Used Car Fraud Prevention Tips
Know What You Are Buying!
There are literally hundreds of thousands of used vehicles sold in North America every year that are not road worthy and do not meet Industry Standards.
There are thousands of salvaged vehicles bought every day that are rebuilt and sold to unsuspecting buyers who believe they are getting a great deal on a newer model vehicle. The only problem is that the airbags are missing, the front end may have been tacked on with the wrong type of welding material or the frame may still be bent from the accident in which the vehicle was declared a write-off. Otherwise the vehicle may appear to be in great shape, the dealer or seller probably even polished it up so it looks great.
These vehicles are supposed to be inspected by Government Certified Licensed Inspectors who are deemed qualified to determine the safety and road worthiness of a vehicle that has been rebuilt and/or imported from out of Province or State.
For an additional fee, certified documents can be purchased from unscrupulous Inspectors by unscrupulous Car Dealers or Sellers indicating that the vehicle passed Inspection. Many of these vehicles would never pass a legitimate Inspection and you the Consumer would never know prior to purchasing it. This can jeopardize your safety and that of others.
It is important therefore that the proper due diligence is conducted to determine the vehicle's history. Here are some questions that you should ask before you buy a used vehicle:
- Is the vehicle an out of State or out of Province vehicle?
- Is this a Rebuilt vehicle? Is it registered as a Rebuilt vehicle?
- Has the vehicle been inspected by a Government Certified Inspector?
- Who inspected it and may I see the Inspection document?
- Is this the original mileage? (average of 12,000 miles or 20,000 kms per year)
- Is there a warranty?
- If a private sale, be extremely careful; ask the seller how long he/she has owned the vehicle. Ask the Seller for I.D. and compare the name to that on the Registration form.
- Look around the yard. Are there other vehicles being sold? Does it appear that other vehicles are being repaired there? If so, you may be buying a rebuilt vehicle, and/or dealing with a curber (an individual selling cars without being licensed to do so).
- Did the Seller want to meet you at a location other than his/her residence or place of Business?
- Does the wear on the seats reflect the mileage that is on the odometer?
- Always check to see if there is a lien on the vehicle.
- If the price of the car and the mileage are both unusually low, you are likely buying a rebuilt vehicle.
- Compare the Vehicle's Identification Number on the dash to the one on the driver's door-jamb and to the one on the registration form. Do they match?
Here is what you can do to conduct some due diligence on your own regarding the history of the vehicle. Obtain the 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number that is displayed on the dash near the windshield on the driver's side. In most States and Provinces you will be able to get a vehicle history from your local Motor Vehicle Branch or Department of Motor Vehicles. If the vehicle is from out of State or Province they will likely not be able to supply you with the information. www.carfax.com (USA queries) and www.autofacts.ca (CDN queries). These Resources will immediately provide a detailed vehicle history which includes odometer readings on most North American Vehicles. If you are serious about purchasing a vehicle, have a mechanical inspection done by a reputable Licensed Mechanic.
Take the vehicle to a reputable Auto-body Shop and ask them to conduct a structural integrity inspection to determine if it has ever sustained major damage and to determine if it is a rebuilt vehicle. Get them to check the vehicle's airbag; does it have one and does it work? Keep in mind that rebuilt vehicles have a lesser value than vehicles which have never sustained damage and vehicles that come from areas where a lot of salt is used in the winter will be much more prone to rust in the future.