How to write a receipt when selling your car

Why a simple piece of paper could protect you from big trouble when buying or selling a second-hand car

We all probably get – and throw away – several receipts every day.

While businesses must provide (or make available) a receipt to a customer, it’s not as common when buying something from somebody else in a private sale, such as a second-hand car – although it is equally as important.

So, here are some handy hints for both sellers and buyers alike on why a receipt should be part of any transaction when buying a second-hand car, and what you need to know to write one.

Please note, this article provides general information only and does not constitute legal advice. carsales is not involved in the monetary transaction between the buyer and the seller of a vehicle.


What is a receipt?

A receipt is a form of acknowledgement that a financial transaction has occurred between two parties when transferring ownership or paying a deposit on a vehicle.

This is a common practice when purchasing a vehicle through an authorised dealership or from a business. However, it does not always occur in a private sale of a second-hand car.


Why you should always ask for a receipt

Requesting a receipt for any transaction – whether it is a deposit or full payment on a second-hand vehicle – provides written confirmation for both parties that the transaction has successfully occurred.

A receipt will help to ensure that both parties have verification of the transaction; it helps prevent any misunderstandings that may potentially occur after the vehicle’s sale or the payment of a deposit.


Why do you need a receipt for a deposit?

A deposit is a part payment provided to the owner of a vehicle that indicates the buyer intends to purchase the vehicle.

Any terms and conditions on paying a deposit should be clearly outlined by the buyer and seller in writing before the buyer pays the seller a deposit. See our article, How do I pay for a used car? for more information.

It’s important to have a receipt for the payment of a deposit because it provides both parties with written confirmation of the exchange of money.

This will help to prevent any misunderstandings if there is a disagreement further down the line when either completing the purchase of the vehicle or refunding the deposit if the parties don’t go through with the sale.


How to write a receipt

Writing a receipt is simple. It can be as basic as a hand-written or typed letter on plain paper and should include important details such as the names of both parties, the agreed amount paid, information on the vehicle such as make, model, VIN or registration number and year, and the date of the transaction.

Please note that if a party to a transaction is a business or sole trader, there may be additional requirements for what needs to be included on the receipt.


Disclaimer: This article contains general information only and does not constitute legal advice.

Any information on this page is provided as a guide only. It is not professional or expert advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The content may not be appropriate, correct or sufficient for your circumstances and should not be relied on as the only reason you do or don’t do anything.
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