Car Selling Safety: Meeting Potential Buyers for the First Time
The idea of selling your car online is a great one. It's super convenient and it puts you into contact with a much broader variety of people. Still, there are inherent risks with this because the people on the other side of the ad are strangers. A few people have been killed because the people saying they were interested in their vehicles for sale were actually con artists and criminals.
These incidents are extremely rare and shouldn't put you off from trying to sell your car online in general. However, it does show you need to be careful about how you go about placing an ad and about whom you agree to meet.
First of all, don't agree to meet just anybody. Be selective and do your research on people before you agree to meet them. Ask a ton of questions about them that only a person legitimately interested in buying your car would ask. Try to have a real conversation. Usually, this can tell you a lot about a person and whether or not they're for real.
Try to keep your head about you. That is, even though you're excited to have a prospective buyer on the phone, don't let that fact alone sway you. Stay alert at all times. They may say something that tips you off to their true intentions and you'll need to be aware to catch it.
If they seem to be on the up and up, agree to meet in a public place. There should be plenty of other people around so that you're not alone. Don't ever meet at your home or in an abandoned lot or anything like that.
Another good way to protect yourself is to bring someone along with you. Having someone with you greatly reduces the risk of being harmed. If the prospective buyer is a fraud, they'll likely bail at the sight of a second person on site.
If something doesn't feel right about the transaction, don't go through with it. If a person makes you uncomfortable, don't pursue it. If the idea of selling your car and meeting individual buyers really makes you uncomfortable, it may be best to hire an auto broker to complete it for you. They charge a fee, but it may be worth it to preserve your safety. The old adage "trust your gut" plays a primary role here.