Privately selling a vehicle

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Motor industry

Selling a car privately in WA is relatively straightforward. A key step as a seller is to complete a Transfer of Ownership form and submit it to the Department of Transport. For more information see Transport WA’s buy, sell or transfer a vehicle.

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) does not apply to cars purchased and sold privately. There may be limited options for Consumer Protection to provide you with assistance if something goes wrong as a result of a private sale.

Tips for selling your vehicle

Have your paperwork ready

Before you sell your car, have relevant information and paperwork ready, such as registration details, servicing history and logbooks and any car finance documents.

Doing a $2 Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) check will show if there is money owing on the car or if the car has been written-off. If there is money owing on your car, you will need to pay this prior to selling it.

Private sellers are not legally required to do a roadworthiness check on the car they are selling, but this can support a quick sale. It is legally up to the buyer to inquire about the roadworthiness of the car. Roadworthiness can be assessed by checking the service history, completing a PPSR check and arranging an independent mechanical inspection of the car.

Selling a car under finance

Purchasing a car under finance is a risk to buyers. You must let the buyer know of any finance owing on the car before a sale.    

If you have a car loan, you need to pay out the loan before you can sell the car. Most lenders will permit the sale of the car while it is under finance, but will request the balance of the loan be paid from the sale of the car.

Depending on your lender, you may need to pay early repayment or break-free charges when paying off your balance.

If the sale price of your car is unlikely to cover the remaining balance of your loan, you will need to discuss this with your lender. Usually you can organise the sale through your lender, which will mean the lender will receive the money directly from your buyer during the sale. If your loan is a secured car loan, you may also be able to substitute the car you are selling with your new car as security.

Check your contract and contact your lender to request a pay-out figure. If there is a dispute with your lender, you can contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) for assistance.

Ready for sale

Prepare your car for sale by giving it a good wash and polish, and repair any minor cracks or dents in the paintwork. It is also a good idea to check the car's lights, wipers and air-conditioning are in good working order and repair them if necessary.

List it for sale

Before you list your car for sale, do some research to find out the selling price of similar cars to help you set a realistic price of sale.

Options to sell a car include online car sites and other online selling platforms, social media, newspaper ads and notice boards.

Be clear in communicating the details and condition of the car with potential buyers. You may be held liable if you are aware of a serious defect and don't make it known to the buyer.

When selling a car online, be aware of scammers who may fake a payment or promise to pay you after the car is in their possession. Make sure the money has transferred before handing over the keys to the vehicle.

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