Car buyers: Exercise caution before handing over cash
Everyone likes a bargain and getting a sweet deal on a new set of wheels can be cause for celebration, but be cautious
before handing over cash.
Recent news reports of two couples who were fleeced of $50,000 between them in separate but nearly identical scams – one
involving the fake sale of a campervan and the other a caravan – proves that caution rather than trust must be the rule
applied when considering expensive vehicle purchases.
AA Motoring Advisor Cade Wilson says the two incidents highlight that there are duplicitous people willing to take
advantage of others’ trust.
The two couples were attracted by advertisements for the vehicles being sold urgently with a relatively low price
attached. After making contact with the fake seller, they then transferred funds to an offshore bank account without
even seeing the vehicles. The vehicles were to be transported from Dunedin. The fake seller then requested more money
Mr Wilson says sometimes people do advertise a vehicle with a low price, often because they need to dispose of it
“There are legitimate reasons for a too-good-to-be-true price and buyers can benefit from that, but do your due
diligence to ensure the deal is real,” he says.
“For lots of reasons it’s risky buying a vehicle sight unseen, even if the deal is valid. Pictures don’t show everything
and even a quick inspection can determine if there are any issues that might warrant a lower price.”
Mr Wilson says an AA Vehicle Inspection prior to purchase is a good tool to determine you’re getting what you expect to.
“If you must buy something sight unseen, then a pre purchase Vehicle Inspection is a good way to get peace of mind and
it also proves the vehicle is in the hands of the seller you’re dealing with. If the seller is reluctant to allow access
to the vehicle for an inspection, then walk away from the deal.”
Additional checks such as an AA Vehicle History Report will also provide information including current and previous
owners, finance owing or police interest
“Remember a legitimate seller wants to dispose of the vehicle and is unlikely to put up barriers if a potential buyer is
seeking more information. If there is any doubt, buyers shouldn’t part with any money.”