Buying vehicles through the internet

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by mstang67chic, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    The hubs is looking for a new (to him) truck and has been scouring the internet. Our problem is that when we contact private sellers for more information, they SEEM to be legit but something just doesn't ring true. Has anyone heard of any scams regarding big purchases like this and ones that are done through Ebays payment system? (secure pay or whatever it is)
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Ebay has some way of ranking how pleased "customers" are with a purchase. I know sister in law and Travis use this as a way to judge if someone is legit. Since I don't use Ebay I can't describe it any better than that though. Sorry
  3. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    That's the thing....the ads aren't on Ebay. We're finding them on Autotrader, Craigslist...all types of places. It's just that most of them want payment through Paypal or Ebays secure pay...something along that lines. The thing that get's us though, is that most of these "people" will email us (after we inquire about the ad) with some "just this side of odd" story (just got a divorce, shipping off to Iraq, got a company car) and how they will pay for shipping and it's like pulling teeth to get information out of them. That alone tells me something is up but I was wondering if anyone knows about any scams. (One of them had horrendous grammar but perfect spelling. And spelling of big enough words that if your grammar is that bad, you probably can't spell some of these words. Reeeeally tripped my alarms on that one)
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If you buy a car...make sure you do a carfax vehicle report. You can also make sure and check the persons ebay account for their history. Its a ranking system to let you know how they do. Also, if you use ebay and paypal for buying a car, you do have some protection against fraud. Read the details.
  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    The eBay ranking system relies on the users to post feedback on their experience with either the buyer or seller, depending on their perspective in the transaction. So each eBay user gets a total feedback number, as well as % indicating positive, negative or neutral. The higher the feedback rating with the higher % positive, the greater your likelihood of having a positive transaction experience with that buyer or seller.

    For example, I would NOT purchase a big-ticket item from anyone unless they had feedback rating of over 100 (as a seller -- keep in mind whether you buy or sell, your rating score totals the same. You have to actually go in and look at the individual transactions to see if that user is predominantly a seller or buyer, or a mixture of both), with nothing less than a 95% positive in ratings. You can also go in and see why someone gave a user a negative rating. Sometimes this is helpful, because you never know what the circumstances are. Sometimes things don't work out on a transaction for legitimate reasons.

    Hope that helps. I would try to spend some time on eBay to familiarize myself with the rating system so that when you DO find something you're interested in you'll know how to assess the seller.

    I've bought everything from fine art and furniture to teacups and jewelry on eBay. I've also sold stuff. Only had one really bad experience from someone who fraudulently represented something (and it's my fault for not paying attention to their feedback score, which was sketchy at best).

    Good luck! And remember, buyer beware!
  6. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    easy child looked for a vehicle on the internet this last Spring. We had a few weird situations. One was someone oversees who stated they were military and would pay the shipping to us. I never trust that - the expense of shipping is large - It would probably eat the cost of the car so something must be up there? I told husband there will be hidden charges that will be our responsibility.

    I would not trust anyone saying they were with the military - I really think there are frauds out there taking advantage of our patriotism.

    My husband always asked for the vehicle number (I believe VIN#). If they are not willing to give it - no deal for sure. If they do give it ALWAYS run it through a vehicle check - they are hoping that because they gave it that you will trust them - we found out one vehicle had a salvage title which was not disclosed to us.

    Never give your financial info until you are sure the sale is safe. My sister buys vehicles from internet, she said they only buy those they can see and try before the deal is done. She would be leary buying sight unseen
  7. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I don't know ... I would be afraid to buy any vehicle that I hadn't personally been able to check out and test drive, but maybe that's just me. They had a thing on TV a while back about people selling cars that had been submerged in floods and not disclosing it.

