How I sold a car in 16 hours

I’ve never had much faith in selling things online. I buy things online, a lot of things for that matter. But I’ve never really cracked the whole ebay/craigslist/gumtree thing. Until I managed to sell a car on Gumtree Cape Town in 16 hours.
Having moved to Cape Town a year ago I’ve been contemplating a scooter lifestyle for a while. Then my partner moved to Cape Town and brought her car too. So now we have two cars in a small city geared towards bicycles and scooters. So after deciding to buy a scooter I decided the next thing we had to do was sell the 2002, 1.6 litre Fiat Palio that we had. It’s blue and sexy (in a cheesy sort of way). Here is the beauty that I speak of on the right. So after snapping 4 photos on my trusty Android, Samsung Nexus S (Yes I went there, I use Android) I uploaded the images to the Cape Town Gumtree Site.

The process on Gumtree is nothing to be intimated by, it maybe took me ten minutes, maybe, to get the specifications good and ready, upload the photos (they tell you that adverts with photos are more likely to receive offers), set a price, decide whether to promote the advert or not and then hit publish.
I chose not to spend the tiny sum of R40 to promote my advert. I figured that after a week of no replies I’d be ready to fork out the cash for that.
This all took place at about 11pm on a brisk Tuesday evening. By Wednesday morning I was waking up to replies for the advert coming through via email with offers to purchase, requests to view and negotiations.
I used my incredible intuition to select who I thought were worthy replies to the advert and contacted them all by 8:30am – the first reply had come through at 6am, sharp sharp.
Fortunately one of the candidates I selected was serious and had emailed me twice and then called me to confirm a few things: Time to view the car, payment method and confirmation of location of the car. Done, done and … done.
Once this was done I began to panic thinking about all the scam stories I had heard about selling content on the interwebs. So I did what any panic-stricken sole might, I skyped my mates and had a group conference on the possible outcomes. We all agreed that very little could go wrong but that it would be best for me to call ABSA and find out what the protocol would be for some to revoke an EFT. I also had to find out what bank the buyer was with. Fortunately he was with ABSA so and EFT would be immediate ABSA to ABSA.
After calling the incredibly helpful ABSA EFT call-center staff I had learned the following: due to the immediacy of the transfer from one ABSA account to another if the buyer was going to attempt to recall the money he had deposited he would have to call his bank (not do it online) and ask them to take the funds back out of my account. The bank would then need to phone me and get my permission to go in to my account and remove the money. So at this point I could basically say no and move on with my life.
With that knowledge safely tucked away I set forth. Meeting with the buyer went smoothly, we popped over to the roadworthy agency and had a quick 1-2 on the car. They said the car was good to go.
A bit of haggling and price negotiation and we had set a price, done the EFT and shaken on the deal.
Here are a few things that helped me make this sale easy for the buyer:

  1. All of the paper work for the car was in order.
  2. The car had recently been serviced and was well within the period of the next service.
  3. I had recently put new tires on the car and aligned the wheels.
  4. I knew the history of the car (no accidents, mileage, previous owners).
  5. I went with the buyer while they test-drove the car.
  6. The Gumtree advert was explanatory and descriptive, giving any potential buyer most of the information they’d want.
  7. The Gumtree advert had photographs.
  8. We have two sets of keys and the master key for the car (Fiat master keys cost about R15000 to replace).
And that is the story of how I sold a car in 16 hours. My faith in the interwebs has been reaffirmed.