Receiving payment for your boat
Dealing with cash
Unfortunately, cash or a banker's draft are not totally secure methods of receiving funds.
With a banker's draft you should ensure that your bank has honoured the draft before signing the boat over to the buyer, as payment is no longer guaranteed. This means that the Purchaser agrees that the boat belongs to you until the funds are cleared and credited to your account.
However, should you release your boat before the purchaser's draft has cleared, you're still left with the problem of getting your boat back.
If you accept a cheque as payment, cheques can be cleared, show funds in your account and still be returned as unpaid even as long as a month afterwards. So if you need to accept a cheque, the way of ensuring that a cheque is going to be honoured, is to ask your bank for an express clearance. A charge of about £15 is made for this.
Also, do not accept a cheque for an amount MORE than your asking price! Some sellers have actually accepted a cheque made payable to a third party for more than their asking price and then issued "change" for the difference and been surprised that they have lost both boat and money. See our Fraud Warning for more details on this.
Even cash could be counterfeit, unlikely, but possible so when receiving cash as settlement, it'll be for you to make a judgement as to the trustworthiness of your purchaser.
Minimizing the risk
To help minimise your risk, always obtain the full name, address, telephone number(s) and email address of a prospective buyer – and then check them out, as best you can.
Find a reason to send an email that needs a reply and yet another reason to telephone the purchaser and check how the telephone is answered. If the purchaser lives near you and seems suspicious, you could carry out a ‘drive by’ to see if the car that they came in, to view your boat, is parked in the driveway or outside. And if they’re buying your boat ‘blind’, that is, they’ve never been to view your boat, alarm bells should be ringing loudly. Have you ever bought a boat blind? Would you ever? If you wouldn’t, why should they?
Fortunately, fraud and deception is rarer than it may seem when reading the press or watching television. When it does occur, it is usually with people who failed to take the basic steps of risk protection. No fraudster wants to get found out, so why deal with somebody who is cautious and careful? This should in no way put you off selling your boat privately, just take care to protect yourself.
The solution is CHAPS!
The best way of receiving payment for your boat is via a CHAPS payment.
CHAPS is a method of making same day electronic transfers between banks, for any amount, to clearing banks in the United Kingdom. CHAPS stands for ‘Clearing House Automated Payment System’. With most banks, CHAPS payments can be made between the hours of 8:30am - 3:00pm, Monday - Friday. A charge to the purchaser is made by their bank to the value of about £25.
CHAPS payment requests for under £10,000 can be often taken over the telephone by banks for personal accounts, but requests for payments over £10,000 usually require the purchaser to put the request in writing.