As consumers feel the financial pressure of a weakened economy, many people looking to buy a new car are considering pre-owned options. Although buying used can save you a bundle of money, watch out for used car fraud. The Better Business Bureau (BBB), a non-profit consumer marketplace watchdog group, has compiled a list of some of the more common scams and things to look out for when in the market for a used car:
- Odometer rollbacks. Used car dealers alter odometer readings to make it appear as though the car has less mileage. Documents showing inaccurate mileage information can also be forged. Lower mileage on a car can increase its value and consumers may pay more than what the car is actually worth.
- Damage disclosure, salvage and rebuilt titles. These titles are issued by the state when a car has sustained damage as the result of an accident, when an insurance company takes possession of a vehicle and when a damaged vehicle has been rebuilt or reconstructed, respectively. If a car has any of these titles, it may indicate that the car has sustained significant damage and its reliability could be compromised. A Junk title is issued when the state deems a car not road-worthy.
- Unauthorized or questionable dealers. The BBB warns consumers to avoid buying from vacant lots or from people otherwise posing as private individual sellers. These are common warning signs of a scam.
As a general rule, the BBB recommends that all consumers do thorough research on a used vehicle before purchasing.
If you suspect you have been the victim of used car fraud, California used car fraud attorney Howard D. Silver has extensive experience in defending the rights of consumers. Call today for a free consultation at (866) 46-LEMON.