Oddly, there are no good usergroups I know of for a question like this. ahr
seems as good as any place.
I have my car for sale.
Is it okay to let them take it for a test drive? If they don't come back,
have they stolen it, or have they just borrowed it for longer than I
intended? When I bought a used car two years ago nobody thought twice about
letting me test drive them, but I look really harmless.
Is a bank check secure enough? Except for cash I don't know of anything
safer. And I suppose if they gave me forged check it wouldn't be much
different than stealing the car.
Any advice, or good websites on the subject, would be appreciated.
I've sold two. On both test drives, I went along. I also followed a common
recommendation and asked for cash in payment. Most buyers seem to expect
this. After a deal was struck, one buyer went to the bank to get the cash.
The other pulled several thousand dollars from his billfold and took the car
and the title. He seemed to be familiar with the cash requirement. Thing
is, a check can be bounced or stopped and cashiers checks are occasionally
Test drive?? Sure, let me hop in with you, I have the insurance card in my
check?? yeah, there is a drive through bank 2 blocks down. I prefer cash,
worked for me, 4 times in the last 3 years.... nobody was offended.
As others have said you should ride along on the test drive. As for
payment, most banks have a notary so you shouldn't accept a check. Go to his
bank, get cash, sign and notarize the title, take off your license plates.
You go on any test drive with the prospective buyer.
What does the local new car dealer do?
In my neck of the woods, the local car dealer never lets a car off the
lot without a salespersn in i, too.
And that car dealer can better afford a theft loss than you can.
And on he actual sales transaction, you have the buyer meet you in your
bank with the cash. You accep and count the cash; sign over the title
documents, deposit the cash to your account.
Bank checks ( so called "cashier's checks) are routinely counterfeit
Used to be, most dealers would let most people take the car alone for
a test drive, some would let you take it I'm told for a couple days.
I haven't ever bought from a dealer usually, but it can be hard to
find the model I want, and either 12 or 19 years ago, I did take a car
for a test drive, and he let me take it alone. He didn't say antying
about how long I could have it, and I think I took 20 minutes. He was
right near an xway so that didn't take extra time. I don't suppose
they call the police in less than 3 or 4 hours or the end of the day.
Now they probably want to keep your driver's license, and/or check
your credit before they do that. You probably don't have as easy a
way to check their credit than a dealer does. And any loss to you
will be personal, not averaged over the corporate year like to a
OTOH, last time one private guy let me drive the car without him. I
had to go pretty far to find an expressway, and when I did, I couldn't
get the car to go over 65. I liked the model and the looks and the
color, and he made a wild guess about what was wrong with it when I
told him about the speed problem, but I didnt' buy the car.
Be back in no more than 20 minutes/an hour. I suppose you could make
him sign a receipt givign the time and saying when he'll be back. In
most cases, the guy who would do that, wouldn't bring it back late
anyhow, and the guy who plans to rob a bank with it, would gladly sign
the receipt regardless. I think people steal cars to rob banks,
rather than show their face to someone like you, but it woudln't hurt
to look at his driver's license, compare the picture with his face,
write down the state and the drivers license number. Then if he does
not return the car or robs a bank and the police come to you, you have
all that info.
If you go with him, and you make him feel he has to drive cautiously,
well that would annoy me as a buyer. I do drive pretty cuatiously but
I want a car that doesn't insist on that.
When I was in college, almost 40 years ago, my mother sent me a bank
check with money to buy a car (It cost 650, and was nice) and I went
to the bank to get a certified check (do they still have those?), and
the bank told me it would take 3 days for the bank check to clear.
They had a book with the signatures of all the bank officers
nation-wide, but that wasn't enough assurance for them that it wasn't
So I went a block away and borrowed the money on my Master Card. I
came back with the cash and tried to get a certified check, but they
said it took a day for cash to clear. Not that it was forged, which
they can tell right away, but to get recorded by their computer, which
in those days at least, almost 40 years ago, only picked up daily
transactions at the end of the day.
I put on a sad face and they took pity on me, expecially since they
knew i had been there a half hour earlier and was trying (or maybe I
asked to speak to the manager, and he took pity on me) and gave me the
This was all so much trouble that now I pay cash. Last car was 5300
dollars, but I guess even if it were 20G I'd do the same thing. I'm
careful that no one in the bank should know how much I'm getting, and
I watch that no one is following me out of the bank. I also put a
couple hundred in one pocket, so I can give a random thief that much,
but nothing has ever happened to me at a bank**.There really are not
thieves hanging around waiting for someone.
