ROME – The dream car is always around the corner, and buying it from online retailers has become quite widespread. At the same time, however, the number of scams has increased: some ad sites show sparkling cars, in much better condition than reality. “Being able to identify faulty vehicles is difficult, especially when you are not an expert,” explain the technicians of StressFreeCarRental, a car rental company. Here is a series of tips that you should consider before venturing into online shopping.
Check the revision history. For all cars over four years old, it is mandatory to carry out a review every two years, the result of which is reported in the vehicle registration document. If the inspection has expired, you can incur a fine and a deduction of the points on your driving license.
Ask the seller for other documents, such as the vehicle manual and service book, to be sure this is a safe purchase. Failure to produce these documents should be a wake-up call. Even a partial service book can be useful in trying to reconstruct the history of a car, although this can hide any irregularities.
A car that looks flawless doesn’t necessarily mean it’s hiding problems, but usually the listing price could be a clue. It is always good to do some research online to verify that the price is within the average.
Identity of the seller
The identity check of the seller allows to verify the credibility. Most scammers will try to communicate only through written messages, such as emails, and will purposely avoid telephone conversations. Instead, it is good to contact the seller by phone, in order to immediately establish a relationship of trust.
It is the riskiest time. Many dishonest sellers will ask for an upfront payment right from the initial interviews. They will try to get the money sent via international bank transfer, PayPal F&F, or any other way that is difficult to get the money back. To make a payment, use a more secure method, such as a credit card, cash, or check.
When making an online purchase, it is not always possible to inspect the car in person even if it is the only way to be sure that it has all the characteristics indicated in the ad. In addition, it is also a great opportunity to ask the seller to try the car.