As a product of the technically-savvy Millennial Generation, I’m certainly no stranger to buying and selling goods online. But when it comes to selling a car through an online, third-party broker, it’s important to be cautious and know exactly what you’re paying for – and what you’re getting in return.

The Vehicle Sales Authority of British Columbia and the Better Business Bureau warn consumers of third-party auto brokers who make questionable guarantees to consumers selling their vehicles online. In the classic scenario, the consumer has posted their vehicle for sale online. They then receive a call from a company stating that they have a buyer for the vehicle. The consumer is asked to pay a fee for the sale with the promise that, if the vehicle is not sold within a certain number of days, the consumer will get their money back. What consumers may not know is they’re actually purchasing online advertising from a telemarketer that comes with no guarantees.

Over the years, Consumer Protection BC has received complaints from consumers who have had bad experiences with third parties offering to sell or advertise their cars for them, online or otherwise. While online car sales are not regulated by Consumer Protection BC, we do license telemarketers. Here are a few tips to help you make an informed decision before agreeing to have a third party sell your car:

Know who you are doing business with

There are many reputable companies out there, so do your research. Call Consumer Protection BC and the Better Business Bureau to ask if there have been any complaints against the company you are considering using.

Read the fine print.

Whether online or in person, always educate yourself about the terms and conditions of the sale. Doing so will help you determine whether you want to deal with the company or not.

Ask about refunds.

You will want to know what happens to your money if your car doesn’t sell and how much you will get if it does sell. You will also want to know what happens if you change your mind (if there’s a cooling off period).

We hope this helps!


Can I return a new car?
Can you spot a shady used car deal?
Watch out for curbers!
Buying a used car: common questions about damage declarations