Top 10 Tricks To Avoid While Buying a Pre-Owned Car

  • Published On: 14 March 2019
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Planning to buy a pre-owned car? Guard against these fraudulent practices of scrupulous sellers.

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With the Indian car market growing in size by the day, the pool of options for pre-owned cars is getting wider by the day. The customers too are no longer hesitant about buying a pre-owned car. They get the car of their dreams at affordable prices and then can upgrade to better models, whereas the owners get a good price for their vehicle. A win-win situation for all. So everything is pretty easy, right? Wrong. While several online services have emerged that allow a relatively safer pre-owned car deal experience, there still are some tricks used by scamsters you do not know about. So in order to make the experience of buying a pre-owned car safer for you, here are a few tricks that you should know beforehand.

Faking the Ownership

Perhaps the oldest trick in the book of scamsters. Under this trick, the fake seller poses as the owner of the car and tries to avoid meeting the buyer. Once the deal is done, the customer realizes that they have been conned into a bad deal or buying a stolen car at worst. While communication channels in the modern era have improved, there is nothing better than negotiating in person and finalizing the deal over a good old handshake.

Jaw Dropping Deal

How often have you heard the phrase, if it is too good to be true, it isn’t? Often, we guess. The same applies for pre-owned cars as well. If the deal is too good to be true you can straightaway smell a con and walk away from the deal, no matter how tempting the deal is. Often scamsters post too-good-to-be-true deals on online portals to attract non-suspecting customers. Then they try to push a different deal on the buyer or employ some trickery to pass off a bad car for good one, under the guise of a low price tag.

Payment First

Another silly trick that scamsters employ is asking for an advanced payment from buyers. However, the trick does not seem so silly when one finds out actually how many people fall for it. Therefore, make it a deal-breaker rule to not pay the seller in advance at any cost. The most leeway you can give the seller of a pre-owned car is to give them a very small amount of token money, but not without meeting them and getting to know them first!

Odometer Tampering

This is a fairly common trick, and while buying a pre-owned car, the buyer must check for this at the very start. This trick can be employed by anyone, ranging from private sellers to dealerships. One must always remember that digital or analog, any meter can be tampered with, and with relative ease at that. The only way to avoid this is by cross-checking the service records with current odometer reading of the car. This trick can lead you to pay more than what you should actually have paid for a car because a great extent of the value of a pre-owned car hangs on the miles it has travelled.

Showpiece Car Trick

Online scamsters often exaggerate and post false features of a car on websites. The unsuspecting customers is enticed by the deal, proceeds ahead, and finalizes the car. Some sweet-talking, a token amount of money, and hasty negotiations later, the customer finds themselves having been conned into buying a vehicle they did not want. Moreover, they also paid a higher price for the same! So make sure you do proper research and proceed ahead in online deals with due diligence.

Fake Expert

How many times have you gone to an electronics store, asked the ‘expert’ in the shop about a product, bought it, and then later regretted the purchase? A similar kind of trick is employed by some pre-owned car dealerships where they employ so called ‘experts’ in-store, driven by incentives these ‘experts’ often try pushing deals on people. At worse, they also inspect a car for you and refrain from pointing out grave faults in the car you wish to buy. Always remember, you have to use the car, and you are paying, so you must always inspect the car yourself. A friend with a good knowledge of cars in an added bonus in such cases.

Forget About Papers, That Comes Later

Upon hearing the aforementioned statement, the only logical thing to do is to step away from the deal as quickly as possible. Purchasing a pre-owned car is a significant investment and having paperwork for the same is the most essential aspect of the process. This is a very famous trick to sell stolen cars, or vehicles involved in litigation or worse accidents! Ask for an NOC of the vehicle, and only make money transfers after the paperwork process in done. This is the only logical way to buy a pre-owned car.

Forged Service History

Even as you read this article, scamsters are out there thinking up of ideas to swindle you of your money. Among a new trick applied by such fraudsters is forging the service documents of a car to match their claims about the vehicle, or claiming the non-availability of service documents because the vehicle was serviced at various places. Do not fall for this scam as you never know what faults a car can throw up right after you have made the payment! It is best to seek information about the car’s servicing, and make enquiries at your end as service centers maintain due records of car servicing and readily provide the information as well.

We Accept Cash Only

Saving some money by making cash transactions for buying a pre-owned car and avoiding taxes is irresistible, however, those few bucks saved could cost you a lot more. Keeping records of transaction while buying a pre-owned car and sending the money to the registered owner of the car is essential to stay safe from any misadventures after you have bought your pre-owned car.

Test Drive Not Allowed

The above statement should always be followed by the customer refusing the pre-owned car deal. The most important and basic way to know about the condition of a car is to take it for a test drive and if the seller does not allow that, you know they are trying to hide something about the car. Having a trusted friend with a good knowledge of the car is always welcome. Always remember buying a car without having a test drive is accepting a job, without knowing the details, you never know what you are getting into.


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