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Car Fraud A Growing Concern On Auction Sites Like Ebay

Aug 17, 2007
All one has to do is troll through the car auction listings on Ebay and you will see hundreds if not thousands of fraudulent listings. They stand out when you see a deal that is just too good to be true. Right now, searching through the keyword Ferrari I find many in the normal range of $100,000 plus, but there is one 2006 that is selling for $30,000. Why is it selling for less than 1/3 of its value? There is no mention of a wreck or damage and it has low miles. This is because it is most likely a fraudulent listing. There are many listings like this and this is only the start.

Some you can quickly tell by the poor English in the listings description. Much of this online car fraud is from overseas. Don't rely on the sellers feedback or country of origin as profiles have been bought and sold over the internet. Someone from Romania or Italy can easily use a bought or stolen Ebay profile with great feedback to lure unsuspecting buyers. They copy some pictures from the internet or another sellers listing and put a great price on the listing so it will sell quickly. Some buyers get so caught up in the low price that they become blind to the signs of this car fraud:

1) Poor English throughout the listing description.

2) Fraudulent escrow services (look for contact information and contact them. Also look for poor English and bad phone numbers).

3) Emails that don't go through Ebay or Yahoo Auctions (Many of these fraudulent transactions have occurred because someone emails a bidder that is not the winning bidder and tells them they are and to send them their last bid price - All Ebay transactions will have winning bidder notifications from and through the Ebay email system).

4) Also watch out for fraudulent promises. Car salespeople at car dealerships are notorious for this. Get any promises in writing. If the car has a warranty and what is actually covered can be quite different from what the salesperson says. Remember, the salesperson doesn't care about you and only wants a quick sale. You must make sure it has the warranty you desire. The salesperson at Farmerville Motors stated that the entire emissions system on the car I purchased was covered for one more year - upon taking the car to a GM dealership it was found that only the catalytic converter was covered, not any part of the OBD and emissions system. Get it in writing.

5) Inspections and Emissions. Just as important as warranties is whether the car can even pass inspection in your state. I can not state this enough - every state has its own inspection and emission requirements. I recently bought a car through Ebay from Farmerville Motors in Monroe, LA. I specifically asked if the car would pass inspection in my state, North Carolina. I was told it was in great condition and that it would pass in my state without any problems. I bought the car, drove it back, and later found it couldn't pass inspection because the OBD system had been tampered with and was inoperable. Don't rely on a sellers word.- get it in writing!

6) Undisclosed flood and frame damage. This is a big one. Unscrupulous car dealers and body shops are selling crashed cars and flood cars, doctoring titles, not properly listing damages and repairs done to make a quick dollar. With the advent of over the internet sales which are basically done sight unseen and based on seller reputation and feedback crooks are coming out in droves. Just search for car fraud on Google or Yahoo. You will see thousands of articles, victims, etc...Be careful and do your homework. Don't send payment or sign any paperwork until you see and checkout the car. Don't become a victim like I did - the car Farmerville Motors in Monroe, LA sold me upon a thorough examination had been involved in a possible unreported flood - no wonder the OBD system didn't work.

Online car fraud is here to stay. Take a few minutes to dig deeper into the deal. See if it is or even seems fraudulent or fishy. If it is don't go through with it. As the old adage says, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." There are many good sellers and even car dealers out there, but there are just as many fraudulent sellers and dealers that you need to watch out for. Don't become a victim of online car fraud like I did.
About the Author
David Maillie specializes in automotive safety products and information. He holds numerous patents and awards for his patented headlight cleaner and restorer. For more information, tips, safety and money saving products please visit mdwholesale.com
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