Alright, so, after sleepless nights and hard days at work you finally saved up enough to buy a pre-owned car. And you’ve spend some quality time searching for the best way (or, rather, place) to shop for a used vehicle. At the end of the day you decided to go with Craigslist. Why not, right – it’s considered to be one of the greatest places to shop, to sell and to profit. However, there are some hidden stones in the process, and you gotta learn about all the ins and outs and know your way around this concrete jungle. There are two kinds of folks who go shopping on Craigslist: the first ones wanna be aggressive, edgy, and they try their best to negotiate a sweat deal; the second ones are not about all that hustle and just want to be treated fair and avoid those dodgy sellers who push, lie, try to steal your hard-earned cash and make you feel frustrated.
The Golden Rule: Don’t Go In Unarmed
I’ve been there: I’ve been in the industry for a while now, and know a thing or two about the hidden dangers of buying pre-owned cars. A lot of people are not even sure how to use the web-site for navigation and are really nervous about the deal – “What if I end up with a lemon in my hands?” There isn’t much to buying a used car, however, if you don’t even know the first thing about it, this thing can quickly turn into a real-world nightmare. There are countless stories out there when people with little to no experience lost a lot of money on bad deals or simply got a piece of junk instead of what they were promised. Well, don’t you worry: I’ve got some tips and tricks for you that will help a great deal and will make you feel strong and confident. And sometimes that’s all you need!
No Law Protection On Craigslist Deals Of Buying Pre-Owned Car
Alright, so, first of all, I gotta tell you something important: have you ever heard of the lemon laws? Basically, they provide protection to folks who buy pre-owned car that turn out to be in a really bad condition (as opposed to the advertisement) and/or fail to meet the standards of performance and quality. Well, that’s great! However, these lemon laws ONLY apply to car dealers in most of the American states. Yep, you got it – there’s literally no legal protection for you if you’re getting your used car from a so-called private seller. The majority of US states classify private vehicle sales as “as is” sales. Now, what that means in real life is that whatever condition the vehicle happens to be in when you buy it is entirely your problem to deal with – the law won’t even think about lending you a helping hand. So, for the most part, you got only yourself to rely on. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true techniques for protecting yourself and your wallet from dishonest and dodgy sellers.
The Desk Book For A Successful Purchase Of Pre-Owned Car
First of all, make sure to always get it all in writing. Yep, before you even get in contact with the seller, print out the page on Craigslist that has the info on the car’s and or any of the part’s condition. Pay extra attention to paragraphs that speak of new or recently repaired pars, be it the engine, the transmission or something in the interior. Keep your correspondence with the man in writing, even if it’s originally an SMS message or an e-mail. That’s right – I’m telling you to keep a paper trail to follow. Next, before going to the final inspection, make sure to ask all the important questions. For example, ask whether the car had recent repairs or not (and where they were done).
You can even go ahead and ask for the receipt, if you’re a bit paranoid. Plus, ask if the seller had any problems with the vehicle before. Then ask for a test-drive. Remember: no car sale deal goes on without a proper test-drive! Keep in mind that not every seller will be happy with the test, but you don’t have to worry about that: if they don’t want you to drive their car even for a couple hours, how can you trust it won’t break down after you buy it, right?
Have A Mechanic Inspect The Pre-Owned Car
This is another important step to remember – have a mechanic you know do a thorough check of the pre-owned car you’re about to pay for. If the mechanic does find some kind of flaws and issues in the vehicle, ask him to write it down on a piece of paper and use it later as a negotiation tool. In most cases the owners just want to sell the pre-owned car as soon as possible, so, they might agree to pay for the repairs. Hey, don’t ever let the seller choose the mechanic, because, chance are, he’ll be his best buddy and they’ll try to scam you. Trust me, there’s nothing more frustrating than finding out you’ve been robbed of your hard-earned bucks.
Don’t Forget About The Receipt And Never Pay In Cash
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what the receipt is written on, as long as you have it. Still, it’s important to have it so that you can use it to prove what and when you paid and to verify the condition of the vehicle. You gotta make sure that you AND the seller sign and date the receipt. Don’t get cocky – this can make it or break it later on in civil court. This might be an obvious thing to the pros that have been at it for decades, but to a Regular Joe paying in cash doesn’t really seem like a bad move. However, it is: true, cash can be a strong tool in negotiations, but legally there’s no way of knowing exactly how much you paid for the car. And no, your honest word won’t count. So, make sure to pay “legally” – how about a good-old check or the PayPal system?
Walk Away! Now! How To Spot A Dodgy Seller?
Alright, let’s try and figure out the signs that tell you to walk away:
– If the owner of the car, the seller, can’t produce a title, that might be your first “warning shot”. Or if the title he does produce looks sketchy to you.
– Next, if you see any sign of water damage to the car’s interior (like rust under the seats or brand-new upholstery) I’d recommend breaking the deal and leave.
– If there are tiny signs of fluid leaks around the vehicle that means some major problems for you (if you go ahead and by the car, of course).
– This one is a no-brainer: if you see (or smell) fresh paint that means the seller is trying to cover up the damages).
– Now, if you want the deal to go as “legal” as it can, you gotta check on the VIN: if the 17-digit VIN on the door doesn’t match the one on the dashboard that means the car’s stolen.
– And finally, if the seller is constantly moving the date of your inspection and/or test-drive, that means he’s got something to hide, and you don’t want to deal with a person like that, trust me. Because otherwise he should be more than happy to let you test/check the car.
Ok, so, what did we learn today? First of all, we learned that you can’t trust the seller’s promises on Craigslist and that you need to second-guess and doubt everything he says. I’m not saying you should go crazy with this stuff – just keep a fresh head and don’t let anybody fool you. Have the car inspected, always demand a test-drive and make sure to have everything in writing. Buying a private pre-owned car is like walking on thin air – gotta always look out for the cracking ice. So, remember the golden rules of any successful purchase: don’t let the seller pressure you into buying anything and learn to negotiate like a boss. And one final thing: keep in mind that you can always walk away from the deal, and he can’t, so, use that to your advantage and put your needs first. Well, that’s about it – the art of a successful purchase from Craigslist. Check back for the latest reviews, tips and tricks and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments!
Check out this video: Buying A Used Car On Craigslist In 2015 (How To Spot A Dealer, Flipper or Outright Scammer).