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Scammers seem to get more and more advanced, which means staying ahead of them by knowing what to look out for is crucial. Buying a car can be a particularly difficult area. It isn’t cheap, and if you’re not careful, you could end up with more than you bargained for. Car buying scams cost consumers approximately £3 million per year. That’s a lot of cash!
Here’s an idea of the scams you could come up against when buying a car:
Virtual Vehicle Scams
This scam involves using fake shipping websites that tell buyers they will take care of the money. If you express interest in a vehicle this way, which will be somewhere abroad, you will be take to a fake website. If this website was legitimate, the website would transfer the funds to the seller when you have your vehicle and state that you’re happy with it. However, in reality, a car doesn’t show up.
Lying Car Dealerships
Many car salesmen lie about things, both big and small. They may tell you that the color you want is not available, that you can only get that great price you’ve been quoted today, that lots of other people are interested in the car – anything to make you decide to buy the car quickly. You need to make sure you don’t feel pressured to rush into anything when buying a car. Do your research on reliable, trustworthy dealers too, so you can relax when browsing their used car inventory. It’s wise that you treat everything said to you with a pinch of salt, wherever you look for your car.
Mistakes In Your Contract
Don’t just assume that your paperwork is correct. Errors may be made on the price, bonuses, loan terms – anything you can think of. You can bet these mistakes will be to the dealer’s advantage. Always double check that you’ve agreed to the terms and never sign anything blindly.
The ‘Bait And Switch’
This is where a dealership advertises a vehicle at a bargain price, but then tell you that it has been sold when you enquire. They will usually then attempt to get you to purchase a more expensive vehicle. The whole scam is designed to get people into the showroom. Always call the showroom beforehand to see if the vehicle advertised is in stock, and ask them to send you proof in the form of an email or fax.
Good Cop Bad Cop
Sometimes, salesmen will take on the role of good cop and bad cop, with one of them being super helpful and another being super awkward in a bid to get you on side. Usually, they will aim to wear you down slowly so you agree to a less than ideal deal.
Being Told Finance Has Fallen Through
If you ever get a call down the line after you’ve agreed to finance, telling you it has fallen through because of bad credit, this is a scam designed to make you pay more. Always read the smallprint, as usually the loophole they use is explained here. If you don’t understand the contract, have a professional read it over.