Aside from deciding on how to sell your car, you will have to decide how to accept payment. It is during the payment process that most car sellers get scammed.
Getting conned in Kenya is a very common occurrence. As a car seller, it is advisable to practice safe ways of accepting payment. Ensure the payment clears before you let go of your car.
You probably think that cash is a very safe way to accept payment and you might be right. Visit the bank with your buyer, have the notes verified before you complete the transaction. This is to avoid walking around with hundreds of thousands in your pocket and also to avoid collecting counterfeit money.
The second form of acceptable payment could be a personal or bankers cheque. However, these can also be forged. If you accept a cheque, let the buyer know you will be in touch as soon as the cheque clears and you can then let go of the car.
Alternatively, meet your buyer at their bank and have a cashiers cheque prepared as opposed to a personal cheque. This is a sure way of knowing if they have the money before you hand over your car.
So, what are the red flags you need to look out for when selling your car?
1. Offering to buy your car before seeing it
This may sound like good news but it isnít. However, a lot of car sellers have fallen for this old trick in the book. No serious buyer would ever agree to buy a used car without thoroughly inspecting it.
As a car seller, it is in your best interest to meet your car buyer before handing over the car. Chances of getting scammed by an unknown person are higher as more people shift to online car sale.
If a buyer doesnít want to inspect the car, claims they will send the cash and someone will pick it, this is a major red flag. More often than not, the cheque will not clear or the money will not be wired.
2. The overpayment scam
Sometimes, youíll get a buyer who claims that someone owes them a lot of money. And instead of paying them, they will send it to you. Do not fall for this lie.
Another method though not common in Kenya is the buyer that claims they are abroad. They request you to ship the car to wherever they are and they will wire the money to you. Chances of receiving payment once you have released the car are very slim.
3. The hire purchase scam
It sounds like an honest request when a buyer offers to pay in hire purchase. However, as a private seller, you do not have leverage or any kind of law that protects you in case the client doesnít pay. Do not accept payment in instalments.
4. Third-party escrow accounts scam
Nowadays conmen will go to great lengths to get their hands on your money. Theyíll go as far as setting up fake escrow accounts. Donít trust a buyer claiming to have money in an escrow account.
5. Identity theft
A legit buyer will never ask for your personal information such as your ID, bank account number or MPesa pin. If you divulge this information, you might wake up to an empty bank account the next day. Be on the lookout.
Maybe you have already been scammed. What can you do?
Document what you know about the scammer
Document every single detail you can recall about the scammer before you report to the police. The police will need the scammerís name. Whether they gave you a real name or not, just note it down.
If you took a photograph of them or made copies of their national identification card, document that. Note down their emails or phone number if any. Lastly, take note of what exactly they did. Was it a forged cheque or a wad of fake notes?
File a police report and keep a copy
Armed with all these details, visit the nearest police station and file a report. Additionally, if they do something illegal with your car, you would be a step ahead and the crime can not be pinned on you.
Give your bank a heads up
Alert your bank about the issue. This will help clear your name in case the cheque bounces or you get caught with counterfeit notes.