    If you do anything on eBay, don't just look at their feedback percentage rating, actually go to the feedback page and read every one! It used to be if you gave someone negative feedback they could take it to some kind of "mediation" through eBay and the bad rating would almost always be taken off there. The only negative feedback I ever gave someone was removed even though I wanted it to stay ... the guy was a real sleeze! But if you looked back, he had all kinds of negatives that had been removed!
  8. MyFriendKita

    MyFriendKita Member

    difficult child tried to buy a car on Craigslist, and the seller wanted to go thru PayPal, which I was open to, but they wanted all of our info before we even saw the car. I told difficult child to tell them we would provide all of that if we decided to buy the car, and to set up a date and time to look at it. Then suddenly the car was in another state, and the seller was too busy to arrange for us to see it. We did buy a motorcycle off of Craigslist, but the seller let us come and look at it first. We also bought a car off of eBay; the seller was legit, but the car was junk. I wouldn't recommend buying anything before you looked at it and drove it, as Donna recommended.
  9. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Another thing we faced: "Oh, don't worry about it. You can pay when the car gets to your place. If you don't want the vehicle, I will be able to sell it from there." What? That means we have a vehicle we don't own on our property waiting for the seller to buy? Will the seller bother us with allowing people to test drive? If the seller abandons the vehicle, we would need to deal with it.
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I agree with the advice not to try buying a car from Craigslist or eBay unless you get a chance to look it over and test drive it before committing to anything.

    That said, the internet is a great place to do research. One thing your Hub might consider is one of those Lease Breaker sites. There are people who want to get out of a car lease for some reason or other, and want someone to take over the lease or buy the car outright.

    The one here in Canada is, but I suspect there are similar ones in the U.S. How it works is: people who want to get rid of the car post an ad with photos of the car and details of the deal they're willing to make (such as "you can keep my $500 security deposit and I'll pay the transfer fee", or whatever). You select the cars you're interested in and send e-mail through the site. Then the rest is done in person. You make arrangements with the other party to view and test drive the car. When you find one you like, the transaction is handled through the dealership from which the car was leased.

    It works very well. You get the complete history on the vehicle, since the dealership is handling the financial part of the transaction, no one gets ripped off, etc.

    If there's something like that in your area, I highly recommend it. Feel free to PM me if you want more info.

  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We have bought cars off craigslist but the were always cash deals and we got to see them. our case...Jamie went and saw the car and test drove it.

    I considered buying my car off ebay but didnt. I was only going to do it if I was going to get one I could actually go visit. Or get someone I knew to go visit or pay a mechanic in that area that was not related to the seller to go do a check on the car.
  12. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My sister sells autos on ebay. She has no trucks right now. But, when I asked her I mentioned the concern of trust. She said ebay has a money back guarantee that you can sign up for.
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Anyone that offers to pay for shipping will take your money and run. It's a total scam. Narrow your search to people who are local to you and you can take a test drive. Get a VIN and run it through before you look at the car. Also check with the DMV and see if they will let you know if anyone has put in any "Lost Title Transfers", a sure sign of a stolen car.
  14. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    If you're buying online, ask them to get you a copy of the title and history - easy enough to scan in and email to you. This will tell you who actually owns the car and, more importantly, if it was one of those cars bought at auction (stay far, far away from those vehicles -- most of them are absolute trash .. the good ones are bought and kept).

    Sometimes the sob stories are done simply so you don't try to drive down the price. Amazingly, some are even true. More often than not, though, they are lull you into a false sense of security. If anyone offers to pay the cost of shipping, definitely do a thanks but no thanks and walk away from that deal.

    I do know of one instance where a man paid $14,000 for a car and never got it. This was after seeing the papers on it. There are always some willing to cheat others. One thing you can do to protect yourself is call AAA in the town where the car is and ask for the name of a reputable mechanic and have the mechanic check the car out.

    Good luck on your search.
  15. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Yeah, we're keeping our eyes open locally but some of these are just cracking us up. One we emailed, originally stated that the vehicle was in Montana. Now all of a sudden, it's sealed in a shipping container in San Jose all ready to go. Uh huh.

    Trinity, thanks for the lease busters idea. I'll have to look into that.