In the modern age, car buying is increasingly moving online. This enables buyers to conduct more research, match prices more accurately, and avoid the pressure that salespeople can apply. However, there are also concerns with online car shopping that don’t come up with in-person shopping. The biggest one is safety and security. How can you ensure that the seller is who they say they are? How can you avoid scams? Here are our team’s recommendations for buying a new ride on the Internet safely:
Get as much information about the car as you can.
This seems like a no-brainer, but there are multiple steps to it. You need to make sure that you get the car’s VIN and registration from the seller. If they’re cagey about this, it’s a clear sign that they’re trying to pull a fast one on you. This information about the individual vehicle can help you determine its history and see if the seller is hiding anything from you.
You should also do research on the vehicle’s year, make, and model. What issues typically come up with this kind of vehicle? Is it at the usual mileage when these issues tend to crop up? These are important questions you should know the answers to before buying.
Even though you’re buying online, don’t hesitate to see the car (and seller) in person.
It’s incredibly convenient to do all of your shopping online, but if you can see the car in person, you should. This way, you can confirm everything that the seller has told you about the car: its VIN, mileage, condition, and anything else you may want to confirm.
Make sure you don’t go alone to one of these meetings, though. Another person can help you stick to your budget, and having another pair of eyes on the car is never a bad idea either. On top of that, sometimes robbers pose as private car sellers to lure people out to remote locations by themselves. With another person in tow, the odds of getting robbed go down a lot.
Use a traceable method to pay for your car.
When it comes time to pay for your new ride, you should ensure you’re using a traceable method of payment. This means using a credit card or check to pay. If your seller insists on you using something less traceable, such as a money order or cash, you may be in for a scam.
Following these tips can help you stay safe while shopping for or buying a car online. Of course, the best advice we can give you is to not fear walking away from a deal. If you get the feeling that something is off, it’s better not to spend the money. Other deals will come your way; no deal is worth risking your safety.