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How South Africans sell their cars

By Alina Hardcastle

According to a poll commissioned by CarZar (a second-hand car buyer) and executed via News24, 87% of South Africans fear they won’t receive a fair deal when selling their vehicle through dealerships and 64% claim getting a fair price is a top priority when trying to offload their vehicle.  

The survey also found that 58% prefer to receive cash for their car rather than trading-in. However, in contrast, safety concerns mean that 80% of respondents prefer to have their car inspected at a dealership than in a private location.

Other survey findings were as follows:

  • 85% of respondents had sold a car during their lifetime.
  • 50% of South Africans prefer to sell their car privately, although in practice many do not go this route.
  • 85% of people are concerned about the safety of money transfers when selling a car online.
  • 61% of respondents have concerns about transfers and paperwork being handled correctly - these are valid concerns because, the new owner has 30 days after the purchase to transfer ownership and if he gets any fines within that period; the seller is still liable.
  • The vast majority of people (81%) gather their information online before selling, with online car websites being the most consulted source (61%).

How South Africans can sell their car privately

Rob Thompsett, the relationship manager at CarZar, explained that South Africans seem to be quite knowledgeable about how to get the best price for their car, but there are still a lot of perceived risks to not selling through the dealership.  “The fact that you will almost always get a better price by selling privately or via an online car buyer like CarZar seems to be well understood. But security risks – both in terms of fraud and personal safety still weigh on the minds of a lot of South Africans.”

Jeff Osborne, head of Gumtree automotive, added that private sales can present challenges for the inexperienced, whether buying or selling. “There are thousands of individuals who use our site to sell their cars privately and have done so for years, but if you aren’t familiar with cars or the process, there are a few tips you should take note of.”

He advised the following steps:

  1. Prepare necessary documentation: Gather all the paperwork you might need that a buyer would reasonably want. This includes the service history, receipts for new parts purchased, existing warranties etc.
  1. Prepare the car physically: Ensure that the vehicle looks as attractive as possible. Osborne said: “Have the car cleaned inside and out and throw out any papers or clutter on the side. When you photograph the car, make sure that your pictures are clear and high quality. First impressions count.”
  1. Post and bump up your ad: Posting an ad on Gumtree is free, but an ad with special features stands out from the crowd. “Bumping your ad to the top makes a huge difference,” advises Osborne. “You can also opt for a homepage gallery Ad or Top Ad that showcases your vehicle on different sections of the site.”
  1. Meeting potential buyers: Osborne advises sellers to always be cautious when meeting prospective car buyers. “It’s a good idea to meet the buyer in a public place, such as a police station. Never allow a prospective buyer to test drive your car by themselves and always take a friend along if you are going to meet a buyer.”
  1. Accepting payment: Accepting a cash payment is never a good idea, said Osborne. “Carrying huge amounts of cash around does introduce an element of risk to any transaction, and checks can be canceled. If the buyer makes payment via EFT, make sure that funds have cleared before handing over your keys. Better yet, accompany them to the bank and request an immediate transfer.”
  1. Do your paperwork: Once you’ve sealed the deal, write a receipt for the buyer with the date, amount paid, make and model of the car, the registration, and the names and addresses of both parties. Osborne explained: “It’s vital to fill out a transfer of ownership form immediately and to hand this in at the Licensing Department. Failure to do this means that you may be liable for fines incurred.”


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