Buying a second-hand vehicle is a fantastic way to save money, while still retaining many of the advantages of buying new. You won’t be as vulnerable to sudden depreciation, you’ll have a far broader range of options, and you’ll spend far less.
With that said, the open market has the potential to sting the uninitiated – particularly those who haven’t done their research. Fortunately, you can usually avoid a bad experience with the help of some time-honoured wisdom. With that in mind, let’s run through a few tips that’ll keep you well clear of scammers.
Never send money in advance
Whenever you send money in advance of a purchase, you’re putting trust in the other party to fulfil their end of the deal. In the case of smaller purchases, this act of faith might not be such a big deal; if they don’t come through, then you haven’t experienced too much pain. But if you’re spending several thousand pounds on a car, it’ll hurt when they take your money and run. The best solution? Don’t send any money until you have the car in your possession.
Shop with reputable websites
The internet is bristling with unscrupulous sites looking to part paying customers from their money. These sites emerge overnight and disappear just as quickly, and they often come with extremely professional-looking front-ends. After all, if you’re scamming someone out of the cost of a car, you’ll be able to spend big on shiny graphics. The conclusion? Always look for somewhere reputable, and check their feedback on TrustPilot and other services.
Don’t believe online images
A picture says a thousand words – the trouble is, it can also say a thousand lies. Even if you ultimately do come into possession of the vehicle, a picture can be several years old, and might mislead you about the condition of your would-be purchase. If you’re savvy you might verify a picture by looking at its metadata. But to be safe: see the vehicle (and drive it) yourself before paying for it.
Don’t give out personal information
A total stranger on the internet doesn’t need to know your debit card information or your bank details. As an offshoot of this piece of advice, you should also be sure that you only send such information via encrypted connections. You’ll be able to tell when the webpage you’re browsing is encrypted; next to the URL at the top of the screen will be a little padlock icon.
Use an approved used dealer
A dealer with a fixed premises, like Fords of Winsford, will have a harder time upping sticks and leaving (though it can happen). Moreover, they’ll provide all of the paperwork you need, along with a guarantee from the manufacturer.