8 Reasons Not to Buy a Used Car from a Private Seller
When it comes to buying a used car, it’s not just about getting a good deal on the price. If you aim for the lowest cost you can find, that may lead you to a private transaction with a non-commercial seller, and you could be entering murky territory. Before you buy that car parked in someone’s front yard or search one out on Craigslist, consider these reasons to avoid a private purchase.
Ways to Save Money on a Car: Why buying a used car is a better deal than purchasing a new one
There could be something wrong with the vehicle
Many people wait to sell their vehicle until the point that keeping it will cost them more than buying a new one, so it’s not uncommon for a seller to dump the vehicle when it needs a major repair or is on its last leg.
Private sellers don’t care about repeat business
Because a private sale is a one-time transaction, such sellers aren’t interested in customer service, reputability, customer satisfaction, or other factors that established businesses are, so you’re not guaranteed a positive experience from a private seller.
The seller doesn’t know much about cars
Unlike doing business with a car salesperson who works with and follows the ins and outs of the industry on a daily basis, a private seller may not know much about cars and won’t be very helpful in answering your questions.
It’s harder to document and track private transactions
Privates sales are less documented than business sales, so be careful entering into a cash-only transaction that lacks important paperwork or financial records. You don’t want the lack of a paper trail to come back to bite you.
Post-sale follow-ups are tricky
Unlike a business with a long-term, publicized address, private sellers are harder to trace in the years to come because they can move out of state, change their phone number, or even change their name.
There’s no coverage or protection
Private sales offer the vehicle as is, not including any safety net such as a warranty. These are useful to have in case there’s something unexpectedly wrong with the car.
It’s harder to get information on vehicle history
Unless the private seller has retained thorough, accurate paperwork on the work that’s been done on the car, it’s much more arduous to gather information on a vehicle through a private sale than through a dealership. Used car dealerships typically provide a CarFax report.
The vehicle could be stolen
In rare cases, private sellers who offer a great deal may be offloading a stolen vehicle to make quick money, especially if they have a fake title or lack previous documentation. Be vigilant about avoiding a scam.
If you decide to buy a vehicle from a private seller, there are important steps you can take to protect yourself from fraud and getting ripped off, like looking up the VIN number and taking the car to a mechanic before buying it.
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a Hyundai Veloster Turbo (which recently replaced his 1995 Saturn SC-2). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.