So you made a deal, you both shook hands, money was exchanged and you have signed off on the ownership, selling a car was good.  It turned it into cash and now you can put it towards other things such as a paying off bills or maybe a newer car.

But there is one more step you need to take before you consider this vehicle out of your life. 

Keep all the purchaser information tucked away.

From personal experience I can tell you this is where that good deal can turn around and bite you back.  I was selling my used car and made a deal with a purchaser.  He was pleasant enough and I gave him a bill of sale and put his name on it (keep a copy).

I took the ownership and signed on the line for the “seller” and gave it to him.  We shook hands, I took my plates off of it, and he towed this car away as he wanted to do many upgrades and was getting it “towed to a mechanic friend”.

At this point I didn’t really care what he did with it, I had signed it over, I had my money and I went on with life.  I turned my plates in to the Ministry and cancelled my car insurance and was done with it.How to Sell Your Used CarCredit:

Call from Police

Six months later I got a call from the Toronto Police telling me that my car had been involved in a chase and then was abandoned in the middle of a busy road with the door open.  It had plates on it that did not belong to that car, and they traced the vehicle back to me by the VIN number.

I came to the unbelievable realization that this car was still in my name.  I was shaking like a leaf.  The police said I was still responsible for this car unless I could prove “a sale had taken place”

I just happened to still have a copy of the bill of sale I had written for this car.  So, I gave him the name and address over the phone of the person and he told me that was the best thing I had done because many people get rid of this information or simply sign over the car without getting the buyers full name.

They were able to trace this person and he was later arrested for impaired driving, driving with wrong plates, driving with no license and a whole slew of other charges. 

I Could Have Been on the Hook for Thousands!

The car had been towed to a yard and I had a yard phoning me next wanting 100 dollars a day for storage.  I told him it was not my car and gave him the same information but they said they only go by the VIN number and my name was on it.

After much heated discussion the car was recycled and I got out of any charges as I now had a police report number.

So, to sell a car yourself can be a profitable experience but if the buyer will not give you his name at all then be suspicious.  Tell them you have to give them a bill of sale with a name on it.  They may give you a fake name, you can’t control that, but this way there was the “intent of a sale”  A copy of their driver’s license would be perfect.

So, remember, simply signing the ownership over does not mean the car is out of your name and life.  If they don’t go to the ministry of Transportation and change it with all the right documents (safety and emission test and valid driver’s license and insurance in Ontario) then it is still your problem.

If you can get them to fill out the purchase name on the ownership and then scan it or photo copy it that would work too.  Just have some kind of proof that you intended to sell a car and you will be covered.

I was thankful I had kept this information in a file.