Cash For Cars – Is It Legit?

by Don Elliott on March 8, 2012

The shortage of used cars has motivated car dealers, wholesalers, online websites, and auto auctions to enter the speculative world of cash for cars. Generally, this is good news if you are trying to sell your car. If there are multiple potential car buyers, it is simply a matter of finding the car buyer who will pay the most for your car. Unfortunately, it is not quite that simple.

To be clear, offers to buy cars from private sellers have existed for years. Car dealers have been buying cars as a regular part of their business since car dealerships have existed. Private sellers have been selling their cars to whoever answered their classified ad in the newspaper, or more recently, on Craig’s List and other websites.

Car buyers committing scams are not new either. One trick is to pay the seller more than the asking price by check. The seller is asked to cash the check and give the car buyer the car plus part of the extra cash. The seller has given up his car and paid the car buyer to drive it away just before the check bounces. There are several things you can do to avoid a con artist when selling a car for cash:

Rule #1 – Know what your car is worth. A legitimate buyer will pay something in the vicinity of the actual wholesale used car value. Offering too much is a sure sign that there is a problem.

Rule #2 – Know your car buyer. If you are suspicious about the buyer, don’t sell them your car. There are plenty of reputable car buyers, often associated with larger well-known businesses.

Rule #3 – Cash is king! Cash car buyers have the advantage of being able to close the transaction right away. In some cases, cash car buyers will entice sellers with money in hand to get a better deal on the car. Some cash car buyers also offer trip incentives and coupons to sweeten their deals.

Rule #4 – Buyers might not want your car. Be aware that there are different buyers for different cars. Carmax would be an excellent place to take your 4 year-old car with less than 60,000 miles. Pic A Part is the place to take your non-running 10 year-old car with collision damage. They buy cars by the pound. Find the right buyer to maximize your used car value

Rule #5 – A good title is required. You will need to have your title available to complete a “cash for cars” transaction. If the bank has your title because of an outstanding loan, the transaction is more complicated. This will discourage some spot car buyers. Regardless of the condition or what the car buyer tells you, it is illegal to sell your car without a negotiable title.

Rule #6 – Shop! Shop! Shop! In the current market, good legitimate car buyers want to buy your car. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Deal with reputable car buyers to be sure that your money, title, and car are secure.

These tips will help ensure that you’re selling a car for cash to a legitimate used car buyer.

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