Practice. Selling your car to an individual, beware of the pitfalls

To fully understand the efforts of a sale between individuals, it is necessary to consult the Civil Code. Article 1641 of the Civil Code provides that “Seller is bound by the warranty for hidden defects in the goods sold which render it unsuitable for the purpose for which it is intended.”

Let us reveal a preconceived notion: you are responsible for what you sell, even if you are an individual. In case of a problem, the buyer can request cancellation of the sale.


If you are selling your car, you must send a copy of the transfer document to your insurance company if you wish to terminate the insurance. Photo DR

Administrative procedures

After convincing your buyer, do not neglect the important step in the paperwork required for the sale. In the case of a car sale to a private individual, the administrative costs are borne by the seller. You must bring several essential documents:

Transfer declaration form (CERFA form no. 15776), completed and signed in duplicate by seller and buyer. You can find it on the internet, remember to print several copies before the sale to give you the right to errors. Any deletions or corrections are avoided.

The registration certificate, more commonly known as Carte pigs. It should be crossed out with a large pencil line on the day of sale. We also state the date and time of the sale, and we sign.

The certificate of administrative status. Formerly called certificate of non-mortgage, it is very important. In fact, every vehicle can be the subject of an opposition or a promise. It is clear that an administrative situation prevents the transfer of the vehicle to a third party. But that’s not all, every sale must be accompanied by proof of technical control.

After the sale, you have one last step. It will be necessary to inform the prefecture of the change of ownership within fifteen days after the transfer. This process is performed online on the ANTS website. You must indicate the name of the new owner, the date and time of the sale and the mileage at the time of the transfer.

Car papers illustration

Car papers illustration

Technical inspection is mandatory

You must provide the buyer with proof of MOT. It does not matter if the buyer asks for it or not: it is mandatory. Above all, it can save you a lot of trouble.

Even in the case of “sales as is” (see below) get a check made. First, you want to be legal. So if there is a problem with the car after the purchase, in the absence of technical control you will probably be held liable.

The technical control, if it does not see everything, still makes it possible to get a fairly accurate map of the condition of the vehicle. Even if the vehicle is old or damaged, an inspection will be made. The buyer can not blame you for the problems listed in the report.

Sales in the state do not exist

This is a mention that we often see in the classified ads. “Sold as is” or “sold without CT”. If the vehicle breaks down after purchase, you are still responsible.

“Montpellier’s Court of Appeal revoked judgment of 9 December 2020” The mention “is sold as it is” does not have the legal consequences as it wishes to be attributed to it “.

Clearly, this mention in the classified ad does not change the seller’s legal obligations. explains Maître Le Dall, lawyer for the car.

Illustration Adobe Stock

Illustration Adobe Stock

We take care of the payment

This is the most delicate stage of the sale. No matter how much trust you have in the buyer, you will need to be vigilant. France is one of the only countries still using checks.

Convenient for a transaction of this kind, it is also terribly risky, between insufficient funds or stolen checkbook. What’s worse, the issuing bank could wait several days before rejecting the payment. Your car will already be far away.

There are several alternatives. The bank check ensures the seller the payment of the amount. We still need to confirm its authenticity with the issuing bank.

Cash payment is also risky. Because of counterfeit money. Some secure applications allow you to pay for your vehicle in full security.

The seller pays the money on the app, the seller validates the sale with a few clicks, and the money is paid. Banks have been developing this kind of process for some time. Ask your banker.

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