Tips to Avoid a Used Car Scam
Purchasing a new vehicle can be both very exciting and very stressful. This is especially true when you are buying a used car since you don’t know its full history. You want to know exactly what you are spending money on. Unfortunately, this whole process becomes harder and more stressful when you remember that not all car sellers are honest. No matter if you are working with a private seller or a dealership, you are still at risk of getting scammed. The best way to protect yourself against rip-offs is to research and learn everything you can about used cars and common scams. Keep reading to learn a little about the most common used car scams and ways you can avoid them.
Most Common Used Car Buying Scams
One of the most common used car buying scams is called title washing. This is a process that essentially removes a salvaged vehicle’s “salvaged” status. Usually, vehicles with this status have sustained serious damage from car crashes or natural disasters. Not all salvaged cars are bad; however, if the seller is trying to remove that status, they are trying to hide the extent of the damage the car underwent.
Odometer fraud is another scam to watch out for. This happens when someone tampers with the used vehicle’s odometer to make to look like it has lower mileage than it actually does. This can happen with both manual and digital odometers. If possible, ask for past maintenance records and try to match the recorded odometer reading to the current one.
Curbstoning scams happen when a dealership tries to pose as a private seller in order to work around state and national regulations for selling cars. They may advertise the car as if they are the owner themselves and then there is an entirely different name on the title. If you are buying from a private seller, be sure to check their driver’s license to ensure it matches the name on the title.
How to Look for Used Car Tampering
First of all, you should always trust your gut. If you are buying a used car and something just does not feel right, it is probably not. Aside from that, the best way to get proof of used car tampering is to order a vehicle history report. This report will provide you with crucial information about past ownership, accident history, faulty odometer settings, damage from a natural disaster, and whether the car was ever determined to be a lemon. If you notice anything fishy on the history report, it is best to continue your car search elsewhere.
Shopping at a Dealership
Perhaps the best way to avoid a scam is to shop at a trusted dealership. This is not to say that all dealerships are great, but they do have more rules and regulations that they must follow, which decreases your chances of getting scammed. And though shopping online is fine for clothing, when it comes to cars you really must see (and test drive) the car before you buy. This is especially important if you are looking for a specific car like a pre-owned BMW in Houston. Do some research to find a great dealer in your area.
Contact us at Bemer Motor Cars to see our full selection of available pre-owned cars.