In many ways, it pays to buy used. However, when buying a used car from a private seller there are important things to remember. The most important is knowing how to avoid dishonest vendors.
Vehicle Not Always What It Seems To Be
Some used car scam artists will find junk cars and fix them up just enough to look good. Then they sell these vehicles as if they have no problems. Typically the odometer gets rolled back as well. A vehicle history report can spot these tactics by giving you recent odometer readings to verify the mileage.
Make your used car buying safer. Get a vehicle history report from a CARCHEX partner today.
Vendor Not Always What They Seem To Be
There are lots of online car marketplaces where people go to sell their cars. Sometimes it might seem like the seller is private, but this might just be an act. Some unscrupulous used car sellers will set up accounts making them look like private vendors – but in reality they are out to steal your money.
These shady characters will even agree to meet you at their “home” to show you the vehicle. In reality, it’s not their residence at all. Instead, they find a house where the owners are away and only show the car out front. Again, many times it’s a junk car looking for an unsuspecting buyer.
Price Too Good To Be True
If you find a used car way out of the normal price range, be careful. This is a tactic that scammers use to trap you. They often pitch you a sob story like the need to get rid of the car fast to pay for medical bills.
Down Payment Scams
If you are asked to make a bank deposit or down payment to “hold” the vehicle for you, then look elsewhere. The day you pay for the car is the day you get the car. Sometimes you can agree to deposit the payment into an escrow account, but make sure it is set up and verified by both parties. This way you can track down the seller if any problems arise.
Check The Phone Number
When you go shopping, search the Internet for the seller’s phone number. If the number appears in listings for other used cars for sale, then this is not a private seller. Also when you call, be vague and say that you are calling about the car for sale. Don’t mention the car make or model. If they need to ask you “which car?” that means they have more than one for sale.
This might sound obvious, but a thorough test drive will reveal a lot. If for any reason the seller refuses a test drive, then they are probably hiding something. If they even refuse to test drive with you as a passenger, then look for another car.
Vehicle History Report
You can save yourself from these kinds of scams with a vehicle history report. These reports tell you about the car’s past including damage, service, mileage and type of usage.