Beware of These 4 Deals That Look Too Good To Be True
Car buyers spend up to 59% of their time online researching into different options (as reported by Autotrader), indicating the important role that the Internet has in this type of transaction. One of the biggest reasons is the ability to search for different types of information (different models, prices, vehicle safety features) without feeling like a car dealer is swaying you in one direction.
A 2016 Beepi Consumer Automotive Index poll showed that 87% of Americans dislike at least one aspect of buying vehicles at dealership, with 61% feeling like they’re being taken advantage of. While it’s true that dealers can have ulterior motives for pushing specific cars (e.g. a higher commission or the need to hit specific sales targets for the month), online sellers can also have their own agenda, and this can affect the deal you are getting.
Watch out for these car scams in particular, and boost your chances of a secure purchase.
1. Validate the Payment Form
It is indeed possible great to obtain great deals on a classic or second-hand car you have been eyeing, but when doing so, try to go for deals that are truly one-of-a-kind. Find out the car’s mileage and its history, and if possible, why it is being sold.
Car restoration is a popular hobby at the moment, yet many of those who dedicate time to bringing a classic car back to life do not necessarily want to keep the car – above all, because they have run out of garage space or simply because they wish to sell the car to start all over again with another car. Avoid online ads that sell any vehicle (new or old) that seem ‘to good to be true.’ Also, look into the payment form.
The seller should ask for a traceable form of payment, such as a standard bank transfer. Avoid sellers that ask you to pay via wire or transfer, or via other means that cannot identify them. When buying a car online, always ask to meet the seller beforehand. This will enable you to make an inspection, test-drive the car, and even request an independent inspection before parting with your dollar.
2. Spot the False Guarantees
Scam sellers sometimes post cars for sale, stating that payment is guaranteed to be safe by organizations like Paypal or Craigslist. In fact, these institutions do not guarantee that all parties to their site are legitimate. The only guarantee that counts is one offered by the official manufacturer or trusted car dealer with a reputation for due delivery.
Indeed, the boom in online forums and reviews means that it is very easy to see whether or not a used car sales company is legit. The issue is tougher when sellers are individuals, but you can also use social media and other amateur ‘detective’ research skills to see if the seller is who they claim to be.
3. Check the Escrow Service
One tactic that professional scammers can use is that of alleging that all monies can be deposited with an escrow agency until both parties are satisfied that the conditions of the purchase have been met.
The scam lies in inventing the escrow service and getting buyers to send funds to the scammers themselves. Once the money is sent, the sellers radically cuts contact with the buyer, and the latter never receives the actual goods they paid for.
4. Used Car Dealers Posing As Private Sellers
If you are buying a used car, one tip is to buy it from a dealer that also sells new cars from the same manufacturer. Sometimes, used car dealers can mask themselves as private sellers so as to skirt their way around regulations. You may not be able to obtain the assistance you need if something goes wrong because this type of dealer may disappear or become completely uncontactable.
In addition to taking the precautions mentioned, buyers should also beware in general of anyone trying to pressure them into a sale. Scammers will sometimes make buyers feel like the deal being offered is so good that buyers need to ‘act now or lose the deal of a lifetime.’ A vehicle is one of the major investments consumers make, and any transactions involving thousands of dollars should be taken calmly, and above all, should involve personal inspection of the item.
Car Sale Scams: How To Report
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