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Discussion Starter #1
What is the safest way to sell a car to an out of state buyer so that the seller's financial interests are protected from fraud when they release the title (and car), yet the buyer's financial interest is protected as well (prior to buyer getting title to car, etc.) I would be appreciative of other's experiences and recommendations. Thanks
 

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The only way to be ABSOLUTELY safe is for the buyer to come to you with cash and then you do not release the car until it is insured, titled, & registered in the buyer's name. That means that you will have to follow the buyer back to his state and witness the transfer process.

There are other ways to go about an out of state sale but each has some sort of risk. It's a matter if how risk you are willing to take to get rid of the car.
 

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After doing several out-of state/city buys and sells, I have a few suggestions.

First, if you have any reservations at all about the other party, back out immediately. Usually, you're right on about someones ill-intentions.

Outside of that, cashiers checks are one of the safest ways of securing funds (outside of cash of course!). Yes, there are a lot of cashier-check scams but if someone comes to your house and hands you one, odds are, it's good. Plus, you should be able to verify the bank or credit union buy looking them up on line. Most, if not all, banks and CUs have website. Try to get the deal done during bank hours so you can call and verify that the check is legit. Just call them up before you give them the title to make sure the check is good.

Another thing to do is hold the title until you can verify funds - for example, if the deal is being completed after bank hours. Send the buyer with a photo copy and make sure you have a FedEx letter so you can overnight the title as soon as funds clear.

If you are the buyer, just make sure all of the above are available to the seller. Before hand, let them know the bank you will be using so they can do some research if they are nervous. If there is a bank branch in the same city, you might want to go with the seller and get the check at that branch if possible.

I always get a copy (or give a copy) of drivers licenses and insurance cards too. If I'm buying, I bring a copy of a recent utility bill as well for added comfort to the seller but that might be overkill. I just want the seller to be very comfortable with the whole transaction. And as always, don't forget a good, signed bill of sale that details the vehicle with VIN, buyers and sellers name and address, sales price, and warranty information (goods sold as-is, where-is, no warranty expressed or implied, blah, blah, blah). Do a google search for some free examples.
 

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I have sold many cars on Ebay Craigslist etc. I take just about any form of payment but I put the payment in the bank and let it sit for 2 weeks or so and when I have cash in my hand I release the car and title to the buyer. In CA and many west coast states you leave the plate/tag on the car and it is up to the buyer to insure transfer and so on. I fill out the release of liability witch detaches from the title fill it out make a copy of it and then walk it in to the DMV.

As stated above if you have any funny feelings about the "buyer" then pass there will be somebody else who wants it and will do it on your terms.

Paypal is also a good form of payment but let the funds clear and then release the car/title etc. Always check with your state and local laws about selling a vehicle and the emission requirements in CA the seller must smog the vehicle before he/she sells it 1975 and newer and 2005 and older.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks again. You all have been most helpful. How long does it take for funds to clear using Paypal, and can the buyer "chargeback" the purchase if using paypal?
 

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..., and can the buyer "chargeback" the purchase if using paypal?
I'm pretty sure they can although I honestly have no direct knowledge of this; I'm not a Paypal user.

I assuming you are the seller. Will the car be shipped without the buyer visiting the car first-hand? If so, try to avoid this kind of transaction. Your standards may be different than the buyers standards and once the car arrives they may be disappointed and want to dispute the sale.

If they will be picking the car up, I still feel cash or a cashier's check is a far safer way for you to go. This way, the buyer has the opportunity to dispute any description you have given and either accept or reject the deal. With Paypal, I would worry there is still time after the transaction is "completed", the buyer could retract their payment.
 

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thanks again. You all have been most helpful. How long does it take for funds to clear using Paypal, and can the buyer "chargeback" the purchase if using paypal?

Three to seven days but hold the car for at least a week maybe two and if the buyer does not like that then most likely something is wrong. How is the buyers feedback and communication with you so far?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
communication has been good. Car is on ebay now and is going to sell in the next 40 minutes. thanks for all the great info. What about having the buyer's bank wire funds directly? Is that the best option of all?
 

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Either way I would keep the car till funds are free and clear cash in my hand. How far is the buyer from you?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
actually, I do not know the location of the high bidder as he kind of swooped in at the last minute here.
I guess I will talk to my bank officer tomorrow. I certainly won't release or sign over anything until all funds have cleared. Any paypal funds will be for initial deposit only. thanks again
 

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Looking at this from the buyers side, why should I let you have my money for two weeks before I get the car? Where is my security? It seems the buyer gets scammed more often than the seller on eBay.
 

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Member since Sep-08-99 in United States

Feedback Score: 179
Positive Feedback: 100%


With numbers like this you do not have much to worry about! Congrats on the sale nice number!
 

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Looking at this from the buyers side, why should I let you have my money for two weeks before I get the car? Where is my security? It seems the buyer gets scammed more often than the seller on eBay.
Yes I agree I have been scammed as a buyer on Ebay just once but thats enough.

Its like tug of war you give a little then he gives a little. The best way is through Paypal and look at the feedback on the seller/buyer.
 
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