16 Red Flags You’re About to Fall for a Terrible Car Deal
Learn the warning signs that should make you slam on the brakes before you make that big purchase.
They want you to use a specific online escrow company
“This is a scam online shoppers need to be aware of: The scammer will target an unsuspecting online shopper who is looking for a car at a bargain price. They’ll use a popular site like Cars.com or Craigslist. The car ad will include several photos and a link to the car’s history report showing that the car is in good condition and includes a clean title. The fake car ads are using information that they’ve cloned from legitimate listings. The scammer includes an email address for inquiries, but no telephone number.
The victim emails asking for more details on the vehicle. The scammer replies and says that they are, for example, a pilot preparing to relocate and that they’re forced to sell the car, which is why you’re getting such an amazing deal. They explain that the car purchase is a simple process which includes you wiring the money to an escrow company which will then retain the money until you’re in receipt of the vehicle. They send the victim a link to the website of the escrow company. Again, the escrow sites have been cloned [they’re fake]. They even include a vehicle purchase protection program that states that once the buyer receives the car, should they decide it wasn’t what they wanted, they can receive a full refund.” —Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer, BeenVerified
The deal is too good to be true
“There are several warning signs you should watch for when entering into a deal for a car. If the seller is too pushy, then they may be trying to take advantage of you. You should be able to see the car and inspect under the hood, inside the vehicle, etc. If the seller rushes you or says you can’t look at part of the car, then you should be wary of the deal. You should also be careful when a deal sounds too good to be true. If the seller is only talking about the positives of the vehicle and make an outrageously low offer, then something is wrong. The purchase price should be similar to what other similar cars are selling for in your area. If anything sounds or feels off about a car deal, you should probably avoid it. Don’t risk your safety or that of those you love. ” —Jared Staver, Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Be aware of these ways that you’re wasting money on your car.
The title record is not clean
“When you request vehicle records, review the title. Insurance claims on flood-damaged vehicles result in a transfer of the title record to salvage or junk. This change occurs anytime a vehicle is considered totaled by the insurance company for any reason. Totaled vehicles can still be fully operational and appear to have little if any damage from the outside. The term ‘totaled’ occurs when the cost to repair the car exceeds the value of the vehicle.” —Justin Lavelle is the Chief Communications Officer for BeenVerified. Buying a car online? Here’s what you need to know.
There is no title
“Always make sure that you are shopping cars with published vehicle identification numbers. Each car has its own unique VIN, which allows you to check ownership, accidents, and conditions of the car. And if buying from a private seller, ask to see the title in order to verify ownership. If there is no title to show, this may not be a legitimate sale.” —Valerie Coleman, 5miles, a buying and selling app.
The seller doesn’t want you to “waste your money”
“If the seller discourages you from having an independent garage check out the car, or speaks negatively about companies that provide vehicle history reports, be very wary.”—Roslyn Lash, RoslynLash.com.
There’s stuff you can’t see
“Cars can look great and still have major mechanical issues. Arrange to have a mechanic who you trust look at the car to give you insight into the overall condition of it. (Note: Underlying issues may not be found by a novice during a simple test drive.) If the seller refuses this request, walk away from the car.” —Valerie Coleman, a longtime car expert at 5miles. Now, check out some ways you’re completely wasting money on your car.