Shady car dealers are few and far between, but they do exist. Keeping your wits about you can prevent you getting ripped off. To help you avoid potentially dodgy deals, here are six warning signs to look out for.
Attempts to conceal faults
A trustworthy seller will own up to any faults or damage on a car. If you find faults yourself that haven’t been mentioned, it’s worth bringing these up with seller. Some sellers will genuinely forget to mention issues or may even overlook problems, however others may deliberately try to hide faults. Things to be wary of include odd noises and attempts to paint over damage. It could be worth bringing somebody with you who has mechanical knowledge if you suspect there could be hidden faults.
You should check that valid documentation is supplied such as a V5C and MOT certificate. On top of ensuring this documentation is in place, you should check that details match up with information found online – sites like The AA Car Check could be useful for checking the car’s history. Red flags to look out for include no driver history or no records of the current owner – this could be a sign that the vehicle is stolen!
No test drive
If you aren’t given the option to test drive a car before you buy, it could be a clear sign that something dodgy is going on. Many problems can only be discovered by taking a test drive – this could include steering issues, gear issues or weird engine noises. You don’t have to test drive a car before buying it, but you should always be given the option.
Unusual meeting place
If a seller wants to meet up in an unusual location, it could be because they don’t want you to know their address. This could be a sign that the car has hidden faults and that they plan to cut off contact with you when the sale is over so that you can’t get your money back. Always buy from a dealership or from a private seller’s home so that you have an address to rely on if the car turns out to have faults you weren’t warned of.
If you’re buying from a private seller, you’re not going to be given a warranty. This is one of the advantages of choosing a dealership – many companies like Crystal Motor Company will offer AA extended warranties. If the car then turns out to have faults in the following weeks after purchase, you will be able to get a refund or free repairs depending on the warranty. Giving this option usually shows that a dealer is confident about the quality of their vehicles and that they do not want to rip you off.
Bad online reviews
When it comes to dealerships, another warning sign to look out for is bad online reviews. This is a clear sign of poor customer satisfaction, which could mean that the dealer is ripping people off. Online reviews are hard to hide from nowadays – the likes of Google reviews and Trustpilot are always worth checking.