The internet is rife with horror stories of people misrepresenting themselves while selling a vehicle, and scamming shoppers with schemes that seem legitimate, but end up with them losing hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars. How do you protect yourself from people who would abuse an honest car shopper?
The first precaution to take is to deal locally, if you can. Craigslist has warnings on nearly every page warning users to only buy from, or sell to, people face-to-face, and vehicles are no exception.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. What are the odds that a two-year-old vehicle with less than 30,000 miles will be for sale for less than $10,000? Honestly, not great. There's a difference between a legitimate good deal, and pie in the sky.
Do you smell a rat? If anything at all feels less-than-savory, it's your prerogative to cut bait and run. Trust your instincts, so you can avoid a lot of wasted time, money, and frustration. An example can be a seller who has one last payment to make on the vehicle, and they ask you for that as a down payment, but want to go by themselves to pay it off and get the title. That's a big red flag. "Owners" who don't have the title in hand are unlikely to be legitimate.
If the vehicle is mobile (which it ought to be, if it is being sold) it is a great practice to have it checked by a mechanic that you trust to make sure you're not going to run into surprise expenses after the purchase.
If you make it past those points, make sure you check that the title is clear (e.g. not salvage, rebuilt, or flood) and that it passes into your hands at the same time as money passes into theirs. Depending on your particular circumstance and vehicle, buying a Carfax report on the vehicle could be a good investment.
The key to dealing safely with someone you haven't met is being educated and keeping your wits about you. We know a lot of used vehicle sales personnel have given our industry a bad reputation, and that's why Steve and Breck work so hard to be transparent about our vehicles and practices. If you decide to buy from a dealer, we want you to be completely comfortable buying from us.
For more information on the Daniell Motors family, and to find your own vehicle, visit DaniellMotors.com.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? We'd love to hear them. Tell us what's on your mind in the comments!