**Rarely but I have heard of people being robbed at bank atm's at
night. And a long time ago, when I lived in walking distance of a
bank, someone followed a neighbor of mine home from a bank, all the
way into her apartment, or maybe he knocked on the door after he saw
which apartment, and wanted the money. She had made a deposit, not a
withdrawal, and she tried to show him the receipt. I think eventually
he believed her and left without hurting her, although I suppose he
must have stolen something. He probably wasn't inside the bank and
plainly wasn't keeping track of who made big withdrawals, was just
going for the random withdrawal maybe based on how well-dressed the
But of course your problem would be convincing someone else that this
is safe for him. With a really hard case, you could meet him at his
bank, and the teller could keep the money behind the counter while you
opened your own account at that bank. What a pain. Maybe you have
the same bank already.
Or you could make him wait until the check clears. Of course,
although the bank makes the funds available after only one day, often,
the check hasn't really cleared yet, and they can take the money back
from you for at least 3 days, more maybe i don't know, and more yet if
it is a different Federal Reserve bank from another state.
I think it is different legally.
alt.legal This is Usenet, with newsgroups, and although it can be
read through the web in some cases, the easiest way to read it is with
a news reader, such as Agent www.forteinc.com which will run in a free
mode, and other programs that I have lost track of, maybe Thunderbird,
Netscape 7 and lower, and I think Outhouse Express, but I'm not sure.
I will let someone take the car by themselves if the one theyt left at
my house is a better car. I do copy their driver's license and
insurance card. (just like the car dealer)
Cash only and I wipe it with a counterfiet pen.
David, I think you have probably seen clerks use what looks like a
highlighting pen and make a mark on a
$20 bill to see if it's counterfit.
As for the intended buyer leaving a car being, there was a case some years
ago in Pittsburg, I believe, where the car left behind was stolen. I know.
It's not very likely but to stay on the safe side I would insist on taing
the ride with them. Of course, if you're paranoid there's always the
scenario of them forcing you out of the car in the middle of nowhere.
Unless the thief wants a particular car, and he saw it advertised, I
don't get this. Hmm. Maybe he had to damage the log of the first car
But now there's also a witness who can identify the thief.
BTW, I grew up 50 miles from Pittsburgh, the only burg city in the US,
I was told, whose name ends in h. Because it was close, we were
expected to spell it right, moreso than other cities.
Test Drive: If the buyer shows up in a car of equal or higher value
than what I'm selling then they get whatever test drive they want, as
long and far as they want, and I don't go unless they ask. If the
buyer has a beater car then I ride along. That said, the guy who paid
full price for the truck I just sold didn't even own a car.
Payment: I prefer a personal check over a bank check. Reason: If
the bank check doesn't clear then you call the bank. If the personal
check doesn't clear then you call the police. Jail is a good
motivator. Until the check clears, I give the buyer the choice of
taking either the car or the title. The wise buyer takes the title
and leaves the car.
Knock on wood, I've never had a problem with a buyer's payment, be it
cash, personal check, or cashiers check.
On 26 Apr 2007 10:58:27 -0700, The Reverend Natural Light
BTW, never take a post-dated check, for anything really. AIUI A
post-dated check cannot be an insufficient funds check. If you date
it tomorrow, and it has insufficient funds tomorrow, that might be
because you intended to put money in but couldn't for some reason.
It's a mistake, not a crime. I guess you can have him date the check
today, and promise you won't try to cash it until the day you've
I always intend to sell my car, but end up driving them into the
ground and scrapping them.
The one car I sold, a '67 Pontiac Catalina, I sold for 100 dollars
(minimum 50 for a running car and 50 more for being a convertible,
especially when full size convertibles were no longer made and
American convertibles were at the time not made.). When I found more
parts for it and called the buyer, he was mad at me that I charged too
much. He said it needed a new water pump. Earlier he had told me
that his 16 year old son was going to fix the car up so he could have
it ready when he was old enough to drive in NYC, at age 18. So what's
the big deal about a water pump that cost 30 dollars in 1981. He also
insisted I knew the pump was bad, even though the car had never
overheated for me. What a jerk.
Bank checks are easily forged. I always suggest that we meet at their bank
for the purposes of using the bank's notary (to transfer title) and have
them get an offical check in front of me while we are there. But actually
they can even stop payment on an official check. Only cash is really safe.
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