Car Buying Scam

Published on 10 February 2014

Car Buying Scams To Be Aware Of

In today's economy it is nice to find charming, pleasant people selling cars as private venders. However, these charming people appearing to be your best mates might just be scammers. According to Neil Briscoe of The Irish Times, "With car sales in Ireland struggling to get over the 17,000 mark (an 18 per cent drop on the previous, also dismal, January), the market for pre-owned cars is relatively roaring ahead." There are many mechanics and checks you should follow in order to safely buy a car from a private vender or dealer. Many people do not know the ends and outs of buying a car, how to find the value of a used car, how to scout dealerships, what types of scams are out there, and how to recognize them. Below is a comprehensive list of tips and tricks to help you find the best bargain available.

Buying a Dealer Car

In order to find the best bargain, you must determine what you can afford. There's a big difference in a £3,000 car and a £20,000 car. If buying from a dealer, you want to calculate the highest monthly payment you can afford. Then, you want to determine the tax that will be required. Remember not to go above your budget. If you know you have £325 coming out of your account each month from the letting agents, and you may or may not be a tenner short for your car payment-look for a more affordable vehicle.

New Car Checks

Check for any voucher, rebates or incentives specific to the car. For instance, there is no tax on Electric Cars, so the incentive may be higher than one that runs on petrol. Finally, solicit quotes from 3 to 5 different dealers in order to determine the best price. Here, you can ask different dealers to beat competitor's prices and attempt to grab a better bargain. After you have settled on a price, request the dealer send you paperwork that lists the figures: price, options, tax, any number plate/vehicle registration fees, and so forth. Here, you may be more inclined to look for a used car, seeing that dealers can be expensive and finance may not be an option.

Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car can sometimes be easier than financing. According to The Irish Times, of all the cars that changed hands in January 2013, "73 per cent were purchased from private vendors." When buying a used car, search for a car and price range that is within your budget. Be sure to get the black book value of the vehicle, or a car valuation, in order to make sure you are not paying too much, or the bargain isn't too good to be true. This is where scams come into play. The amount of scams in buying used cars is on the rise. So many, in fact, that it is getting to the point that you may not be able to identify them.

Used Car Checks

Below is a list of checks implemented by the government to help you in purchasing a used car:

A) Before you see the vehicle

Ask the seller for the registration number, make and model, tax disc details and MOT test number.
Use DVLA's online vehicle enquiry service to check that the details you've been given match their records.
Check that the vehicle's MOT is up to date, and the MOT history matches the details you've been given.
B) When you go to see the vehicle

Ask the seller to show you the V5C vehicle registration certificate (known as the 'log book'). Make sure it has a 'DVL' watermark, and the serial number isn't in the range between BG8229501 to BG9999030, or BI2305501 to BI2800000. If it is, the V5C might be stolen - contact the police as soon as it's safe to do so.
Make sure the details in the log book match the details you've been given.
Check the vehicle identification number and engine number. Make sure these match the details on the log book.

With any bargain, it if is too good to be true-it probably is. There are so many scams, a keen eye is a must when buying any used car. Here are a few scams to be aware of:

Clocking Scams
This is when the seller actually changes the mileage of the car to appear to be lower than it actually is. Considering the MOT alone, this is very dangerous for anyone inside the vehicle.

Conmen Brokers
This is when the conmen enable a third party that appears to be a broker or agent to hold your money until the deal goes through.

Internet Scams
These scams are most popular and request Western Union Transfers. Never buy a car online unless it is through Pay Pal. EBay, Craigslist and so on will never ask for Western Union. This is most definitely a scam. These scams are also the too good to be true type. For instance, a person moved to Spain and is selling their Porsche in London for £2,000, because they need to get rid of it and cannot drive it in Spain. These international scams come with a lot of excuses, changing of monies with banks, and then come with additional excuses of why you can't use a bank to transfer the money. Next thing you know, you're eating pot noodle because you're in the negative.

In conclusion, simply be aware of anyone with lengthy emails that seem like a load of rubbish--it probably is. Sadly, today we live in a world where scams exist and are much easier, because they mainly happen through electronic communication. Buying a car is easy. Buying one and getting a bargain is easy, as well. You just have to keep your wit about you, read up on the latest scams, and determine what type of car is in your budget. Staying informed on everything from price, checks and scams is the best way to safely buy a new or used car.

Authored by Carol Waterson