Car buying scams happen all the time. In many cases, it is really difficult to get your money back if you make an investment in buying a vehicle and the seller turns out to be a scam artist. You want to watch for red flags and find problems before the unscrupulous dealer has your money so you can better avoid financial loss.
If you do get a car and it turns out to have problems, you should also be aware of the consumer protection laws that can help you to find relief. For example, a Sacramento lemon law firm can assist you in determining if you could have a claim under rules protecting car buyers from damages.
If you want to avoid the hassle of spending your money on a car that is nothing but problems, there are a few key red flags to watch out for during the vehicle purchasing process.
Eight Steps to Avoid Common Car Buying Scams
ABC 15 recently published a list of eight different things that car shoppers should be aware of in order to avoid common car-buying scams. The eight things ABC 15 is urging motorists to think about when car shopping include the following:
- Don't buy a car you can't see or purchase a car off the Internet that you must have shipped: You don't know if the car is going to look as the seller promised. You need to see the car in person to make sure it exists and meets your desired criteria.
- Don't wire money when purchasing a car on Craigslist or other Internet sites. Buying online can be convenient and easy for most things, but in-person interaction is typically a lot better in the car buying industry. There's also a large volume of online scammers using Craigslist daily to try to convince people to give them money or goods.
- Meet face to face with the seller before purchasing a vehicle: You want to know the seller is a local person who actually has the car available for sale -- not a foreign hacker or scammer who will take your cash and disappear.
- Go to a police station or bank to complete the car sale transaction if you are buying over the Internet or from an individual you don't know. This way, you don't take the risk of meeting to buy a car and ending up getting robbed or worse.
- Check the Carfax and have the vehicle inspected. You should check the car's history for past accidents that could pose a problem and you should make sure it is currently in good shape with a thorough inspection.
- Arrange financing before going to the dealer: Dealers sometimes use tricky techniques, such as stretching out the financing for a long time in order to make payments appear artificially lower.
- Don't accept spot delivery: Spot delivery means you take the car off the dealer's lot without having a financing agreement in place first.
- Make sure you have a detailed written contract: The contract should specify the price and sales terms. You don't want any confusion if you and the seller have different ideas of rights and obligations.
Taking these tips into consideration can help you to be a more informed consumer who is less likely to fall prey to a scam. Even if you do follow these guidelines, however, there are still circumstances where you can end up with a car that has lots of problems. If you have vehicle issues, a Lemon Law attorney can assist you in understanding what options you may have for taking legal action.