8 steps to avoiding the common car-buying scams

Posted at 7:28 PM, Aug 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-02 15:25:04-04

It started when my son crashed our car. He's okay, but the car was totaled.

So I began the hunt for another inexpensive car for the kids.

On Craigslist, four of the five ads I chose were later flagged as scams

The other was a dealer posing as an individual owner.

If you buy used or sell a car:

  • Never buy unseen or have the vehicle shipped
  • Don't wire money or accept checks
  • Meet face to face
  • Complete the transaction at a bank or police station

Make these demands and scammers will likely run.

With no luck online, I called dealers

Some dealers wouldn't give me vehicle identification numbers to check the car's past.

Others only had salvaged cars in my low price range.

I visited a few lots and found some wouldn't even let me take the car to a mechanic to check out before buying.

Make sure to:

  • Have the car inspected
  • Arrange to finance before and compare to dealer offer
  • Never accept spot delivery (taking the car off the lot with no financing in place)
  • Get a written contract that must include all prices and financing details

You should also get a Carfax or comparable vehicle history report to see the car's past. I eventually bought from a dealer who provided me with that report.

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Need my help? Call the Assistance League of Phoenix volunteers at 1-855-323-1515. You can also send me an email or a video email where you attach a video explaining the problem.

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