Let Joe Know: Don't get scammed buying a used car

Irvin Mayfield needs a car. It's why we brought him to Killer Auto Sales in north Phoenix.

You may remember Irvin. He came to us a few months ago when he found out he couldn't get the title to the car he had just bought .

We helped him get his money back.

On this day, we're trying to help him get a car for under $3,000 and to help you avoid used car scams.

Killer Auto Sales owner Mike Campion says trust your instincts when looking for a dealer.

"If you get a creepy vibe, guys who are pressuring you, today, today, do this, do this, sign here, sign here," he says move on.

He says referrals from friends and family are the best way to find a good dealer.

Chris Basso with Carfax says you then must investigate the car thoroughly.

"How many owners has the car had? How much mileage does the car have? Has the owner taken care of it?"

Campion says also look to see how the car is constructed. "Do the panels all match? Is there a big gap here and a small gap here?"

It could mean the car has been involved in an accident. That's exactly what Basso found on another car we looked at, using the Carfax mobile app.

Once you've picked the dealer, run a Carfax report and investigate the car, get a mechanic to check it out thoroughly.

And we've found many people having issues with liens on the cars.

Make sure you check with the MVD to see that there are no liens that could prevent you from getting the title.

Irvin didn't find a car on this day. The amount he could spend was too low.

Salvaged cars do cost much less than others, because they've been damaged.
As a rule, I say, and Campion agrees, stay away from them.

But, he says in some rare cases, you can get a great deal.

Just say an expensive car suffered a minor hit that was too costly to fix, so it was branded salvaged.

It might be worth a look only if you have a trusted mechanic who can make a thorough check.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office offers some steps when buying new or used cars.

Carfax offers help if you're buying a used car.

If you need help or need to warn others about a consumer problem or scam, let me know at joe@abc15.com or by going to my  "Let Joe Know" Facebook page.


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