Buyers Beware! Car Sellers Finding New Ways to Scam

Recently, we were interviewed by CBS 5 and ABC 15 about a car selling scam that we are seeing the results of more and more in our shop. While car flipping is nothing new, we’ve found that in a slow economy it picks up as people look for ways to make a quick buck. The problem is that there are dishonest car flippers out there. People are knowingly selling car that have major mechanical problems which end up costing the car buyer thousands more than they budgeted or expected. If you are in the market for a used car, do your due diligence before you buy.

Consumer Alert: You’ve heard about house flipping? Now car flipping is the new thing. Don’t get burned!  It’s the perfect scenario for someone who wants to make a fast buck on unsuspecting consumers. The prices of used cars are overinflated due to a shortage of used cars, and demand is up. Many people who are in need of a new vehicle and can’t get credit are turning to Craigslist or fly-by-night car dealerships to find a used vehicle they can afford. 

Many of these used cars have serious problems that can end up costing you more money than you wanted to spend. Dave Riccio, owner of Tri-City Transmission, KTAR Car Guy, and Chairman of the Better Business Bureau Automotive Advisory Committee says “Buyer beware: one of the most common problems that buyers are inheriting is faulty transmissions, costing them thousands of dollars in additional repairs that they weren’t suspecting.”

Below are some tips on what to do when buying a used car to avoid getting burned: 

  • Research any dealership with the Better Business Bureau.
  • If buying from a private party or dealership, you want to get the car checked out by your mechanic, not their mechanic.
  • Get everything agreed to in writing. Verbal agreements guarantee nothing.
  • Used car warranties will not always pay for repairs: When people buy a used car from a dealership sometimes they purchased the used car warranty, however, there is generally a gap or a “waiting period” before that warranty kicks in. The waiting period before a repair will be covered is generally 3-6 months. The waiting period for a transmission repair could be as long as 12 months before the warranty kicks in.
  • Have a mechanic independently contracted examine the vehicle prior to purchase.
  • Go for an extensive test drive, 10 miles on the highway and 10 miles on surface streets.
  • Never buy a car you cannot test drive.
  • Whenever possible, drive the car away from the salesperson or the owner while you are test driving.
  • Always obtain a CarFax Report, however, be advised that a clean Car Fax report does not guarantee a good car because less than half of all repair shops report to CarFax, nor are they required to.
  • Salvaged titles should be avoided. People will buy salvaged cars and “fix them up” usually cutting corners, so they can fix it for cheap and sell it for more.

If you purchase a used car that ends up having problems, there are few options for recourse. Better to do your homework up front and prevent getting burned.

2005 E. Rio Salado Pkwy
Tempe, AZ 85281
(480) 968-5062


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