How to avoid being scammed on your first car purchase

Purchasing a vehicle is a long-term investment that requires careful consideration. As you enter the next chapter of your life at college, buying your first car and having your own freedom are two of the greatest pleasures that one looks forward to after high school. However, it’s not always as easy as it looks.

When you haven’t got the money to purchase a vehicle, applying for a financial loan is the next practical option. As taxing as finding the right vehicle can be, searching for the right financing company is just as time-consuming. Because whichever company you choose, it needs to meet your requirements.

Before you apply, make use of a personal loans calculator as a tool to help you calculate how much money you’ll qualify for and what your repayments will be. This will give you a rough estimation, excluding vehicle insurance, of what you can expect to pay. So, it might be worthwhile to start looking for a weekend job.

The process of buying a vehicle requires research and guidance, as there are so many fraud and scam deals floating around on the internet. Here are a few useful tips to ensure you get the best car deal and avoid being scammed:

Watch out for ads or sellers that seem too good to be true

Students are always looking for the most affordable options but should be careful of the deals that seem too good to be true. On the one hand, there are plenty of vehicles that pop up which are low in price and are genuinely good deals, but there are also many fake deals which can look exactly the same.

Navigating your way through the internet is a dangerous environment, so make sure you do your research beforehand, making sure you are fully aware of the price of the vehicle that you are considering. If you have found something that sparks an interest, get in touch and analyse the communication channels with the dealer or private seller before taking any further steps. A common warning sign is when the vehicle owner only communicates via email and does not respond to text messages or personal calls.

Beware of unlicensed dealers

Vehicle dealerships need to be licensed in order to operate legally. If the car you’re interested in belongs to an individual who claims to be selling the vehicle for a family member or friend, be careful. These car scammers are people who pose as vehicle ‘owners’ and sell the vehicles with a markup.

Car maintenance checks and vehicle history information are very important when dealing with sly people because scammers will avoid giving out the relevant car details and will persuade the potential buyer to pay with cash to avoid paperwork admin. If the potential buyer does fall for their tricks, they will usually request that you meet them in a public place so that you don’t find out any personal details about them.

Get your hands on the car history report

If you are serious about your purchase, request the car history report on the vehicle you want to learn more about. The information you receive will either persuade you into requesting a test drive and see the vehicle in person or it will make you decline any further communication with the seller. The information you’ll find in a history report includes the previous vehicle owners, accident information, registration details and the maintenance history of the vehicle. It would be responsible for you to request the original copy, just to ensure that it is real and you are not dealing with a fake car dealer that is scamming you.

Do a background check on the dealer

If you decide to go into the car dealership and look at a vehicle you have seen online, do your research about the dealership to see what other customer reviews and experiences have been with the dealership company or the dealers themselves. A company’s reputation can tell you a lot about the type of experience you’re going to have with them. So, make certain you get a good feeling from the start

Look for stolen cars and dealers who are lying

Unfortunately, stolen cars are a reality and often result in deals that are too good to be true. If there is a deal online that is advertised by a private seller, search the vehicle registration that you have for the vehicle to see if the number plate and registration details correlate. This goes hand-in-hand with the seller. Make sure you have their identity details, and before you make any arrangements to meet them, do a background check on them to ensure they are the person they claim to be.

While you’re busy doing your research, take the time to double check the vehicle make, model, year, license plate and vehicle identification number of the car. The VIN number of a vehicle can be found on the dashboard or inside the driver’s door. Many private sellers also manipulate the odometer to increase the value of a car with high mileage, so be sure to check that. Again, these are all small details that will stand out once you’ve done your research and are familiar with the car selling process.

Double check the condition of the car before purchase

Do not transfer any money into an account before you’ve seen and inspected the vehicle with your own eyes. When you’ve seen the vehicle history report and you have the car in front of you, take the time to do a thorough vehicle inspection, inside and outside. If possible, it’s better to do so with a qualified, experienced mechanic. Make sure everything the dealer has advertised is clearly visible, and take the car for a test drive to see how the car drives, and to see if there are any strange sounds.

Final words

The digital space is a dangerous environment. Do not share any personal details as you never know who you’re speaking to. It’s important for students to become familiar with the different scams so that they can detect any suspicious activity. Do not complete any transaction unless you are absolutely certain about the deal.

Related Posts

Your Teeth Matters!

When we enter the job market, we might see the term “benefits” for permanent jobs. These can include “dental’ or “healthcare” – and even sometimes company cars. Incredible benefits are no longer as widespread as…

Stay on track of your wellness resolutions

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions most people set ambitious goals and usually within a few short weeks are back to their old habits. “With the blush of December holidays and January’s good intentions…