Skip to main content

10 Red Signs to Check for When Buying or Selling a Used Car Online

20 December 2021 AutoMarket, Tips & Advice

With used car prices in Australia finally slowing down for the first time since April 2020, now might be the right time to purchase that car you’ve wanted for a fraction of the price of a brand new car.

Getting a fair price can be the least of your concerns when buying or selling a car online. Fake ads might appear on legitimate auto sales websites, online classifieds, and online auction sites can include frauds in which non-existent second hand cars are selling at lower-than-expected costs.

Here is what to look out for:

1. Surprisingly low costs

If the price of a used car seems too good to be true, it probably is. If possible, you should inspect the vehicle in person and ask for an in-person inspection. You may also want to consider walking away from the sale if the price seems too low.

2. Suspicious Low odometer reading

If the year of the car does not match the number of kilometres reported to have been travelled, you should be suspicious. Request a referral from your state's road assistance association or motor merchants association. Check the vehicle's service manual for the odometer reading data to confirm. 

3. Scammers 

The most effective technique to discover if someone is a scammer is to phone their listed number while blocking your number. Legitimate sellers and purchasers should have no problem speaking on the phone, but scammers may limit communication to text messages or emails.

4. Sellers from other states or countries

Each state has various legislation regarding the registration of previously written-off automobiles. Therefore, you should verify with the applicable state and territory transport authorities. When dealing with international or interstate dealers, use caution because overseas consumer protection laws may apply or offer very minimal protection.

5. Sends car in a jiffy 

A typical fraud would propose to transfer a vehicle interstate in a short period. They will frequently offer to accomplish this through a third-party company and will demand the full payment of the vehicle up front. 

6. Strange email addresses

Scammers would use a valid name to conceal a bogus email address, so please check and verify the sources.

7. Meetings at someone's house

If you're planning to buy a car, do not give any information such as; your home or work address. If you're test-driving a vehicle, make sure your insurance covers you in the event of an on-the-spot inspection.

8. Pick pictures

When buying a car we get easily attracted to pictures, immediately jump to conclusions, get excited, but make sure those pictures are not limited, indistinct, taken from afar, or captured up close. Remember, you are allowed to ask for a follow-up request for more photos.

Furthermore, if the damage is mentioned in the ad, you have the right to request specific pictures of that damage.

9. SMS gone wrong

Scammers will occasionally target internet vendors by impersonating a possible buyer. The SMS sender will claim to be very interested in the listing and will make a substantial offer. These messages are typically sent by overseas scammers who wish to communicate by email or SMS.

10. Always in a hurry

Frauds usually like to bring up 'time' as if they are always in a hurry and have excuses that they have other meet-ups and would be relocating.

These may sound like a lot to remember when buying a car! What if we tell you there’s a faster and simpler way to buy and sell your used cars online? MotorMatcher is an ideal and safe marketplace for all car buyers and sellers, providing all the right tools and information to make an informed decision. Check us out today and start buying and selling cars.