A car is one of the biggest purchases we have to make in our lives. Often we save for years to buy the model we really like. That is why it’s so frustrating when you end up losing money due to an internet fraud. However, the chance of a fraud doesn’t mean that you should give up the idea of buying the car you want – just use these tips and your purchase will go over smoothly!
1. Too good to be true
We all want to save money when buying a car, but the key here is to not go too far. If you come across an offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is. For example, you can’t expect a 2010 Mercedes-Benz sell for ?1,000,000, even if the seller claims that he’s moving out of the country and needs to make an urgent sale. If you’re not sure if the price is adequate, try searching for the cars with the same production year and conditions to see the average price.
2. Check the seller’s identity
When you’ve finally found a car listing that seems to be exactly what you’re looking for, make sure the seller is legitimate. The best way to do it is over the phone, because email conversations can be easily faked. While talking to the seller on the phone, try to establish whether the seller is really where he says he is and whether he truly owns the car. Ask some follow-up questions that can only be answered by a person who has access to the car.
3. Avoid advance payments
One of the biggest red flags when it comes to buying a used car is a seller asking for an advance payment. The seller can give different reasons – for example, he may need the money to take the car to you for viewing. Nevertheless, there is a huge chance that you won’t see both your money and the car once the payment is sent. If you’re really interested in the offer, you can travel to the seller’s location instead.
4. Meet the seller
When you reach the stage of arranging a meeting with the seller, you need to be even more careful. First, don’t take the money and any legal paperwork to the meeting – you can come back for it if you decide to buy the car and determine that the seller is legit. Second, it will be much safer if you can take someone with you to the meeting. Third, try to arrange the meeting in broad daylight in some popular location, and not in some deserted parking lot.
5. Inspect the car
There are many frauds that involve the car itself. The most common one is the odometer fraud, when the seller attempts to make it look like the car has lower mileage by tampering with the car’s odometer. Both new and older cars are susceptible to this fraud, so if you suspect that the mileage seems unrealistic given the car’s age or condition, it has likely been tampered with.