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The used car market is quite tricky and can leave you with a pretty bitter experience if not dealt with carefully. Buying a new car is one thing and there is a certain peace of mind factor involved in it. However, the same can’t be said when buying a used car. Though certain well established and big names have now sprung up in the market of used cars, the chances of getting conned are present in even certified dealerships. Also, the online used car marketplace offers many lucrative deals but that’s the place where most of the con-artist hide. However, there some practical knowhows which can help you avoid these scamsters and get the car of your dreams. Read along to find out the most common scams and how to avoid them when dealing with the used car marketplace.
The ‘pay in advance’ scam
As a rule of thumb, never part with your hard-earned cash without physically seeing the car and meeting the seller. Even after this, insist on making any sort of payments only after official paperwork is initiated. If the seller insists for some sort of payment to ‘lock’ the deal and you feel a seller is a genuine person, then too only pay a very small amount and take receipt of the same. Also, cash payment for such ‘lock’ amounts is a strict no-no as it leaves no proof. There are many con artists out there who fool around displaying the same car to multiple buyers, collect advance money and then vamoose!
The ‘too-good-to-be-true price’ scam
If you see a particular deal with jaw-dropping prices, collect back your jaw into place and let the mind do some thinking. Crook sellers often list a very low price for a car and chances are that is only to lure buyers. Then suddenly, the car goes unavailable. This is then followed by the seller trying to push some other car to the buyer. If you are going for a particular make model, research a bit and get the average pricing of the car in the used market. Some websites have the facility of “right price” or “fair price” indication that gives you an idea of what the car is really worth. Some basic rules of the used car market are that diesel cars are priced at a slight premium from their petrol counterparts and higher odo reading means lower price.
The odometer rollback scam
Many assume that the new age digital odometers cannot be tampered with. However, almost everything on a car can be played with. Only the very expensive and most premium cars (we’re referring to Rs. 50 lakh+ category) come with foolproof systems but some reports suggest that even they can be tampered with. Sellers roll back the mileage that a car has done in a very professional manner that is virtually undetectable. One way to check for a tampered odometer is by comparing the readings against the service history for the odometer. Compare the odo reading recorded at last service with the current reading. Also, check the VIN number of the car to get further details. Almost all service centers now maintain a service record of the cars brought there and that data is easily accessible.