5 Essential Things to Know About Car Scams

As if car buying isn't difficult enough, there are a variety of scams out there of which you need to be aware. From shiesty dealers to flat-out thieves, the following are five of the essential things to know about car scams.

Salesperson Exploitation

Car salespeople are notoriously unscrupulous, but keep in mind that they might take the information you provide and exploit it. For example, the amount you want for your trade-in is often added to the price of the new vehicle, they’ll use your desired monthly payment amount to sell a higher priced vehicle with a much longer term, or they may even tell you the vehicle you want isn’t available just to sell you a more expensive one. If you sense you're being exploited by the salesperson, just leave - you can find somewhere else to make your purchase.

Escrow Accounts

This car scam usually involves a vehicle that is way underpriced along with some kind of sob story. Then, the seller wants you to send money through MoneyGram or Western Union, claiming it is going to an escrow company. You’ll lose the money you send and never see the vehicle.

Curbstoning

Curbstoners are dealers who sell vehicles through classifieds or Craigslist while posing as actual owners. These cars have often been totaled, flooded or are in some way damaged to the point most dealers can’t or won’t sell them on the lot. Always get a vehicle history and ask to see the title and the seller’s license to protect yourself when purchasing in this manner.

Failing to Honor Auctions

This car scam involves dealers who list vehicles without including a reserve amount. Once you win the vehicle, the dealer will refuse the sale – usually because he or she didn’t get the amount desired. In some extreme cases, this scam goes even farther and the dealer accepts your payment without offering up the vehicle. Always do a thorough check on sellers before agreeing to purchase. You’re sure to find other bad deals with a bit of research.

Forcing Add-ons for Qualifying

Dealers may say you have to purchase add-ons like extended warranties or some type of coverage in order to secure the loan. This is usually couched in an excuse about you having bad credit. Just know that lenders never require additional purchases in order to qualify you.

There are numerous car scams out there, but these are some of the most common. Always make sure to contact YourMechanic for a pre-purchase car inspection to protect yourself and your investment.


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Chris

22 years of experience
2024 reviews
Chris
22 years of experience
Honda Pilot - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Laguna Niguel, California
got there on time. communicated great. did the pre-purchase inspection quickly informing us along the way. highly recommended.
Mercedes-Benz C320 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Laguna Niguel, California
Perfect expert inspection. Couldn't have asked for more. Chris did not let the dealer sweet talk or try to swindle his way out of mechanical issues. Loved it. Would recommend Chris 100%

Carlos

28 years of experience
404 reviews
Carlos
28 years of experience
Jaguar XJR - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Costa Mesa, California
Carlos was very professional good communication very detailed I couldn’t have asked for anything better
Jeep Wrangler - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - San Dimas, California
Carlos was great. On a pre-purchase car inspection he gave me a good summary of the pros and cons in easy-to-understand terms and was very helpful in giving me a balanced and intelligent overall view of the vehicle's condition.

Attila

19 years of experience
745 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Jaguar XE - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Springfield, New Jersey
unfortunately i could not view the car in person. But Attila made me trust and value his opinion not only thru his words but also his professionalism and service.
Toyota Avalon - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Midland Park, New Jersey
Atilla inspected the car and pointed out all the issues the car had, and why it was not worth purchasing.

Shawn

12 years of experience
163 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Dodge Ram 3500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Harleysville, Pennsylvania
Shawn was friendly, efficient and knowledgeable. He kept me informed as he went and did a satisfyingly thorough job. On top of that, he was fun to hang with! Would use him again, for sure.
Hyundai Elantra - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Chester Springs, Pennsylvania
I have put off buying a ‘new’ car because I’m not mechanical and couldn’t tell if I was throwing my money down the tubes. There was no more putting it off. Shawn was able to verify what I expected: the car in question has external issues but the engine, etc. was sound. The seller was impressed that he did not have to drive to a mechanic for a pre-sale inspection and appreciated the convenience. You have two new customers.

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