The Biggest Car Scams

There are numerous scams involving buying and selling vehicles and the most common online are:-

Bait and Switch – An advertiser promotes one vehicle but when you go to see it – there is a problem. That vehicle is not available for some reason but the dealer has lots of other vehicles to show you. This is called bait and switch and you should walk away as dealers who practice this are likely to only provide bad deals.

Attrition – the dealer or seller will delay and delay and delay in the hope of wearing you down until you agree to a poor deal for any vehicle.

Leasing Deals – More people than ever are switching to lease deals as they can provide peace of mind and can be financially advantageous. However, you must read all of the details very carefully and not end up trapped in a long term deal that you cannot break. Also, many adverts for lease deals appear very cheap but  they are for  unreasonably small mileage and that is kept hidden from you till you are ready to sign.

Second Hand Cars – These can be great deals but unless you know about cars you may want to take out an AA inspection or equivalent by an expert to show exactly what you’re buying.

Craigslist – A very popular place for buying and selling cars. Fake postings are very common. Watch for unrealistically low prices and take those as a warning.  Buyers with stolen cheques or long stories of why they cannot view the car in person but can you ship it to them are commonplace. Anything out of the ordinary in dealings on Craigslist should make you think carefully before proceeding. Craigslist does have pages of warnings on its website if you want further details about the typical scams to watch out for.

Scammers on Craigslist also use the over payment scam whereby they send you a cheque for a much higher price than you asked then contact you with an emergency request that they made a mistake on the payment and can you return the over payment. This is a bad idea as given time, the scammers cheque would bounce leaving you out of pocket from the cheque plus the amount you repaid to the scammer.

Warning Signs

  • Cars are priced far below current market value.
  • The seller claims to be in the military and is stationed overseas.
  • The posting does not include a phone number.
  • The seller demands that you use an online escrow service of their choice (these are always meaningless).
  • Payment must be wired to or from another country. Western Union is often requested.
  • The buyer or seller is very anxious to conclude the transaction.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email

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