Even though the vast majority of online trading is safe and legitimate it is important to beware of the common pitfalls that trip up unsuspecting consumers.
In recent years, according to GAUKMotors.co.uk, there has been a rise in the number of 'virtual car' scams, where a seller will advertise a car, claiming it is out of the country but located with a shipping company ready to import to the UK.
This means that the buyer will have to hand over the cash without even seeing the vehicle. Unfortunately, once the money is handed over, the car and the seller are never seen or heard of again.
Before you buy a vehicle make sure you read our ten-step checklist to avoiding online scams.
2. Loking for a car
When you are looking to buy a car make sure you use an online classified ad service that is a member of the Vehicle Safe Trading Advisory Group (VSTAG). The VSTAG were set up to combat vehicle related fraud and sites which are approved by them will have practices in place to protect buyers.
Never transfer money electronically to someone you don't know.
Never pay upfront for delivery.
5. Vehicle check
Conduct a vehicle check to ensure it is legitimate. Before you buy a used vehicle you can check its details to see if it's been stolen, written off or has any finance outstanding against it. You cancheck online
or by telephone using services from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and private vehicle check companies.
6. Upfront payment
Never provide money in advance, no matter how convincing the seller is.
7. View the vehicle
View the vehicle and consider investing in a professional inspection before buying.
8. Be wary
Be wary of incredible bargains as there is likely to be a catch, i.e., a stolen vehicle.
9. Be prepared to walk away
Walk away if the seller cannot produce the vehicle registration documents, MOT and service history.
10. Is the seller legitimate?
Make sure the seller is legitimate by meeting them at their home address and checking that the vehicle is registered on the V5 at that address.
11. Too good to be true?
And remember, if it seems too good to be true it usually is, walk away.