How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off When Buying or Selling a Car

The used car market is a minefield of traps for the unwary customer. Whether you’re buying or selling a car, there will be unsavoury characters trying to squeeze every cent they can out of you.

While many car-related financial scams are easily avoided with a little common sense, it’s a lot harder to avoid being ripped off when dealing with a car in the metal. Sometimes your lack of mechanical knowledge may take your car buying or selling journey down a rocky path.

Luckily, you can avoid the worst pitfalls with some basic car knowledge. Knowing your stuff means you can deal with confidence, avoiding the worst of the scams out there.

Here’s how to protect yourself from the car cheats out there and what to look for, for both buyers and sellers.

When Buying a Car

Know the Value of a Car

Before you even look at a used car, you should know how much to pay for it. You can check a car’s market value based on make, model and year of manufacture. Insurance companies do that all the time to determine the value of premiums, and that is a good place to start.

The actual value of the car may vary based on other factors like mileage, condition and color. But by getting a ballpark figure, you can avoid paying too much (or get suckered into a deal that’s too cheap).

Check the Car’s Paperwork

The first thing to check on a used car is its paperwork – the inspection report, service records, among other documents. A good used car should have all those in order. If those are present, you can be certain that the previous owner cared for and maintained the car well.

Another thing you need to check is that the chassis number and engine number on the car match the numbers shown on the title. If the numbers don’t match, you might end up buying a stolen and/or badly repaired car. Walk away if this happens.

Inspect the Car

Though motor vehicle inspection is a technical discipline in itself, non-mechanically inclined customers can perform some simple checks to ensure they’re not getting ripped off.

A simple but very important check you can do is accident damage to the chassis. Check that the body panels line up with each other on both the left and right sides. Check also that the paint matches. Realigning, welding back and repainting a smashed chassis is extremely difficult. A repair job after a major accident will show most clearly in inconsistent gaps and mismatched paint between the doors and the fenders.

That way, you can ensure you are not getting ripped off by purchasing a vehicle that has been in a major accident.

Test Drive the Car

Before you buy a car, always test drive it. If the seller is cagey about letting you test drive the car, it’s a red flag that there may be major issues with the car. This is why at Carsome, we’re always open for test drive bookings – just browse for a car and schedule your appointment online.

Always insist on going for a test drive. By doing that, you can spot any mechanical maladies when the car is running. As always, ensure that the car runs well, the gears shift smoothly, and all the electrics work. You can even turn the test drive into an advantage for you – minor faults can be used as bargaining chips to drive the price down.

Read: Get Ready for Your Test Drive with These Useful Tips 

Beware of Hidden Fees

Lastly, there could be the unwanted surprise  of hidden fees once you agree to purchase the car. Sometimes, the difference between the advertised price of the car and the on-the-road price can be up to several thousand ringgit.

These ‘fees’ include insurance and handling the paperwork for you. To be fair, the paperwork involved in buying a car can be tedious if it’s your first time doing it. But the time and effort involved may not be worth what shady dealers can quote. Remember, if you haven’t signed anything, it is your right to walk away.

When Selling a Car

Know How Much Your Car is Worth

Knowing how much you can expect to sell your car for is already half the battle won. Similar to buying a car, you can check the market value of your vehicle by referring to the valuation of insurance companies. This way, you can avoid getting lowballed or getting suckered into a sale that’s too good to be true. Alternatively, you can book a quick inspection with Carsome, where our skilled inspectors will conduct a 175-point check before letting you know the market value of your car.

Know Your Car’s Condition

As we drive our cars daily, they can sometimes develop faults that we are not aware of. Common hidden faults include worn suspension, engine components, or a failing gearbox.

Therefore, before listing your car for sale, it’s a good idea to get it checked by a trusted vehicle inspector such as Carsome’s trained and qualified inspectors.  With Carsome, our inspections are completely free. To top it off, Carsome will offer to buy your car right off the bat, which means you save the hassle of advertising it yourself. However, if you do check out other outlets for an inspection, it may come with a cost of a few hundred ringgit.

Importantly, by knowing your car’s condition, you can avoid getting ripped off by buyers who may lie about imaginary faults to drive the price down.

Be Careful During the Test Drive

Tales abound of cars being stolen from under the noses of prospective sellers. By taking a simple precaution, you can cut down the chances of this happening drastically.

That is, you should be in the car during the test drive as well not only for security, but also to answer any queries your buyer may have. Ideally, bring a family member or friend along for the test drive as well. It’s always good to have safety in numbers. For added security, you can hang on to the buyer’s driving licence or identification card just in case.

Peace of Mind Buying and Selling with Carsome 

A Painless Buying Experience

For customers not used to buying and selling used cars, it can be daunting. Thus, buying a car online through Carsome makes the process as transparent, seamless and convenient as possible.

When buying a car through Carsome, there are no hidden fees. The price you see on the website is the price you will pay to put the car on the road. You also need not be physically present to inspect the car as Carsome listings provide a detailed report with clear pictures. You can check out Carsome car listings here.

Additionally, all Carsome Certified cars come with  a Carsome Promise that ensures you complete peace of mind with your purchase.

This is our Carsome Promise:

  • Professional inspection: All Carsome Certified cars go through a 175-point inspection to ensure it is free from major accidents, frame, fire, and flood damage.
  • Five-day money-back guarantee: If you buy a Carsome Certified  car and happen not to like it, you can return it back to us within five days for a full refund. No questions asked!
  • One-year warranty: Our journey with you does not stop after you buy a car. We will give you an extended warranty to ensure your vehicle is covered in your first year.
  • Fixed price: The price you see on the listing is the actual full price of the car with absolutely no hidden fees. We practice full transparency in our costs to ensure you know exactly what you are getting.

A Seamless Selling Experience

Selling your car to a  trusted buyer can help ease many of the headaches associated with the process. This is why selling through Carsome is extremely convenient, and you can get paid in one hour*. What’s more, all the tedious paperwork is handled for you.

To start the process, just book an inspection online at carsome.my/sell-car. A Carsome representative will call you to confirm your details and schedule your inspection at your nearest Inspection Center. Attend your scheduled inspection and our skilled inspectors will conduct a 175-point inspection on your car before offering you a price.

After inspection, we will offer a price for your car on the spot, or you can opt to put your car up for live bidding where our dealers nationwide will bid for your car – you may get up to 20 percent* more than market value.

Get the best deal for your car and make it Carsome!

*Terms and conditions apply