Potential buyer responds to your car selling ad, claims you confirmed sale by e-mail, threatens to sue for damages.

You have advertised your vehicle for sale and receive a phone call from a potential buyer. To confirm the date agreed for the inspection of the vehicle, the potential buyer asks you to send your address by e-mail or to send an “ok” reply. In some other cases, the buyer simply sends a test e-mail requesting you to confirm it.

In actual fact, the e-mail is a confirmation of the alleged sales contract, usually indicating a much lower price than the real value of the vehicle. From this moment, the scam artist insists on compliance with the contract terms, i.e. the selling the vehicle at the price he claims was agreed.

If you are not prepared to sell the car to the prospective buyer or if you have already sold it, the fraudster will threaten to start proceedings and to claim damages for non-compliance. He/she will claim that your e-mail proves the validity of the sales contract. In exceptional cases, the court may even rule in favour of the fraudster.

You should therefore be particularly careful when answering unrequested e-mails from potential buyers. Always describe the the situation in detail and the reason for the e-mail and carefully store the entire e-mail correspondence between you and the potential buyer. This will minimise the chances of fraudsters finding any clues that will qualify as a confirmation of a sales contract.

You are in contact with a potentially scam artist and have already received a sales contract or a threatening letter? Find help here

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