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Common Used Car Scams and How to Detect Them

The used car market is an enormous one and the rise of the internet has now made it easier than ever to find a second-hand vehicle for an affordable price. However, it can also be a dangerous market and there are a lot of scam artists attempting to either sell an unsafe/illegal car and/or rip you off. Here are a few of the more common car scams to look out for and how you can avoid them:

Cloned Car Scams

Cloning a car involves giving an automobile an alternative identity by putting different number plates on and providing different documentation. Often, this automobile will be stolen or have unpaid parking tickets, which means that the buyer is in for a nasty surprise down the line. Avoid this by looking for signs of tampering around the number plates and by carrying out a history check and ensuring that this 100% matches the vehicle you are looking at.

Clocking Car Scams

One of the oldest scams in the book, clocking involves winding back the odometer to make the car appear not as far travelled and therefore more appealing. Check that the condition of the interior matches the mileage and look for signs of tampering around the odometer.

You should also get an MOT history check from a company like HPI Check – this will show you what the mileage was at the last MOT and indicate whether the current reading is false.

Deposit Scam

Nasty car scams of this type mainly occur online and involves the seller pressuring the buyer into putting down a deposit to secure the vehicle. Once the payment has been made, the seller then vanishes with the money. Avoid this by never putting down a deposit on a private sale unless you know the seller or it is being held by a third-party that you have selected.

Sub Hiring

Sub hiring involves the seller admitting that there is outstanding finance on the vehicle, but they promise to keep up the payments. Not only is this illegal, but they could then stop making the payments and the vehicle will be repossessed. Avoid this by never buying a car with outstanding finance and get a history check carried out to ensure that this is the case.

These are the main car scams to look out for when in the market for a second-hand automobile. You should always take your time, never feel pressured and carry out the necessary checks before parting with your money, and always walk away if you have any suspicions.