Buy & sell safely online with vehicle adsonline. We offer advice and tips for staying safe when shopping online using peer-to-peer selling sites, the best payment options and making sure that what you think you're buying is what you actually get.


We offer advice and tips to stay safe when buying or selling through motoring classified adverts. Buyers need to be sure that they are buying the item which is advertised and sellers must be sure that the person they are selling to will be paying with real money. Here are some helpful tips to staying safe and shopping safely online:


Top Tips

  1. Always meet the buyer/seller in person; don't send payment for an item you've never seen.
  2. Avoid sending emails or calling telephone numbers which are hidden within photographs or text.
  3. Avoid carrying large sums of cash with you when meeting a seller.
  4. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is!
  5. Use the "contact this advertiser" button in the ad for our safest communication with the seller.
  6. Beware of fake payment sites and invoices.
  7. Tell others when and where you are going to meet a buyer/seller and take a friend with you.
  8. Don't post items to buyers, always trade in person, face to face.
  9. Avoid using untracable payment services like UKash and Western Union.


Buying and selling safely

Buying and selling online safely can seem like it's all a bit hit-and-miss, but you can go some way to safeguard yourself from scammers and illegitimate buyers and sellers by making a few simple checks. More often than not if something seems too good to be true then they are and this is when you as the buyer or seller must learn to say no and walk away from any sale or negotiation.

  • See it - See the item and see it working. If you have done your homework you will know what things to check to make sure the item has not had intermittent repairs done to make an item appear working until you get it home. If you are the seller then ensure you have payment before parting with the goods. Do not send items to anyone before receiving payment.
  • Test it - Can you drive the car? Can you test the item? Get a feel for it before parting with your money.
  • Keep in touch - As the buyer or the seller, there's nothing more reassuring after making a big purchase than a healthy continued and honest communication with the seller.


There is more invaluable help and information on selling your car safely on the Saga website.


Advert Descriptions

Use your advert description to describe all the good and bad parts of the vehicle. If it's especially well maintained then buyers will want to know - At the same time, buyers will also want to know about negatives such as any marks or scratches on the vehicle. You can also use photographs to demonstrait any blemishes to the bodywork or upholstry.

You should also detail the vehicle's age, mileage, service history and if you have the service history documents and spare key available for the buyer.


Contact information

Displaying your contact information publicly on a classified ad is extremely helpful to anyone who wants to buy something from you. A telephone number or email address makes it easy to contact you but you should also be aware of scammers and marketers who may use your contact details to contact you for reasons other than purchasing your item(s). Politely ask them to leave you alone or if it seems like a scam, report it.


Telephone numbers

Below we detail the telephone number layout in the UK and what to look for to avoid accidentally dialling a premium rate telephone number 

Watch out for buyers and sellers trying to encourage you to call an unusual or premium rate telephone number. Premium or higher rate telephone numbers can be identified by the numbers starting with "09", "070", "084"*.

Normal UK landland telephone numbers start with the prefixes "01"and "02". Non-geographical telephone numbers are not neccessarily a higher rate chargeable service but if the number starts with "084" then it's worth checking before dialling. "03" numbers are non-geographical local-rate numbers and are usually included in your free minutes.

Legitimate UK mobile phone numbers will begin "07" and the next number is never a "0". E.g. "077" or "078...". 

UK telephone numbers will always begin with a 0 and be 10 or 11 digits in total. Non UK telephone numbers will begin with a dialling code or "+" symbol. Noticing a telephone number like this can indicate that the advertiser is not based in the UK.


Test Drives

It is best practice to ensure that your potential buyer has the right insurance and licence before allowing them to testdrive your car.



Exchanges of goods for money should always take place in a safe place. If you are agreeing with a buyer or seller to meet somewhere to exchange then do so in a safe, public place. The transaction should be in day-light and where other people are around to best protect your safety. If you do not feel that the transaction will be safe then do not proceed.

Where possible - Arrange for cash to be paid directly in to your bank. The bank will check and flag counterfeit bank notes and the money will be available to you immediately. If the buyer is paying by cheque it is always recommended that you do not give up the vehicle until funds have fully cleared; this can take several days.



Cheque payments  - Cheques are subject to the account having sufficient funds in place and you will not know whether or not the cheque will clear until up to 10 working days after the transaction has taken place. Where possible you should ask that the payment is made by cash or through a reputable  payment service provider like bank transfer or Paypal where you can see the funds clear instantly. Note, these payments may incur a fee which you will be liable for.