When buying a vehicle, it’s important to understand that there may be scams out there and to know the different ways that people use to fool you. The best way to avoid falling victim to a vehicle buying scam is to finance through a trustworthy and reputable dealer. Highway Motors offer all their used vehicles with 90day or 3000mile warranty. It is also important to look up reviews or ask a trusted friend who they would use to buy their car. But if you want to go through a private seller, you will need to know how to avoid different rip-offs.
Here are five common car buying scams to watch out for:
1. Air Conditioning System Issues – Also listed as “just needs Freon,” which really means “the air conditioner is broken.” Avoid vehicles with this type of description on the market. If you aren’t sure to what extent the air conditioning is damaged, and a broken A/C unit could mean a leak. 2. Title Washing – Private sellers who have a title brand such as salvage on their vehicle are required to disclose this to you as the buyer. Unfortunately, some of these sellers attempt to “wash” the title, this can be done by registering the vehicle in another state and misleading the DMV into assigning a regular title.
2. Title Washing – Private sellers who have a title brand such as salvage on their vehicle are required to disclose this to you as the buyer. Unfortunately, some of these sellers attempt to “wash” the title, this can be done by registering the vehicle in another state and misleading the DMV into assigning a regular title.
3. Altering the Odometer – This is when a seller alters the vehicle’s odometer, misrepresenting the correct mileage. Odometer fraud is illegal, but unfortunately, people have found ways to alter the mileage even with digital odometers. Although it can be intricate to find odometer fraud, the best way to combat this requires a careful look at the car’s history report and service records (CARFAX) as well as inspecting the vehicle in person. Look for any noticeable wear and tear on the brake pedal and steering wheel.
4. “Ran When Parked” – This is another way of the seller saying the vehicle was working when I parked it but no longer does. Instead of taking care the problem(s), many will try and sell it to someone privately to avoid the costs. Sellers may try this this by saying “X part needs to be replaced,” which should be another red flag.
5. Curbstoning – The last scam to keep an eye out for is curbstoning, which is something private sellers practice. Curbstoning is a practice used to quickly get rid of flawed vehicles. When a dealer curbstones, they in most cases pretending to be a private seller. A dead giveaway of curbstoning is when the title isn’t in the name of the seller of the A buyer may not know the exact details of the car, and the histories, so it’s imperative to make sure any seller is selling a vehicle they really owned.
When doing research, make sure to check online and in person for anything suspicious. Use the VIN (vehicle identification number) to check its history online for any salvage or junk titles, the how many owners, any major accidents, and additional information such as the last known actual mileage. When inspecting the car, ask the private seller for their ID to make sure the vehicle is owned by them.
Recognizing a car buying scam can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for during the car buying process.