Buying a Used Car – Avoid Auto Dealer Scams

Intended to buy a used car? I will help you avoid auto dealer scams and deceptions. As you have already noticed from the previous article on most common auto dealer scams, some auto dealers are eager to set traps for inexperienced buyers. Here are usual used car scams employed by many auto dealers.

  1. While buying a used car you are likely to be offered a vehicle the salvage title of which is not and will not be disclosed to you. Sometimes a vehicle is so hopelessly wrecked that the insurance company declares it a total loss. The title of the given car is then branded “salvage”. Most dishonest auto dealers will sell such cars declaring them to be certified i.e. they will sell the car without mentioning the title.
  2. This scam is a kind of a subtype of the scam #1. Here, the dealer is trying to sell a previously damaged car without notifying the buyer about the damage or wreck or previous accident.
  3. A similar example of used car dealer scam occurs when the dealer sells a lemon law buyback without informing the consumer of the car’s “previous life”. An honest dealer instead, would have informed the buyer about the car’s being repurchased because of its being a “lemon”.
  4. Another type of dealer deception involves odometer tampering. This is usually done to conceal the car’s actual mileage.

As you can see, the above mentioned four cases are rather similar. Thus, in order to avoid auto dealer scams like these, you should inspect the car closely. I have three types of car inspection to encourage you to perform. And it is more preferable to perform these three in combination with one another.

a)     Visual Inspection is necessary before even test driving the vehicle. Thus, you had better check:

  • the battery, the tires, the body
  • the condition of the windows, safety belts, and locks
  • all the lights and signals
  • under the mats and seats for damage
  • for any signs of rust

b)     The Buyer’s Guide is a useful tool which will give you sufficient information about the car and also provide with good pieces of advice.

c)     Get a Mechanic’s Inspection. You had better pay the professional for a pre-purchase inspection about $80 than risk and then be forced to lose for example $4000. Do not forget to ask the mechanic for a written note about the car’s condition.

Another scam you may come across while buying a used car is the warranty fraud. The dealer may sell the car as a private individual. In such a way he will avoid difficulties connected with the warranty and accordingly save money on your ignorance. The dealer is sure to ask you sign an “as is” agreement instead of giving a warranty. However, we strongly recommend requiring a warranty because in case the car appears to be a “lemon”, only a warranty can help you get your money back.

Thus, to avoid auto dealer scams in general, you should run your own pre-car-buying research and be extremely attentive.

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