How to avoid a scam when buying your next car

Purchasing a vehicle is an important investment into your future. Take your time and choose wisely to make sure you avoid a scam when buying your next car.

Purchasing a vehicle is an important investment into your family’s future. That’s why you should take your time and choose wisely to make sure you get the most for your money. By going slow, you reduce the chances of getting scammed and losing your hard earned income. Here are some helpful tips that can keep you safe from fraud when purchasing your next vehicle.

Tips for Buying a Used Vehicle

  1. If you’re buying a used vehicle, check its VIN history from online sites such as Auto Check or Carfax to learn important information about the car’s background before buying. A history check will reveal how many owners the vehicle has had, whether it’s been salvaged, how many accidents it’s been in, the car’s last known mileage and more.
  2. Only do business with the owner of the vehicle. Before finalizing any deal, obtain the owner’s contact info to include name, address, phone, driver’s license and insurance data.
  3. Obtain any purchase agreements in writing, especially when buying from a used car dealer. By law, dealerships must provide a buyer’s guide for all used cars they sell. This guide provides information on how the vehicle is to be sold – i.e. with a warranty, as is, etc., and what responsibility the dealer has, if any, towards repairs.

Tips for Buying a New Vehicle

  1. Car fraud occurs just as easily from dealerships as it does when buying from an individual. It’s good to go slow, shop around and choose a reputable dealership when looking for a new car.
  2. Call a dealership before visiting to confirm they have the make and model of vehicle you want in stock. This way you don’t waste time going to places that don’t have the car you want.
  3. When discussing a deal, negotiate each transaction of the car buying process separately. Negotiate car payments based on the vehicle’s actual price. Trade-in costs and financing should be negotiated under their own separate terms.
  4. Check out trade-in costs with more than one dealer. Shop around for financing from various lenders. Compare car costs with multiple car dealers. This helps to expand your options so you can choose the best deal.
  5. Before signing any auto contracts, review all the written figures to ensure they coincide with the figures you agreed to verbally. Car dealerships have a way of “rearranging” numbers on paper to confuse buyers and scam them into paying higher prices.
  6. Never accept a car from a dealer until your financing has been completely approved. You don’t want the dealer calling you back after several days claiming your financing fell through and offering alternative financing at much higher costs. By having your loan arranged in advance, you’ll know the exact rates you qualify for and will be paying.

The more you learn about car buying in advance, the less chances you have of being scammed. These tips alert you to possible dangers with vehicle fraud so you can make wiser, safer decisions when purchasing your next vehicle.