Used Car Scams – What to Avoid

Every day of every week, millions of us make purchases that are simple, straightforward and unlikely to cause any surprises. Whether we’re buying groceries, clothing, event tickets or domestic services, transactions are exceptionally easy. Every once in a while, however, we have to buy something a little less run of the mill, and that’s when things can get complex.

Some people love the whole process of finding and purchasing a motor car, while others find it rather stressful. One thing that applies to everyone, however, is the fact that the path to a successful transaction can be littered with potential potholes. To put it simply, there are a few unscrupulous individuals who are determined to get you to part with your money.

The many car scams that are used by the criminal fraternity range from the staggeringly simple to the ingeniously convoluted. One of the most basic involves persuading buyers to transfer money electronically, either as a deposit or a full payment, for a car that doesn’’t even exist. By the time the victim discovers the ruse, the perpetrator and the cash are long gone.


Another common scam occurs when a vendor sells a vehicle that appears to be completely legitimate, but later turns out to be anything but. It could have been previously written off, for example, or it may even be two halves of separate cars crudely welded together. If the car has outstanding finance on it, the new buyer could even end up losing the car altogether.

When buying from a used car dealership, the more native purchaser could be forgiven for thinking nothing could possibly go wrong. There are dealers, however, who will try anything to get customers onto their forecourts. Tactics can include advertising a car at a bargain price, then telling visitors that it had only just been sold to someone else.

Beware of clocking

Illegal adjustments to milometers, a practice known as clocking, is still relatively common, despite the threat of court action. In addition to this, some of the less reputable dealers are happy to sell cars that require expensive repairs without, of course, making the purchaser aware of such a situation.

Buyers should make sure they never deal with someone they feel they can’t trust. If a car’s price appears to be too good to be true then it’s probably exactly that. It’s not sensible to part with any money up front if a buyer is suspicious in any way, and they should certainly never send money electronically without seeing the car first and feeling safe about the transaction.

The safest option is to use a reputable online platform such as the Parkers website. Purchasers can buy with confidence knowing they are using a site that is a founding member of the Vehicle Safe Trading Advisory Group (VSTAG), a forum that is dedicated to ensuring car purchases are safe and secure for all concerned.

Whether you’re looking for a sporty little number to get you noticed or a family saloon that will get you and yours to where you want to go, you should be able to enjoy the purchasing process. As long as you are sensible and you avoid the more obvious scams, you can do just that.

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