Tired of driving around the same old, battered car? Does your family refuse to sit in it? Then it is probably time to get rid of the thing, and the best way to do it is to sell it to a car buying company. But with so many of them out there, it can be difficult to escape scammers and avoid getting conned.
So, it would be wise to learn how to spot genuine car buying companies from fake ones using our simple guide list.
The company doesn’t want to see the car first
If a company is willing to buy the car without even checking it out first, it may be that they’re not interested in buying your car. Instead, they want to scam you out of it. The fact that someone is offering to buy an unseen vehicle is a big sign that something is fishy. They will end up taking your car without paying a penny for it.
Notice the payment method
If a company offers you a cheque or money order, it is most probably a scam. Once you’ve signed over your car and go to the bank to get the payment, you may find that the cheque will bounce or the money order will not be authentic. Not all cheques turn out to be scams but they are commonly used as a tactic, so it is best to be cautious.
As a general rule, never give away something before the payment has been cleared. For example, if they offer to pay you in monthly installments, you might get paid for the first few months, but then they’ll stop, and you’ll have no way of getting back the rest of your money or the car.
Shipping the vehicle
Not only is sending a car to another location a long and complicated process, but it also increases the risk of something going wrong. In the worst case scenario, you may end up losing your car and money.
A company might offer you additional cash to cover shipping costs and send you a cheque which may turn out to be bad once you’ve shipped the car. If they ask you to ship your car to another country, it can be quite an expensive and tedious process to find it and bring it back.
Involving a third party
Involving a third party may make it seem like a safe transaction, but usually, they are also in on the scam. The company will use an escrow account to transfer the money, but after you’ve given the car, the money won’t be available for some reason. That is because an illegal escrow account was used.
Sometimes they might ask for the car themselves but promise payment from someone else who owes them money. Needless to say, either that person will disappear, or he never existed in the first place.
Sharing Personal Information
Many companies are not in the business of buying cars. Instead, they deal in personal information. They might use the car dealership as a front to obtain your information like social security numbers, credit card information, bank account details, etc., and then sell it to other parties who may be involved in identity thefts. So, when you’re handing over your documents, erase sensitive information which may be misused.
Hidden charges and false claims
Often fake car buying companies quote you one price but end up paying a lot less. They usually deduct this amount as “service charges” after a transaction is complete.
They may also point out a lot of faults in your car to bring its value down. So, it is a good idea to visit multiple dealers and get a number of valuations, so you have a good idea of what your car is worth.
Fake companies might also claim to buy all kinds of cars and pay the best price, but more often than not, they will refuse to buy your car without plausible reasons if they don’t like it.
Everyone wants the highest price possible when they are selling their car, but this eagerness may make it easier to get conned. Companies that seem authentic may turn out to be frauds. To save yourself from that trouble, keep these safety precautions in mind:
- Ask to meet your buyer in a public place. Scammers usually hide behind fake profiles and phones. If they are genuine buyers, they won’t mind meeting and discussing in person.
- Always clarify your payment details beforehand and don’t compromise on them even if you’re offered a higher price.
- Ask for their learning license before meeting up or offering a test drive. Frauds and criminals will hesitate to share such details lest they might be used against them.
Most importantly, trust your gut feeling. If you feel something shady is going on, stay away. Better to be safe than sorry. Keep all these guidelines and precautions in mind, and you’re good to go!