Avoid Scams

Hiding Mechanical Trouble:

The most common scams involve hiding mechanical trouble with the vehicle or simply not ensuring the car is up to quality standards. There are many ways to hide a lemon, depending on what’s wrong. For instance, if a car starts and runs poorly when cold, a seller might only show after it’s warmed up.

Protect Yourself:

  • Always ask for maintenance records and receipts, if they have done work on the car or inspected  it, they should be able to show you this.
  • Consider buying a car with only one to two previous owners’ use a company such as CarProof.

Odometer Rollbacks:

Rolling back the odometer (or lying about the mileage – 175,000, not 75,000 kms) is the oldest trick in the book.

Protect Yourself:

  • Explicitly ask a professional mechanic his assessment of the metrage and whether the odometer has been tampered with.
  • Try to verify metrage from maintenance receipts and/or a Vehicle History Report.

Hiding Structural Damage:

Sellers may try to hide a major accident that has permanently damaged the vehicle.

Protect Yourself:

  • Explicitly ask your mechanic to look for signs of major body work. There are many tell-tale signs, such as doors or bumpers that don’t fit perfectly. An experienced mechanic can spot the signs and tell you if the vehicle has suffered permanent damage.
  • Run a Vehicle History Report to determine if the vehicle has ever been flooded, salvaged, or the like.

Making Your Credit Seem Worse Than It is:

The finance manager lies and tells you that your credit score is lower than it actually is. Now, you have to pay a much higher car loan interest rate than you planned.

Protect Yourself:

  • Know your credit history better than the dealer does. ask to see a copy of your bureau . it is your information.

Not Paying Off Your Old Car Loan:

The dealer says he’ll obtain a payoff figure for whatever you owe on your trade-in, saying he’ll add the amount to your purchase price. Months later, you’re greeted with the fact that your old car loan is partially, or completely outstanding (meaning the dealer paid less for, or even worse, essentially stole your car!). You are responsible for the loan, not the dealer, because the loan is in your name! Your credit score goes down and you’re left without a contract from the dealer stating that they’ll pay off your old car loan.

Protect Yourself:

  • To be safe, pay off your car and get the title before trading or selling it. If you trade in a used car which you still owe money on, get it in writing that the dealer will pay off your loan in 10 days, or the deal is dead. If the dealer refuses to put these promises in writing, walk out and take your business to another dealer.

Selling A Car That Doesn’t Exist:

These internet scammers appear online and look like they are the seller of a used car. When looking at used cars online, you see a car with a much lower selling price than other listings for similar items. The seller claims to be in another country and cannot keep the car.

By communicating through email, these scammers have you outside the eBay Safe Harbor, or whatever online service you are using. The seller asks you to use a 3rd party escrow site that he claims to be trustworthy. In reality, he just created that fake escrow site only a few days ago.

The “seller” is out to steal your money. After convincing you to register on the “escrow” site, you receive payment instructions to Western Union or MoneyGram the funds to the escrow company, and your money is gone. These scammers often trick you by telling you they are signed up for escrow with Kijiji, or eBay, or Square Trade, none of which do escrow or collect money for cars. The scams trick you into thinking you are sending thousands of dollars to a trusted escrow company.

Protect Yourself:

  • NEVER use wiring services  to pay for purchases online. They are all dangerously unsecured networks.  Don’t believe even the most realistic looking emails sent to you.