The Main Scams to Look Out for When Shopping for a Used Car


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Understandably, many motorists have a great deal of anxiety when shopping for a used-car. The market is rife with scams and con artists looking to rip you off, but with a little care and knowledge you can navigate the market and know when to walk away from a deal. Be wary of these scams and always carry out thorough checks before parting with any cash.

Cut n Shut

A cut n shut is a vehicle which has been assembled from two or more automobiles. This is illegal and the car will be dangerous to drive. Avoid buying a cut n shut by carefully examining the bodywork for mismatched panels and check the VIN number against the numbers on the engine and documentation.

Escrow Fraud

This scam involves the seller stating that the car is currently abroad and will be shipped once payment has been made to a third-party. This will be a fake third-party set up by the seller who will disappear as soon as the money has been transferred. This can be avoided by always viewing a car in person and by insisting on choosing the third party if necessary.

Outstanding Finance

Many motorists now buy vehicles on finance, but they are not allowed to sell the automobile until all the payments have been made or a settlement has been made with the finance company. Despite this, some motorists will attempt to sell the vehicle and this will result in the buyer having the car repossessed down the line. Avoid this scam by a number plate changes check carried out by a company like HPI.

Rental Scam

The rental scam involves the seller hiring a car and then offering deals to a large group of buyers in a short time frame and pressuring them into placing a deposit to secure the car. They then simply pocket the money and return the vehicle. This can be avoided by asking to see the car documentation and not putting a deposit down unless you know the seller.


One of the more common scams – clocking is where the odometer has been wound back to make the car appear not as far travelled. Carefully examine the area around the odometer for signs of tampering and get a history check carried out, which will show the mileage at the last MOT.

It is important to be aware of these scams and always take your time, carry out history checks and never part with your money unless you are sure that the seller and vehicle are legitimate.


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