TowingThe most costly fee when selling your vehicle is also the easiest to avoid. If a company, dealer or buyer expects you to pay for your own towing, especially if your vehicle is non-running, find a different buyer. Additionally, if your car is road-worthy, this can also work in your favor when negotiating a price. You may be able to get an additional $50-$100 on the asking price if you can deliver the vehicle in person and have a friend pick you up.
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LiquidsA lot of scrap car buyers, or junk car buyers, require you to empty your gas tank before they’ll pick up your car, either that or they’ll charge you upwards of $50. If you’re selling your junk car for $400, a $50 charge makes a huge dent in your return. Not to mention that draining your gas tank by yourself can be timely and dangerous. Be sure to ask if there are requirements for vehicle liquids before you accept an offer.
PaperworkSome “cash for cars” companies claim to do the paperwork for you, but when they come to pick up the vehicle and hand you a check, there is a small “document transfer” fee that has removed $10-$15 from your original offer. Before you accept a quote from a car buyer, be sure to get a guarantee that they will do the paperwork and no fees will be taken out of your quote.
Car Cleaning & DetailingAdmittedly, this hidden fee is rare, but that just makes it more frustrating when it happens to you. There are two ways to avoid this: 1) Make sure you double-check that the person or place you are selling your vehicle to will accept it “as is.” 2) Keep your car clean. This one is tough, but if you’re selling your car, chances are that a buyer will take into account the interior condition of your vehicle when they are giving you a price. Routinely taking care of your car shows that it was cared for, and thus, it might be in better condition than most comparable makes and models.
How Can I Protect Myself?The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re selling a car online, through the dealership or to a local car buyer, is that honesty is the best policy. If you have a feeling that you’re not getting the full picture of hidden fees and pricing, then ask for a breakdown via email. Negotiations via email leave a paper trail for you to reference later in case of a complaint. Also, if the check you receive is lower than what you were quoted, and your vehicle is still in your possession, hand the check back and tell them to release your vehicle. The sale isn’t complete until the vehicle has left your possession and all paperwork has been signed and handed off.
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