Common Car Scams
Buying a used car can bee a good experience but also can leave a bitter taste in the mouth plus rob you of your money. Read-on below on this article that throws light on some scams.
Army Person Scam:
There will be an offer on OLX with prices too good to be true. Example 2018 Nexon XZ+ 8000 kms, 3 lacs only. There will be a pictures of Army jawans & even a copy of their army identity card. The seller in all probability will be a scammer. He will show some random pics of some vehicle and tell that he is at a different location and the vehicle is at a different location. You need to pay a token amount to block, see or test drive. He will never come. It is all a scam. Don't pay anything without reading our article on buying a used car. It is very easy to make a duplicate army jawan's card with fictitious names.
Army scam 2:
The person will say he is posted at army base in your city but his supervisor / commander isn't allowing him to step out. Scam again. Unless you are deputed to LOC, you can very well step out or at the very least, he can come after his duty hours and show you the car. Even the General can't prevent him once his shift duty is over.
NRI / Relocating back to home country scam
You will be approached by the seller telling he purchased the car thinking he will be in India, but his job is now asking him to go back to his country immediately, so he is selling the car at a low price for a fast sale. Now, even if it was genuine, why will he sell the car for peanuts. A used car dealer will offer much more than that right? Think. Think Think. Yes. It is a scam.
Car Importing Scam
The scammer will post that he wanted to import say a Nexon to his home country but the government at his country isn't allowing it, so he wants to sell the car. I have heard of Rolls-Royce being imported from UK to India & say a mustang from USA to India, but never have heard someone import a Maruti, Tata or Mahindra to UK. Secondly, will a foreigner be so dumb to buy the Nexon first and then look for the import paperwork? I don't think so, It is clearly a scam to rip your money.
Govt Organisation car
The seller will post an advertisement telling that the car in question is a govt officer used car and come up with some reason for selling the car like govt officer transfer or officer isn't comfortable with that car etc. They will negotiate and expect you to deposit a sum of money as an assurance that you are buying the car and they'll assure you that it will be deducted from the final cost. This is an example of blatant cheating. Moreover, Govt used cars are sold through proper auction and/or tender process. It is impossible to sell an official govt property without using the tender process.
Takeaways for the buyer
Me & my friends have purchased numerous vehicles from the used car market from both a private seller and used car dealers. I am penning down my experience, which will help others from getting robbed of their hard earned money. Even today, whenever I buy, I always take someone along to observe seller's behaviour or vice-versa. Even though there are multiple scams coming up everyday and its almost impossible to list every probability, the below basic guidelines will mould you on what to look out for to distinguish a genuine seller from a scammer.
Inspection, Test drive and negotiation is totally free, from a straightforward seller. If someone is charging money for the same, albeit refundable, its a clear indication of a scam.
The transaction always happens in one stroke, DD in one hand, Paperwork & keys on the other hand. Never is payment first.
It is obligatory for the seller to provide a test drive, at least inside his apartment complex or he could choose to ride the back seat.
Look for realistic prices. Low price quotes are usually scams.
Inspect the vehicle at the owner's home or office and not at a public place like stations, malls etc.
If the seller talks fast or stammers or gives diplomatic answers when asking questions or passes over the question to someone else, it is again a scam. If I am selling my car, I will know all about it and will for sure answer all questions right, even if i am woken up from sleep.
If seller counter charges you or shouts back at you, it is implied he is hiding something. People will avoid questions to a person with bad attitude. He is using this trick to rip you off.
Check if the buyers focus is only on money or to get an advance amount. This is again a scam to rip you off some paltry amount. Genuine seller wont ask for a rupee till the deal is finalised. It is logically understood that cash would be exchanged at the time of key handover. too much focus on cash and payment is again a scam.
Seller should allow at least two people to look at the car. If the seller insists of only one person coming, he may have something to hide. It is easier to brainwash and change the mind of one person rather than two. Any excuse including apartment doesn't allow more than one person is pure nonsense.
In case the discussion is not going in the right direction, politely tell the seller that you will think over the deal and revert. Request your friend to indicate that he needs some tea or some snacks etc. this will be an indication to walk away from getting brainwashed by "teleshopping" kind of talking.
Seller shows attitude or anger that he is receiving many enquiries but no one is finalising the deal. Beware here. If someone is selling, he better be prepared to answer the same question multiple times to multiple people. If is taking out the frustration on you, again beware, maybe he is hiding something.
With respect to the above statement, if he is really busy and doesn't have time, think what prevents the seller from selling the car to a used car dealer directly? He might get a little less money but his time is compensated for - right?