Almost 43 million used cars were sold across America in 2017 compared to just over 17 million new vehicles. According to the Federal Trade Commission, however, Americans suffered over $905 million in vehicle fraud that same year. The decision to “sell my junk car” can be beneficial to many car owners if they don’t get roped into scams and dealer tricks. But unfortunately, most who attempt to sell their vehicles on their own end up getting played. Here are some of the most common buying scams to watch out for when selling your junk car.
Fake Checks and Overpayment Scams
Check scams are simple and far too common. Scammers write a check for the cost of the vehicle or even for over the amount you’re asking with the agreement that you’ll wait to cash it until they call and ensure the funds are able to be released. Of course, the check is canceled so you’ve literally given your vehicle away. Bank check forgeries are easy to create as well, so avoiding checking on the funds prior to releasing your car can be an expensive mistake.
PayPal may be a great option for online shopping but it’s an easy car buying scam option as well. The way it works is a potential buyer insists on paying via PayPal, but you need to have an account first. You make the account and the buyer “pays” you. You relinquish the vehicle after receiving the verification email of the sent funds. The only problem is, it’s a fake email and a fake account. So once again, the crook got away with a free car.
Multiple Drivers Debacle
If you’re attempting to sell your car privately and the potential buyer arrives with another person, be especially cautious. And if one of those two asks to test drive your vehicle that could be a red flag. A common scam involves multiple drivers arriving at the potential point of sale where either one of the drivers takes off with the vehicle while test driving it or one threatens the seller while they all test drive it together.
The Reseller Scam
Listing your vehicle and waiting can lead to headaches, so it may seem like it’s kismet when a “reseller” contacts you and insists they can sell your car for more than you think it’s worth. They may even have a “buyer” in mind. You just need to pay their assistance fee upfront but don’t worry because the buyer will pay you back in full. Slight problem: there is no buyer, but you’re out a few hundred bucks and still stuck with your junk car before you realize you were scammed.
Disappearing Trade-In Deals
Struggling used car dealerships often use shady techniques to get potential buyers and sellers onto the lot. One of those is the disappearing trade-in deal. That means you can “push, pull, or tow” your clunker in, regardless of its condition, and drive off with a great “new” car with a heavily reduced price tag. Two things can happen in this scam: The trade-in agreement can suddenly disappear in a pile of paperwork, or you’ll get your price break but the dealer will either add it to your new payment or slap it on the final price of your trade-in for the next “sucker”. Either way, they’re getting a free vehicle and you’re paying more for your next one. When you’re ready to get cash on the spot for your junk car without the hoops or red flags, give us a call.