I'm in pursuit of a used car. I came across this 2010 Camry for 4200 CAD. The car is good, I test drove it in the city and on the highway and there are no problems with it as far as I can tell. However, the seller is selling cash only. He doesn't accept e-transfer. The following are a couple text messages between me and him:

Text conversation

Other info: The seller has met with me in his workplace. So that's good. I told him that I want to get a CARFAX report, hence I need the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of the car. He gave the VIN. I didn't get a CARFAX but I'm assuming that if it had a lien on the car, he wouldn't have given it.

So what is it? It feels sketchy to me but I can't pinpoint if it's a scam or not.

  • 9
    You should summarize those text messages. Why are you referring to not-cash as cash? You're trying to pay with not-cash. Why don't you want to pay in cash in person?
    – quid
    Aug 15, 2019 at 1:02
  • 10
    What part of this do you think is a scam? In reading those messages the suspicious one is you, because you are complicating what should be a simple cash transaction.
    – quid
    Aug 15, 2019 at 1:05
  • 7
    Did Canada make cash transactions illegal? Canadian courts don't acknowledge cash transactions? carfax.ca/resource-centre/articles/…
    – quid
    Aug 15, 2019 at 1:10
  • 5
    @Utku "there is no way that I can go after the guy if I paid cash" Can't see it makes a difference. If, as you say about the E-Transfer "once it's in your account, it cannot get out.", it doesn't sound like there's a way of stopping the payment, so if something went wrong, in both cases you would have to sue the original owner, AFAICT.
    – TripeHound
    Aug 15, 2019 at 6:39
  • 7
    Congratulations! We regularly get "is this a scam" questions here. Yours is one of the very select few to which the answer is "no". Aug 15, 2019 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


This is almost certainly not a scam. This is the seller trying to avoid any chance of you scamming him, with for instance a fake transfer. While I don't know details of Canadian motor vehicle laws, in the US such a cash transaction would be the normal way to handle a sale between private parties where there's no outstanding vehicle loan.

FWIW, the only private party sale I've ever done that wasn't cash was a cashier's check for the price I hoped to bargain the seller down to, and cash for the difference between that and the price we eventually agreed on.

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