wasted a lot of time and money. It’s hard to trust buyers and they can find it hard to trust you and I was constantly being let down, but I have spoke to jack on one occasion and organised a meeting. Within half an hour my car was sold at a great price. It was a straightforward, honest and fair deal and everything jack said he explained and made very clear. So I can most definitely say it was a pleasure doing business with sell your car to jack and I highly recommend their services.

Callum Conway

We hope you find this information informative. If you are still unsure, Jack is happy to have a non-obligatory chat and he can answer any of your concerns.

You are also welcome to Click Here to use our free online service where Jack will personally give you a valuation of your car.