Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tips to Avoid Used Car Scams

A great piece on USA Today on how to avoid used car scams. Some of these tips may be obvious, but many people fall victim to these tricks every year. You can never be too safe. Con artists have stolen an estimated $50M from fake car ads over the past few years. Here are some highlights from the article:

  • If they price is too good to be true, it is probably fake
  • Sob stories (divorce, lost job, etc...) are always made up to make you believe the 'seller' needs to sell the car fast - don't fall for this trick
  • Don't pay people using Western Union or even pre-paid credit cards - you will have very little recourse to get your money back
Here are some tips from eBay Motors to watch out for when buying a car online:
  • Sellers who want to move the transaction from one platform to another (for example, from Craigslist to eBay Motors).
  • Sellers who claim that eBay's Vehicle Purchase Protection covers an auto transaction conducted outside the eBay site.
  • Sellers who push for speedy completion of the transaction and request payments via quick wire transfer payment systems.
  • Sellers who refuse to meet in person, or refuse to allow the buyer to physically inspect the vehicle before the purchase.
  • Transactions in which the seller and vehicle are in different locations. Criminals often claim to have been transferred for work reasons, deployed by the military, or moved because of a family circumstance, and could not take the vehicle with them.
  • Vehicles advertised at well below their market value. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More car loans are going to subprime borrowers

"Subprime borrowers received 56.46 percent of loans on used cars in the quarter, up from 52.70 percent a year earlier."

This fact in itself isn't too surprising since car loans are among some of the easiest loans to get. The 'no credit, no problem' mantras are always present at used car lots (especially the independent ones). Remember that car dealers have several ways to make money off an unsuspecting customer - unfavorable financing terms are one of the big ones.  Don't forget to watch out for the lowball trade-in values or phantom fees.

Some other interesting stats on car loans:

"The average amount financed for a new car rose $474 to $25,714. For a used car, the average amount financed rose $370 to $17,433."

"The average time to repay new and used car loans increased by one month, to 64 months for new cars and to 60 months for used cars."

Read the full article at the Chicago Tribune.

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