Getting another car is going to be a major investment. Salvage auto auctions online are gaining popularity among buyers who do not have the budget to fit in a new car.
A salvage auto auction offers potential buyers the opportunity to find some of the best deals on affordable vehicles that are just a few years old, along with many added perks, such as warranties and lower prices.
That said, there are also many online scams out there that could make you end up paying more than you’ve bargained for. To make sure that doesn’t happen, here are a few tips that you can use when going to an online car auction.
What Is Title Jumping?
Title Jumping is the incident when somebody purchases an automobile and subsequently sells it without titling it in their own name. The action, sometimes known as “floating a title,” is prohibited mainly because a title is a state-maintained record of the ownership history of the car.
It is important to note that the buyer might get into trouble if there are problems at the DMV, such as missing signatures and unpaid fees, because title hopping leaves no evidence of the former owner. Even while a jumped title doesn’t always indicate that the seller is trying to con you, you may avoid a lot of hassles later on by simply fixing the problem before the sale or by shopping somewhere else for an auction vehicle.
Likewise, a dealer needs additional licensing whenever they sell a particular volume of vehicles annually. Shady dealerships employ title hopping to get around the need to legally report each vehicle sold for various reasons.
When buying a car through private-party transactions, buyers should be especially watchful about title jumping. People may easily connect with others nearby and get bargains on affordable used automobiles thanks to online purchasing sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.
However, these platforms offer few, if any, safeguards for customers or sellers who fall victim to fraud. To make sure that doesn’t happen at an auto auction, always sign and date the title when purchasing a car, and register it as soon as possible in your name.
So, you’ve been a victim of title jumping; now what? If the state’s motor vehicle agency offers them, new buyers could get issued a bonded title by paying a surety firm for a lost-title bond. This is when you lack the appropriate paperwork to demonstrate your ownership.
Before you may file for a clean title, your title will be marked as “bonded” for a while, during which time someone may make a claim on your bond by claiming they are the owner of your car. While each state has its own rules, those that permit bonded titles often demand that the bond be held for three to five years.
Cloning, Switching, or Swapping the VIN
This is one of the most popular online scams used by con artists. A vendor may change the Vehicle Identifying Number (VIN) in a relatively recent scam known as “VIN switching” in order to conceal the car’s condition or pass off a stolen vehicle as a genuine one. Law enforcement will impound your car if you later learn that the VIN was switched.
Similar frauds include “VIN cloning,” in which con artists use the VIN of a lawfully owned car on their own vehicle. Since licensing organizations don’t inspect the vehicle for duplicate VINs, this kind of fraud is rarely discovered. The National Crime Bureau provides a free online VINCheck tool you may use to confirm if your automobile has been stolen or had its VIN altered.
Avoid the Escrow Account Scam
Making a bogus escrow account is another method fraudsters use to get their victims to pay beforehand. This strategy has the potential to trap consumers who are understandably wary about sending money to strangers they have never met before they receive the automobile. The issue is that there is no escrow account, so the money goes straight to the con artist, who then takes off with it.
To be safe, never pay in advance, especially if the money is going to an ostensibly reliable escrow company. Follow the standard procedures of seeing the seller, inspecting the automobile, having it examined, and finally making sure you make the winning bid and closing the deal. Escrow fraud is particularly prevalent with custom or exotic automobiles, especially when they are sold at a significant discount from the price in the open market.
The Odometer Scam
To be safe at an auto auction, start by carefully reading the title. The reported mileage and the odometer reading should be similar. There can be an issue if the mileage is muddled or hidden on the title. When you test drive it, look for signs of tampering with the odometer and confirm that it is recording miles. A VIN report from a company like CarFax can also reveal the real mileage of the vehicle in this situation. Walk away if the automobile appears to have more wear and tear than the miles the odometer indicates.
Always Inspect “As Is” Auction Vehicles
Many salvage vehicles are sold at an auction on an “as is” basis. It is important to be wary of such deals. Such as, the automobile cannot be taken to a technician for an inspection, and it is typically sold “as is” with no warranties. Unless the title is proven to be counterfeit, all sales are final. Verbal pledges are meaningless; pay no heed to them. Because they always win at the auction, you don’t want to be in a scenario where it is your word against theirs.
The ‘Too Good to Be True’ Deals
When it comes to buying a vehicle at an online car auction, if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam. This can be a tricky one to spot since it seems obvious that you’re looking to purchase a salvage vehicle at an affordable price.
While it is easy to find some great deals at an auto auction, you must always stay alert. Avoid falling for a con that seems too appealing. The Internet has made it much simpler to discover and purchase cars, but it has also made it quite simple for dishonest people to “catfish” others by offering them cars that don’t live up to their promises. Always aim for the best deals at an auto auction, but be smart enough to recognize when a purported offer can’t possibly be true.
The vehicle’s title information at an auto auction can be changed or altered in a number of ways, as in odometer fraud, to make the automobile appear to be worth more than it actually is. The most harmful incident is if the online car auction alters the description of the body of the vehicle.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and insurance companies will classify the title as clear, clean, rebuilt, or salvage, depending on the condition of the car. Cars that require extensive repairs that are more expensive than the automobile is worth are referred to as “salvages.”
For instance, if the vehicle was vandalized, flooded, or damaged in an accident. Cars that have been salvaged seldom fetch high prices. To increase their profits, used automobile con artists discovered ways to modify the vehicle’s classification. For more useful information such as this and to find the best-used vehicles at an auto auction, turn to RideSafely.