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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Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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