Practice. Sell ​​your car to an individual, beware of traps

To understand the bets of a sale between individuals, it is necessary to consult the Civil Code. Article 1641 of the Civil Code states that “The seller is obliged to guarantee the hidden defects of the thing sold that make it unfit for the use for which it is intended.”

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


If you sell your car, you must send a copy of the transfer document to your insurer if you want to cancel the insurance. Photo DR

Administrative procedures

Once you have convinced your buyer, do not neglect the important step of the necessary paperwork for the sale. In the sale of a car to an individual, the administrative costs fall on the seller. You will need to bring several essential documents:

The transfer declaration form (CERFA form no. 15776), completed and signed in duplicate by the seller and the buyer. You can find it on the internet, remember to print several copies before the sale to make sure you get the right error. Any deletion or correction is avoided.

The certificate of registration, better known as Carte grise. It should be scratched with a large feather line on the day of sale. We also indicate the date and time of the sale and sign.

The certificate of administrative status. Formerly called a non-pledge certificate, it is very important. Indeed, each vehicle can be the object of an opposition or a pledge. Obviously, an administrative situation that prevents the transfer of the vehicle to a third party. But that’s not all, each sale must be accompanied by a certificate of technical control.

After the sale, you have one last step. The change of ownership must be notified to the prefecture within fifteen days of the transfer. This procedure is done 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 transfer.

Illustration of car papers

Illustration of car papers

Technical control is mandatory

You must provide the buyer with an ITV proof. It doesn’t matter if the buyer asks you to or not: it’s mandatory. Above all, it could save you a lot of trouble.

Even in the case of “sell as is” (see below) check. First, you will be legal. Then, if there is a problem with the car after the purchase, in the absence of technical control, you will probably be held responsible.

The technical control, if you don’t see everything, still allows you to get a fairly accurate map of the condition of the vehicle. Even if the vehicle is old or damaged, an inspection will be done. The buyer cannot blame you for the problems listed in the report.

The sale in the state does not exist

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

“The Montpellier Court of Appeal recalled a judgment of December 9, 2020.” The mention “sale as such” does not have the legal consequences that it wants to be attributed to it. “

Obviously, this mention in the classified ad does not change the legal obligations of the seller. explains Maître Le Dall, a lawyer in car law.

Adobe Stock illustration

Adobe Stock illustration

We take care of the payment

This is the most delicate stage of the sale. No matter how much you trust the buyer, you need to be careful. France is one of the only countries that still uses checks.

Convenient for such a transaction, it is also terribly risky, between insufficient funds or stolen checkbook. Worse, the issuing bank could wait several days before refusing payment. Your car will be far away.

There are several alternatives. The bank check assures the seller of the payment of the sum. We will still have to verify 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 with complete security.

The seller pays the money in the app, the seller validates the sale in a few clicks and the money is paid. Banks have long been developing such processes. Ask your banker.

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