Is This a Car Sales Scam?

“Is this a car sales scam?” is one of the most common questions among car buyers who have found an unbelievably “great car deal” online. Buyers become suspicious since the price is “too good” and the payment and pickup arrangements seem a little tricky. Here’s how car selling scams work.

The seller usually has a picture of the car he/she claims to be selling for a low price. He/she will describe the car and its condition, and explain why the car is being sold so cheap. His/her story almost always involves some unusual personal situation e.g. a death of a relative or an unexpected financial difficulty which urges him/her to sell the car even at a low price, etc..

In the majority of car scam cases the seller claims to be out of the country or in the military, although his/her car is in the country somewhere and just needs to be shipped to the buyer.

The seller might claim that “eBay protection” with “eBay shipping” services will be used, and that the buyer’s money will be protected by using a third-party escrow or bank account for safe payment. The buyer will have some days for him/her to make a final decision on whether to keep the car or return it and get the money back.
This is a way for the scammer to get your money fast and disappear, since eBay has no such program or services for cars not sold through the eBay site and the escrow service or bank account is not legitimate. The fact is that there is no car at all.

Though this car scam is an old one, many people still fall victim to it. If you suspect that you have been in a similar situation as described above, please contact our CA law firm.

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