Don’t fall prey to scammers if you’re on the hunt for a used car. Unfortunately, there are always car dealers willing to lie or distort the truth to get your money.
Buying a used car has become the status quo for many families in light of increasing new car prices. It’s a pretty simple process when you buy from a reputable dealer. But buyer beware!
There are definitely scammers out there ready to do whatever it takes to make a sale. If you want to avoid a used car scam, we have some tips!
Here are some commonly used car dealer scams and how you can avoid them.
1. “Low Mileage” Used Car
This is a common phrase when you’re searching for a used car. Sadly, in many cases, they are lying.
How can you know? The average miles on a used car per year is around 12, 000 miles. If it’s much lower than that, chances are it’s a used car scam.
You can check by comparing the odometer mileage with what’s indicated on the car’s maintenance records. When the numbers don’t add up, it’s time to move on.
2. Underpriced and Eager to Sell
When it comes to cars, the old adage is true. If it seems too good to be true, it likely is.
Yes, you can get a good deal on a used car. But if a vehicle is priced far below what it’s worth on paper, there’s probably a problem with the car.
There may be underlying damage, and they want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Look for a car that’s priced within a reasonable range of the car’s value when you’re ready to buy.
3. Comes “As Is”
Don’t make the mistake of buying a vehicle that’s for sale “as is.” This is a way for a car dealer to deny knowledge of the true state of the car.
They may be trying to avoid legal paperwork or hide previous damage. If you encounter this, run the VIN online, make sure the title and registration match, and take a photo of the seller’s ID.
You want to be sure you’re not buying a stolen vehicle. Don’t get scammed by a car dealer. If it seems suspicious, trust your instincts and look for another car.
4. Title Washing
When a vehicle is damaged by a fire, flood, or crash and is rebuilt to drive, it is given a salvage title. This lets you know the truth before you decide to purchase it.
Flood-damaged cars are risky purchases. Flood water brings in debris that seeps into every crevice of the vehicle.
A flood-ravaged car may run for a while, but damaged components won’t last for long. It’s a similar scenario with a fire-damaged car.
Scammers conceal this information by registering the car in a different state. DMVs don’t know, and they treat it like a regular title. Essentially, they “title wash’ it.
Avoid this scam by researching the vehicle’s history and checking the Carfax report and title history. If you sense a potential scam, walk away.
Fight Back Against Car Dealer Scams
Buying a used car should be a positive experience. You expect a fair price and to get what you pay for.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of dishonest individuals ready to take your money and sell you a lemon. If you buy a car and have nothing but trouble with it, you have rights.
If you fall victim to any car dealer scams, it’s in your best interest to contact a lemon law lawyer. Jonathan D. Schwartz has over 20 years of experience fighting for clients just like you.