Friday, December 16, 2011

Selling a car

First of all, let it be known that website information is not what it is cracked up to be. Abu Dhabi police have a helpful website with information about documents needed to buy, sell and register a car. Unfortunately it is not accurate! We decided to buy a second hand 4WD the other day. We’ve been looking for a while and I noticed that when I found one that seemed interesting it was often sold before I got to contact the owner. So when I finally found one that my spouse and I agreed upon we committed to it quickly. Actually at this writing we have not completed that transaction, but this is not the story of that purchase but instead the sale of our 3 year old small sedan car. Having decided to buy a car, we needed to sell the sedan to help pay for the 4WD. I looked up the website to find out what is needed to buy and sell a car. I was soon to discover just how fast the car market is here in Abu Dhabi.
Since we were going to get this other car we needed to get rid of the sedan. So at 6pm on a Tuesday evening, two hours after deciding to buy the 4WD, while waiting for one of my daughters to finish a dance class, I logged into, created an account and created an ad from memory.  When I got home an hour later I got a call from a prospective buyer asking me about the car. I walked out to the sedan to check the odometer because I hadn’t known the exact reading (my spouse drives it) and found it was 6,000 more than I’d put on the website. . He wasn’t particularly concerned but wanted to know what my “last price” was. I said that as the car had been on the market for less than an hour I wasn’t going to negotiate just yet!  I went back on the website, corrected the mileage and uploaded two photos of the car. One a standard long shot that was actually a little old but still quite representative of the model and colour. The second was a close up of a self inflicted scrape on the rear fender where I had inadvertently backed into the edge of a wall. During the remaining part of the evening I received a number of calls and texts. I had offers made that were 3~5000 less than the listed price and a couple of people who seemed genuinely interested in coming to see the car the next day. I turned the phone off at 11pm to put an end to the evening.  As far as I was concerned I wasn’t interested in offers from people who hadn’t even seen the car and certainly not with a chance to test the market at my stated price. My ad said to text during the day and call during the evenings.  I got a couple of texts during the next morning, and few calls that I couldn’t take, and a couple that I did. I had people calling from Sharjah, and Dubai which I thought was a little odd since it would be a long journey for them to come and survey the car from there and the Dubai market seemed much more dynamic. My earliest opportunity to show the car was at 4pm so I offered that time to some of the texters. When I returned home from work I picked up the car and drove around the corner to my nearby easy meeting point and found my interested party already there. He walked around the car and talked to me a bit and wanted to know my "last price". I said it was still very early days but I’d consider dropping by about a 1,000 since it was due for a 50k service. He said he wanted it. I practically forced him to take it for a test drive around the block first. He said he trusted me because I have been up front and posted the pictures of the damage, and he felt that this meant I’d be honest about other problems if there were any. Actually he is correct but I wouldn’t suggest anyone to rely on that logic too much in this market!  Result, a commitment to buy less than 24hours since I’d placed the ad online. I took the ad offline at 5pm.
 Next came the difficult part. My schedule is pretty tight and we soon discovered that there was no mutually possible time to do the ownership the next day, which was his only day off. That left doing it the same day. He would go home and get the cash, I would take a different progeny to a music lesson and we would meet up again at 7pm to do the deed. I warned him that according to the website he would need his passport, and perhaps employment certificate and that he would have to arrange insurance at the time. The car registration was only 4 months old so a new vehicle test would not be needed according to the website. At 7pm we began the process. First getting the insurance.  None of the companies who have offices on site were particularly known to us but he chose one and accepted their quote. They took his money and wrote up the paperwork. Into the main hall, we found the line for collecting queue tickets was rather large as the ticket issuer was on a break... Once we got that and eventually our turn came to register the transaction we discovered that the car actually did need to be retested. No amount of pointing to the website page which I had printed out would counteract that her computer said to do it again. So, we had to pay more money (120aed), and line up outside for the car to go through an inspection (exhaust, brakes, lights and undercarriage). It was getting quite late by this time so the line to do that was mercifully short. Then back inside again, pick up the new certificate and back into line for processing. Now the car had been bought under hire purchase (or mortgage as they like to refer to it here) and I was appropriately armed with the certificate of clearance from the bank to say it was paid off. At the time that I had received the document I had been annoyed that it had cost a large amount to have it couriered to me but I was glad to have it now. However, I was shocked to be asked to pay 200aed to have the document accepted by the system to register the release of the mortgage. More gouging was my inner thought! Still it was done, a text arrived instantaneously on my phone to say the car was no longer mine. Outside, in the car, he offered to drop me back home, but made me drive! 9pm I was back at my house minus one car.
Next task was to de-register the Salk tag, and get a refund on the insurance. I had removed the Salik tag from the windscreen and I phoned the call centre to get them to deal with it. However, they told me I had to email them all the details because I was from Abu Dhabi! Two days later I got a text to confirm the de-registration was complete.  At the time of the change of ownership I was given an insurance release certificate so that I could get my remaining insurance refunded. Actually that will end up being credited to our next policy as we want to stay with them to ensure easy receipt of the no claims  status.
In the end the documents required were
  • Seller’s drivers license
  • Buyer’s drivers license
  • Car registration certificate
  • Fresh vehicle certificate
  • Buyer’s vehicle insurance policy
  • & Mortgage clearance certificate if been on hire-purchase

Documents that were suggested as necessary but not actually needed were
  • Employment certificate
  • Passport

In the past a No Objection certificate has also been required but that seems to have faded completely.
Now, all of that happened quickly but purchase of the new car is taking longer. But that is another story entirely :-)


  1. Thanks for sharing selling car info in dubai, nice post regarding dubai

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. i sold a card but the buyer not given me the money and car in his possesion,what i do now?car still on my name

    1. You need to go to the police and report it. If you haven't changed the registration then you will be liable for speeding fines and other tickets.