How Not To Sell A Car.

I looked through the thread but didn't find anything relevant so thought I would drop this in as a cautionary note to people selling their car.

Mrs TS2 wanted to sell her car. She asked me to do it for her as she didn't want to have strangers coming to the house, plus I have no concept of offer/discount/price reduction and their ilk. No problem.

Couple of likely lads phone up and say they want to buy it, sight unseen, at asking price. Family member very keen on this car (yellow Skoda Octavia vRS estate). OK, deal.

Pay the money direct to Bank of Scotland, wait for funds to clear and the Flying Banana is yours.

Get a call from BoS saying they are paying the amount off in chunks which is unusual. Agree, but assume this is a cultural thing where families contribute to first car, first home etc.

Get a call from BoS early Saturday morning saying the funds have cleared and we can release the vehicle. I ask for email confirmation of this as well as a fax confirmation. Get both of these and let likely lads know the car now belongs to them.

They come down to Surrey from Bradford early on Sunday morning and collect car.

Simple transaction. End of story.

Well not quite.

Ten days later Mrs TS2 gets a call from BoS saying that she owes them twelve grand.

Apparently the likely lads had paid off the cash using either stolen or defrauded credit cards. As far as they were concerned the loan had not been paid and she still owed them.

So now we have no car and owe 12K. Great.

Straight around the cop shop. Nobody there. There is a phone with which you can report a crime. We call them up and explain the situation. Person on the other end agrees a crime has been committed but is not exactly sure what it is (theft, fraud etc).

We also got a letter from the MD of something like M1 Car Auctions who contacted us as the car had been sold for six grand, something which made him very suspicious. Call him and explain the position. The bloke who bought it is now not sure if the car is legally his.

Cops come around and take a detailed statement but seem mystified as to the exact crime. They seem committed though, not least because half of her family is in Surrey plod.

Find out later that Yorkshire plod had been on the case as well. The car was actually stopped on the evening of the Sunday as it was driving around the posh bit of Leeds and looked a bit suspicious (especially as it was registered to a Surrey address).

Plod do their thing independent of us. They let us know that the likely lads were as thick as pig**** because they had paid utility bills using the stolen cards. We never heard from the plod after that so presumed they did whatever they had to do.

We did hear from BoS though who demanded their money from us. They were resistant to arguments that they had given us clearance to sell the car.

Raised a complaint with the FCA. Sent them all the details, crime reference and copies of all correspondence. They adjudicated in our favour. BoS wrote off the debt and sent us £100 for all the inconvenience.

Moral of this is that clearance of cards, cheques and cash takes a lot longer than the three days most people assume is the case.


Clearance of funds can take a matter of weeks if it is drawn on a cheque, those funds can bounce around for up to five weeks. BACs is three day clearance with banks but Five with Building societies. CHAPS is same day clearance but it will cost £25 - £35.

Cash can be counterfeited, and so can bullion and most of us couldn't tell the difference between a diamond and a cubic zircon so basically we're all fecked.

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