There are a few ways to sell your van online – but, whatever method you choose, it’s important to consider safety. There are a few things you can do to ensure that any potential buyers are trustworthy – and not time wasters or fraudsters.

It’s important to remember that genuine buyers out there need to know you’re on the level too – so, selling a van safely, can often involve walking the fine line between being as open and honest as possible – but also remaining on guard.


Where can I sell my van?

It’s important that you only use reputable selling websites. A well-thought-out post on an auction site, classified site, or in a social media group, complete with pictures and a link to your profile, is likely to be more successful than an anonymous one-line post on a message board. On most auction and classified sites, buyers will have reviews from people that they have previously bought and sold from, which give an idea of their character.

To avoid online dangers like catfishing – the process of luring someone into a relationship by means of creating a fictional persona – it is always best to deal with accounts that have many strong reviews, and therefore have an element of social proof. If they have no reviews or bad reviews, they are probably best avoided.


How can I ensure I don’t get scammed?

Scammers can be very clever, so the best way to guard against them is simply to do all due diligence to protect yourself. Insist on all their key contact details and don’t leave them alone when they come to view or collect your van.

Do not give out your bank details until you are assured your seller is genuine; and never let a prospective buyer try to pressure you into a quick sale, even if they offer a tempting price.


How do I ensure a viewing is safe?

Communicating with prospective buyers only via text and emails can make it difficult to know who you’re really dealing with. Insist that a potential buyer gives you a real-time phone or video call, and make sure that the person you are talking to is the same person who shows up to collect your vehicle.

Talk over every detail of your deal, what you’ll include in the sale, how you want to be paid, and when you want the vehicle collected. A genuine buyer is unlikely to have an issue with any of this, and if you do find yourself receiving significant pushback, it could be a red flag.


What sort of scams do I need to be aware of?

Once the online negotiations have moved offline, you and the buyer will need to organise a viewing of the van. It is vital that you never leave them alone during inspection or collection. Scammers will often cause a diversion and whilst the seller is distracted, take the opportunity to subtly damage the van, so that they can renegotiate the price. Of course, it is also imperative that you don’t allow a buyer to test drive your van alone — as it’s possible you may never see it again!


Where can I conduct a safe viewing of my van?

Always meet somewhere you are comfortable – whether that’s your home or a local car park. Do not let the buyer pick an unknown location, and don’t go anywhere deserted. It is important that you remember that you have the right to walk away from negotiations.

If you ever feel uneasy, unsafe, or just don’t think the deal is going to work out the way you hoped, don’t push it. If things have started to turn sour between you and your buyer – and you’re feeling intimidated – it is probably best to politely decline further offers and let the sale fall through.


What if the buyer wants to rework a deal?

If your buyer turns up and suddenly wants to rethink everything you have previously discussed, things can quickly become tense and problematic. Before the collection, make sure you both know what you’re getting into, thinking through all the details. Will you be removing the windscreen stickers before the sale? Are they expecting a professional clean? If the van has signboards, are they expecting them to have been removed?

You may need to be slightly flexible on price for the sale to come off – but, again, ensure you’re both in the same ballpark on that. Agree to a conditional price, so long as your van meets their expectation. Otherwise, you could end up wasting the day hosting a test drive only to disagree on a sales price afterwards.


What is the safest way to get paid for my van?

Use a secure payment method, if possible. There are a few ways you can request payment – but it is always important to stay safe. When selling your van privately, you don’t always have the peace of mind that comes with a secure online transaction, but you can still opt for safe methods.

If the buyer insists on paying in cash, agree to meet at a bank, where you can witness the money being withdrawn and counted. If they are paying by cheque, be extra sure your buyer is genuine and get all their details. Should that cheque bounce, you want to know you can chase it.

These days, the best way to get paid is to use a secure bank transfer. In most cases, the funds should arrive in your bank account almost instantly – and your aim should always be to be paid for your van during your buyer’s visit.


Ensure you do things legally

It is essential that you remember to notify the DVLA when you transfer ownership of your van and you need to make sure that you have also handed over key documents – like the service history, V5C, and MOT certificates. As well as the key and any spare keys.

It is important that you make sure you’ve done everything on your side of the sale by the book. Otherwise, you run the risk of having the buyer accusing you of selling them short later.


Sell your van the Motorway way

If you’re looking for a safe method of selling your van quickly and for a great price, you should try Motorway.

Motorway works with a nationwide network of more than 4,000 professional car and van dealers, so you will get a fantastic experience without needing to engage in any worrisome dealings with internet strangers.

When you sell your van with Motorway, there is also no need to negotiate with buyers, and no tense conversations. All you need to do is make a quick and easy profile for your van and then wait for your best offer to come in.

Motorway will collect your van for free from a location of your choice – and their helpful advisors are just a phone call or email away. If, however, you decide not to sell with Motorway, then please do take some measures to keep yourself safe.

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