[WARNING] Avoid These Car Selling Scams
Selling a car? The Better Business Bureau is warning sellers about a scam that can cost victims just a few dollars or all the hassles of identity theft. If you have bought or sold a used car, you’ve probably seen a “vehicle history report” from a service such as CarFax. Such a report may include information that can help you avoid buying a lemon, or help you get a higher price if you are selling. But it’s important to get vehicle history reports from reliable sources, to avoid being victimized. Whether you are buying or selling, here's what you need to know…
Avoid These Car Buy/Sell Pitfalls
If you're the seller, beware if a potential buyer asks for a vehicle history report from an unfamiliar company, especially if its only point of contact is a website. It could be just a way to scam you for the cost of such a report, or it could be that all the personal info you use to buy the report will be stolen and used to impersonate you. It’s also possible to be infected by malware through a scam site. If you're the buyer, choose your own source for a vehicle history. Don’t try to save a few bucks by accepting the seller’s report - it may belong to a different vehicle, with the VIN number altered.
CarFax is the best-known vehicle history provider, offering a $39.99 report that lists Major Accidents, Mileage Rollback, Structural Damage, Open Recalls, Registration History, Flood Damage, Service History, Airbag Deployment, and other facts that have been reported about the car. You can search by VIN or plate number to get started. Other options include 3 Carfax reports for $59.99, or 6 Carfax reports for $99.99.
AutoCheck is another popular service, and offers a report with similar data points for $24.99. If you're evaluating a range or cars for possible purchase, you can purchase 25 reports over 21 days, for $49.99. Aside from the more favorable pricing, one unique feature here is the AutoCheck Score, a number from 0 to 100, based on a vehicle's history such as vehicle class and age, number of owners, accident and damage history, title brands, odometer readings etc. This score is used to compare vehicle's favorability against the entire market of vehicles with the same scoring system.
I ran both Carfax and AutoCheck reports for one of my cars. Carfax said it found "24 history records" related to my 2015 Nissan Sentra, while AutoCheck reported only 6. I didn't pay for either report, so I can't say if one service actually returns more helpful information than the other.
Other automobile history providers are vetted by the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The NMVTIS was created by the Anti Car Theft Act of 1992 to help consumers avoid car theft and fraud. Insurance carriers, salvage yards, and junk yards are required by federal law to report certain information to NMVTIS, which in turn makes the info available to consumers, dealers, law enforcement, and other authorized parties.
The NMVTIS tracks several categories of info about a car:
The current state of title and last title date. This info helps prevent theft and title fraud.
The last reported odometer reading. This info helps prevent fraud that occurs when an odometer is rolled back, making it seem a vehicle has been driven fewer miles than it really has.
Brand history. A "brand," in the parlance of state motor vehicle titling agencies, is a label that describes a vehicle’s status, i. e., “hail damage,” “rebuilt,” “lien,” etc.. The NMVTIS keeps a history of every vehicle’s brands as they have been recorded by state titling agencies. A brand history flags critical incidents in a vehicle’s life. It can help a consumer avoid buying a vehicle that is unsafe, or paying too much.
“Total loss” and “salvage” histories reveal vehicles that have been sold to a recycler, junk yard, or salvage yard. You probably don’t want to drive one of those even if it has been repaired enough to limp along for a while.
The NMVTIS site lists ten commercial providers of vehicle history reports. Their prices range from $8.99 (ClearVin) to $39 (CarFax), and the information they contain is equally variable. Each vendor has its own sources of information in addition to the NMVTIS data.
It’s important to remember that no vehicle history report is completely accurate. It’s always best to take a used car to a trusted mechanic to have it inspected before purchasing. If the seller won’t agree to that, keep looking. And never take cash to a stranger’s home - or worse, a remote “storage lot” - to pay for a car. Likewise, don’t wire money to anyone. Meet in a well-lit public place, preferably where video cameras are rolling. Some police stations actually encourage people to meet in a designated part of their parking lots for transactions like this.
Do you have any car buying tips? Have you ever been scammed as a result of an automobile purchase? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 13 May 2020
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [WARNING] Avoid These Car Selling Scams (Posted: 13 May 2020)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved