So you’re in the market for a car, but don’t have it in your budget to buy new. There is no reason to feel frustration – these days one can find a nice pre-owned vehicle in good condition, and at a good price. Whether you work with a used car dealer or directly with the owner of the car, you can get the car you want at a price you can afford. It is not uncommon these days for people to research the Internet for possible buys, particularly Craigslist. However, as with any other resource, it’s important to proceed with caution.
Why do people use Craigslist to search for used cars? Unlike larger scale auction and classifieds sites like eBay, Craigslist is parsed by region, so you are able to search for car owners in your area. This makes it easier to connect with sellers and you don’t have to travel all over creation finding the right car to buy. If you go to the main Craigslist page and click on the “Cars + Trucks” link, you are certain to find a wide selection of available autos not only from owners, but select dealers.
Of course, some people are wary of using Craigslist due to the stories told of people ripped off during transactions, and even instances of people falling victim to crime after answering an ad. One must understand that such issues did not necessarily start with Craigslist – for one incurs the same risks answering a newspaper advertisement. It is important, if you decide to search this site for what you need, to be aware of risks when dealing with a private owner.
To this effect, Craigslist has a brief landing page that precedes their automotive listings. Here you will find the more obvious clues of a scam on the site – though flagged scams are quickly removed. A few things the site advises you look out for include:
- Dubious pricing on the vehicle. If it’s much lower than Blue Book value, you may want to reconsider.
- Insistence by the owner to ship the vehicle. It is common for buyers to get burned on such deals.
- Insistence on wiring money as payment. When making a large purchase, you need to use a method that is protected.
Craigslist also advices that some “quick sell” stories on listings may be linked to scam artists as well. It is important with a purchase like this that you obtain as much information about the car as possible. Do not buy your pre-owned car sight unseen and insist on seeing all paperwork connected to it. Act with vigilance and avoid being another statistic of Internet scams.