Red flags for online used car shopping -

Red flags for online used car shopping

Sep. 7, 2017, 01:34 pm.

Some people consider the internet one of the best inventions created because it has revolutionized the way we think, the way we interact, the way we search, and the way we conduct different types of transactions.

From blogs to e-commerce websites and portals, it contains trillions of valuable data that anybody can use to make the best decisions. But if you’re not careful and you don’t know how to use the resources you have, you can end up broke because of all the opportunists that are out there right now. So, it’s important that you find out which clues should set off the scam alarm, especially when you’re buying expensive things like cars. Here are a few things to remember before you hit that “buy now” and purchase a vehicle.

Steer Clear From too Much Repair

When there’s been too much things done to the car just before a sale, this should cause a spark of doubt in your head. It’s not likely that a seller would have a car repair done just before the sale if it was running in good condition. While some car owners do that, it’s not very common. So, watch out for recent repairs. If the repairs seem too complex or have high fees attached to them, it may be because the car was too beaten up to function properly. This may also be the reason why the car’s being sold. The owner may not be able to keep up with the repair expenses anymore.

If it has a Low Price, Think Twice

Going online offers you the ability to look for a good bargain. So, you might jump for joy when you finally find the lowest price for the exact make and model you wanted. But be extremely cautious of how low the seller set the price. Sometimes this can be used to attract unsuspecting buyers. They will then mention several things to justify the cost such as not needing the vehicle anymore. While this can be a valid reason, most scammers use this excuse to sell an under-performing car. So, it’s important that you do a thorough inspection of the car.

Expect to Inspect

As a buyer, it should be your primary priority to make a pre-purchase inspection. If, for some reason, the seller comes up with too many excuses when you ask to see the car, they may not be who they say they are or they may not be selling exactly what they say they’re selling. Sellers build on trust. If they can’t be trusted to let you test out the car, then they can't be trusted to actually sell you the car. If you do manage to set an appointment to inspect the car, make sure to not go alone. Con artists can also use this scenario as a way to trap prospective victims. Besides, the more people you bring, the more perspective you get. You’re less likely to miss any important detail when doing your inspection.

Let the Duration of the Ad Add up

It is hard selling a used car online sometimes because of where they make ads visible and how they market it. But if an ad has been up for more than two months, this should be a cause of concern. In a span of one to two months, multiple potential buyers would have already done their inspections. If the ad is still up, then that means these people didn’t buy it for a good reason. This should be enough to make you take a step back and re-evaluate whether it’s going to be a good deal or not. If the ad’s been up for six months, it may be best for you to move on to the next seller or car. Besides, a lot of things can happen in a span of months. The ad may not entirely be accurate as well, if it’s been up for too long.

Tall Tales and Title

Simply put, if the car isn’t under the person’s name, then the person cannot sell it. If you still think you can get away with it and purchase the car, you risk the real owner repossessing it and your money just going down the drain. If the seller can’t even produce the title, then that should be a clear red flag. Trusted sellers should be able to produce proper documentation at a whim.

Do a Background Check

Most online selling sites now offer the ability to put up an avatar or a profile photo. Some sellers choose to place their own photo and some choose to place the logo of their shop instead. If they do the former, then a reverse image search in Google should reveal quite a few things about them. If they did the latter, you can just do a quick search about their shop. Look to see if there’s any physical location you can match up with the ad. Knowing who is selling the car is just as important as knowing what they’re selling.

So, the next time you feel like letting your impulses take over, try and slow it down just enough for you to be able to discern whether you’re making the best purchase of the year or simply being scammed into making the worst.

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