3 car selling scam horror stories

by carVertical
October 24, 2021
by carVertical
October 24, 2021

To begin with, the car business is a dirty business. Buying a used car is always tricky. Though used-car sellers also should be aware of scams. Sit and listen to three horror stories before selling your vehicle.

Price knockout

The fraudster will come to inspect your vehicle and may bring an expert together. Probably he’s no expert at all and most likely is a buyer’s partner in crime. All this show is for one goal only – undervalue the car and make you think the price you’re asking for isn’t realistic. They will argue that your car needs fixing and then reap the benefits even the next day. 

You can have the car inspected beforehand for peace of mind. But the world isn’t a perfect place, and that’s ok if you haven’t taken the step. Least what you can do when faced with fraudsters is to take a carVertical history report for your car. It will include the market price for this particular model and state common issues. This will be a wake-up call to ditch this deal for good. Worst that could happen – you’ll have a free report for a genuine buyer. 

Invisible buyer

Would you buy a car without seeing it first? Of course not. It’s common sense but, that’s a classical beginning for a buying scam. Usually, this buyer is in another state or country. Maybe he’s in a hurry, and your car somehow is a last-minute change. Fraudsters sound believable because they legitimately show interest in the vehicle’s condition, mileage, and any other details that are important to every other buyer.

After many excuses for the inability to see the car in person, the fraudster will try to buy and pay for your vehicle using online payment methods. After a brief conversation, you’ll receive a fake receipt masked as a genuine email from the online payment company. The scammer will ask you to ship the car or even organise picking up. This often can take an unexpected twist. An extra quid for shipping services now accompanies the fake receipt. Email “from PayPal” says that money is pending, and it will be transferred as soon as you pay the shipping company. Once you send it off via Western Union or PayPal, everything goes quiet. And that’s it, at least you still have your car.

The takeaway is simple – be wary when someone is ready to buy your vehicle without seeing it. And don’t consider the deal is closed before money gets to your bank account. Better safe than sorry.

The Alchemist

The last one takes some cold-blooded acting skills and basic chemical knowledge. The result is colossal – the seller is left ripped off without noticing the scam. Usually, a buyer comes with a chatty friend. One goes for a short test ride, and the other stays with a seller for a chit chat. When not in sight, scammers pour some Sea Foam into a tank or intake air filter. Actually, this stuff is healthy for the engine and cleans all build up carbon deposits inside the cylinders. However, this results in a thick white exhaust cloud that, to the unsuspicious eye, may seem like a blown head gasket. After a brief show, the scammers out of pure generosity offer a lower price. Clearly, no one wants to get deep in this mechanical conundrum and often accepts it as a misfortune. 

There should be a big fat NEVER on your rule of conduct when it comes to giving car keys to strangers. Always insist on going together for a test drive, arguing that you can provide some information. If the buyer disagrees and finds an excuse right away, just ditch this deal.