Car buying scams revealed

Car buying scam

Buying and selling cars online has become an accepted norm in today’s tight times. Gumtree and eBay, amongst others, have made the online car buying process so much easier and more widespread.

As a result, car buying scams are rife. It is incredible how elaborate and down-right deceitful some of these scammers are.

Here at the Car Advice Centre, we are clamping down on these heartless scammers by making you all aware of the tricks they pull. Scroll through and read of some of the most common car buying scams around so you’re not caught out and left out-of-pocket.

1. ‘Don’t look at me, it’s with PayPal’

A very common scam is blaming a delayed payment on PayPal. A car buyer will claim the funds have not yet been released and can only be transferred once the car is transferred. Do not be tricked by this. Whatever you do, do not hand over your car keys until you have the cash in your hand or money registered in your bank account – obviously, the later is the safest form of transaction.

2. ‘You’ve been overpaid, sorry’

You might get a phone call from a buyer claiming that the cheque or bank transfer sent out ‘accidentally’ paid you too much. The scammer will then expect you to pay the difference, whilst your bank turns around to tell you the transfer never occurred or the cheque is from a fake company. You’ve just then lost your ‘refund’.

3. Stand and deliver scam

The stand and deliver scam is a old-school classic method car buyers get scammed. The idea is that you would go to meet the suspected car seller ready and waiting with the cash in pocket. Unknown to you, the buyer would threaten you and take off with your money and leave you without a car. Important tip: always bring someone along with you when you go to buy a car privately.

4. Dealing outside the site

Be extremely wary of car buyers asking for you to deal with them outside eBay, Gumtree or whatever site you first struck up conversation on. You never know their intentions.

5. Another buyer scam

You might go to buy your car when the seller informs you that their is another buyer, and to secure the car, you will need to leave a small deposit. Alarm bells should sound on this. It is very rare to ever be asked for a deposit on anything below £5,000. But to air on the side of caution, I would treat this with due suspicion.

Online Alternatives

An alternative to selling your car privately might be to use trusted car buyers online who have a reputation built on positive reviews and a registered business and VAT number in the UK. If you are unsure of any, make sure you get in touch and we’ll gladly investigate for you.

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