Buying and selling cars and car-related products comes with certain risks. Every year thousands of motorists are scammed by individuals and businesses who take advantage of unsuspecting buyers and sellers. Some scams involve small amounts of money, while others ruin people’s lives forever. Even the most cautious motorist can fall prey to these people, so it’s always advisable to take your time before making any purchase and get advice from others in the motoring trade. These are some of the most common scams in the car industry.
Cheap Car Diagnostics Products
Computers are playing a bigger role in how cars operate, how problems are detected and how they are fixed. This has resulted in a wide range of car diagnostics devices flooding the market. A small number of these devices are useful.
However, 99% of the cheap scanners available in online marketplaces like eBay for less than $15 don’t carry out the functions they say they do. In most cases these inferior, clone products only support half of the data higher end products like the ELM327 USB scanner support. Using these cheaper devices instead of established devices like the ELM327 USB scanner can put you in harm’s way when you’re driving. The cheaper clones do not display or incorrectly display important data such as B1S1 Lambda, EVAP, O2 and HO2 parameters.
Manipulating the Odometer Reading
Manipulating a cars odometer, which is also known as ‘Clocking’ or ‘busting miles’ is the illegal activity of changing the odometer reading of a car to a lower mileage. Individuals who carry out this illegal practice are able to reprogram a digital odometer using software applications or other devices. This is a serious problem and it’s estimated that as many as one in ten used cars have had their odometers manipulated like this.
The mileage reading on a car is a major factor when pricing a car. If the mileage is rolled back, the buyer may end up paying more than they should for a car. It’s difficult to detect this problem. However, you should ask the seller for the maintenance records of the car and get the advice of a mechanic or other expert who may be able to identify the manipulation of a cars odometer.
Salesman Buying Tricks
When you’re selling a car to a dealer or trading it in for a newer model, you want to get a fair price for it. Unfortunately, there are many dealers and salesmen who will use every trick in the book to drive down the price they will pay for your vehicle. Some are overpowering and will try to convince a seller that there are problems with their car that will affect the price. This often includes highlighting small issues such as dents or chips on the body work or pretending to hear strange noises from the engine when the car is turned on.
You can avoid this issue by finding out what your car is really worth from other sources. If you feel a dealer is continuing to intimidate you and trying to drive down the price, remind them that you can go elsewhere. If they persist, go to another dealer and don’t be forced to sell your car or trade it in for less than its worth.
Bait and Switch Scams
Some dealers try to attract customers into their showrooms by using the bait and switch method. It normally involves an advertisement for a car at a reduced price. Potential customers see the ad and decide to find out more about this great deal. However, when the potential customer calls to the dealer they’re told the car advertised at the special price has been sold to someone else. This dishonest tactic is used to get potential customers into a showroom so that a dealer or salesman can try to sell a more expensive model.
If an offer seems too good to be true, it normally is. If you do see a car advertised at a great price, ask the dealer for some kind of proof that it’s still for sale, which you can present when you call to the showroom. If you do visit the showroom, don’t let the conversation turn towards the purchase of other models.
A wide range of payment scams have emerged in recent years. For example, scammers who sell cars and car products on eBay may ask for payment through PayPal. However, many buyers do not realize that PayPal does not cover the purchase of cars through eBay. Always make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for and have protection if things go wrong.
Online Classified Ads Scams
Online classified ads websites are the perfect places to buy and sell cars and car related products. However, the virtual nature of these websites makes them a target for scammers who prey on unsuspecting buyers and sellers. Many people on these websites make false claims. Always ask buyers if you can view the item or vehicle they are selling in person. This is vital and you should bring a mechanic or other motoring expert with you who can let you know if the claims made about a product are true or not.
The car industry includes thousands of different models and even more parts, devices and accessories. It’s a huge industry and there is always the possibility of falling victim to a scam. However, if you use your common sense, get sound advice and avoid offers that are too good to be true, it will reduce the likely hood of a dishonest individual or business tricking you out of your hard earned money.