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Private Car Purchase Advice needed please

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I'd be very grateful if someone could advise me about buying a used car from a private individual.


My husband has seen a car advertised on GUMTREE and the owner is only about 5 miles from us.


Husband wants the car and so went to have a look. He's agreed to pay £xxxx for it, and the seller wants cash. :( Husband wants to pay by Credit Card, but of course the seller doesn't have any facility for accepting payment by CC, but husband thinks by paying for the car with his credit card, he'll have some protection if the seller doesn't own the car outright. but don't know how to go about it now


Seller suggested using Paypal (?) but we don't have an account with them and seller needs money by this week-end as he is going to Spain.


Friendly accountant (works for VW) did a quick HPI and the car came back 'clean' but the car has a private plate..which is not being sold with it, would that make a difference to the HPI ?


Never bought a used car privately before so really unsure about how to buy it and be confident that it will really be ours. (not some finance companies)


(sorry for the rambling)

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Is it his own house you have visited to look?


You need to have a decent run in it even if you have to put some petrol in. Make sure it gets good and hot and don't do less than 5 miles.

If you can't drive the car for whatever reason, then walk away


Be aware that the only redress you will have from a private buyer is if it is grossly misdescribed or dangerous.

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Might be an idea to get an HPI check done using the original registration.


IF the car does belong to a finance house and it's on HP, it will not belong to you.


Seller wanting cash quickly because they are leaving the country?


I think I would be walking away myself too!

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Thank you both for your replies.


Husband did visit the sellers home and has already been for a test drive in the car (as a passenger )


My husband first saw the car a few weeks ago and made an offer on the car, but the seller obviously wanted to get as much as he could for it so refused the offer.


He hasn't been able to sell it for the asking price (although looking on various sites, it is still a reasonable price )


He is going away this week-end until the end of July and he's also selling his house. His business is not doing well either apprently.


The seller eventually contacted my husband today and accepted our original offer, as he needs the money.


He e-mailed us this evening with a proposal.

He will issue an invoice via paypal and my husband would then be able to make the payment by credit card by following the link.


He has said that once the funds have cleared into his paypal account, which he claims can take a few days :confused: we can collect the car with all the necessary paperwork completed.


Because we don't know anything about paypal, I really wanted to know if a payment into it really would take days instead of being almost immediate. Paying for anything else by credit card is *instant* isn't it ?


I do realise how dodgy it all sounds, and I might suggest to my husband that we use the AA Car Data Check, but it's still paying by paypal that worries me. :(

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If you pay via paypal most credit companies will not cover the transaction in the same way as they would a "normal" transaction.


Many of them argue that THEIR payment went to paypal, and paypal did exactly what they were meant to, so the credit card transaction is ok.


Paypal do have their own "protection", but if the seller has no money in their paypal account you are stuck - and it sounds like this seller will be making sure that he has taken his money out of paypal before handing the car over. That is safer for him, obviously, as it stops you taking the money back fraudulently, but leaves you with nowhere to go. Paypal transactions funded by a credit card are instant, the few days is because the seller wants to take the money out of his account.


As well as that, if you are buying from a private seller you have fewer rights under the Sale of Goods act.



Quite honestly, I would walk away. Private seller, leaving the country, has nothing to lose, and wants to empty his paypal account before letting you have the car - there are a lot of alarm bells here.

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