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5 Tips to Avoid Getting Scammed When Buying a Used Car

Picture this: you just got back from the marketplace. When you examine the groceries, you realize that the merchant lied about the quality of the products. You are furious and decide never to shop from him again.

Now, imagine the same things happen when you buy a car.

Although a used suv BC can be the perfect solution for your needs and budget, it’s very easy to get tricked into buying a vehicle with all sorts of problems. That is especially true if you buy the car from a private party, and not a dealer.

It is in your best interest to be diligent when evaluating the car. To help find the right car for your needs, and make sure you will not get scammed, here are five tips to keep in mind when buying a used car.

1. Check the VIN Decoder and the Seller’s Identity

Ask any mechanic and they will tell you that an average vehicle has a use of about 20,000 miles per year. A car that shows a lower use should trigger an alarm signal. Car vendors have the bad habit of sabotaging the odometer, so make sure to check it before sealing the deal. You can ask for the VIN Decoder to be sure there isn’t any tampering. Also, asking for a proof of identity and address to verify whether they match with the info from the vehicle’s registration form isn’t off limits either.

Since you’re at the registration chapter, you must also check things like the license plate, make, model and year. Again, check the VIN carefully since it’s the mark that gives you information such as the country of origin when was the car made and the body style.

Also, aesthetics tells you a lot about the actual age of the car as well, so carefully examine tears or wears of the interior, seats, brake pedals or steering wheel.

2.Do Not Accept Warranties That Seem Useless

If a car dealership offers some strange overly-expensive warranties, approach this with caution. It is better if you purchase the warranty yourself because you usually pay more for one offered by the dealer. You must also be on the lookout for warranties that present themselves in the form of dealer service contracts. The scheme behind this consists the fact that the car can only be repaired at the dealership that sold them the service contract.

3. Beware of Protection Plans

If you are offered a protection plan through an apparently renowned third-party, be skeptical. As it turns out, many such companies don’t offer these kinds of protection plans. The ones that do, in fact, offer them, are doing it through sales that take place on their websites. The way scammers “scam” these days is very refined – for example, they set fake chat rooms to answer people’s questions and ultimately reassure them that everything is alright.

4. Get Everything in Writing

Although the excitement generated buying a car is big, you shouldn’t dismiss the small (or big) flaws that you have spotted. Make sure that everything you’ve agreed on with the dealer is mentioned in the contract.

Check to see if every term of the deal you’ve negotiated orally and the promises they’ve made are in writing. Also, if the amount of money written is different than the one they initially asked for, then you’ve got a problem. Only after they correct that number, you can think again about signing.

Something else you should look for is the return policies that they might offer. If everything is okay, they shouldn’t object to your question. All in all, you must get a copy of absolutely every page and read everything thoroughly.

5. Look out For Curbsiders

Also known as a “curber,” this person buys vehicles and posts them for sale with a markup instead of registering them with their name. Their goal is to make a profit, obviously, and because of this, they will often hide the true condition of the car and tamper with the odometer.

They usually tell that they are selling the car for someone or that they are the former owner. Another thing that gives a curbstoner away is the fact that they insist on being paid with cash (ding, ding, ding – they want to make sure nothing traces back to them). In reality, they are making a profit by eluding taxes.

Have you ever been a victim of a used car scheme? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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