Tag Archive | "online cars"

Buying Cars Safely Online


When the time comes to buy a used car the internet seems like the right place to start. A whole army of dealers and web sellers are out there ready to fulfil your brief. Would that it were that simple. In addition to all the many reliable traders there are a goodly number of crooks and rogues ready to scam the heck out of a careless wallet.

The news that Auto Trader will soon cease to sell a paper version of their venerable publication is very much a sign of the times. The printed small classified ad is a thing of the past. Online is where it’s at. Dealers and traders have their dedicated websites and even private sellers are exploring new ways of shifting their unwanted wheels.

The latest research indicates that 74% of used car buyers in the UK are now using the internet as their primary search tool. To make sure they get a good selection they will visit an average of eighteen sites. The trouble stems from the fact that scammers are very sophisticated. What appears to be a totally plausible website can easily turn out to be a front for felons.

Here are a few reminders to stay safe. First and foremost never, ever – and it seems so obvious to mention it yet it happens – buy a car sight unseen. If a car is ‘abroad’ and the seller is looking for a ‘quick sale’ make abundantly sure to verify the sellers’ credentials at the very least. Endeavour to check out the vendor’s history and don’t fall prey to the idea that an ‘advance’ payment will be held in escrow. When paying online it is essential to make sure that the payment page is totally secure and has all the necessary security symbols required.

Shop around. At any one time there are tens of thousands of cars for sale. By comparing prices on a variety of websites the canny customer can assess the best price by make and model. Armed with that knowledge it will be easy to spot a car that seems too cheap – quick sale or no. If it is especially cheap then forewarned is forearmed.

Once a short list of potential purchases has been drawn up then it should be time to do a check on the vehicles’ histories. It will be an extra cost but at least it can be established that there is no outstanding finance or other issues to worry about. Then it will be time for a really thorough test drive and a close scrutiny of all the paperwork, making sure that VIN and VRM details are all present and correct. It is always easy for scammers to rip off the unwary. Don’t let the crooks get away with it.

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