Selling a car - is this a scam?(15 Posts)
DH has listed his old car for sale on Autotrader. He's had a message from a prospective buyer saying he can't come to our house for a test drive, as he doesn't have insurance to drive the vehicle away, but that he'd like us to drive to where he lives (100 miles away) and, if he likes the car, he will transfer us the money immediately via bank transfer and then drop us at the train station so we can catch the train home.
DH has pointed out he'd be out of pocket due to train fare and the man has offered to transfer him £100 before we travel down there, to cover our expenses.
This feels scammy to me but I can't put my finger on why. Any thoughts? Am I being sensible in suggesting we don't go?
All sorts of scammy possibilities there (they keep coming up with new ones to exploit bank transfer systems etc), but also it sounds like there is no guarantee he will buy the car anyway, so you could have wasted all the time and effort, as well as the possible expense. I would definitely say no and wait for a local buyer.
Its always riskier if you’re not meeting somewhere you’re familiar. And unless the cars really under priced or a really fancy rare model why would they need to shop so far a field for a car.. dm was offered similar but my dsf warned her n wouldn’t do it, he’d heard of people literally stealing the car once you got there and leaving you stranded.
Also if hes uninsured hows he dropping you at the station and getting the car all the way home.. surely if someone else is driving they could just come with him to you?
Even if it's not a scam, why would anyone do that
He is a cheeky fucker at best tbh
Sounds dodgy to me. Avoid.
I had someone trying to get me to believe he would travel from London to Glasgow to buy my 15-yo bog-standard family car.
If it quacks like a duck ....
Thank you both! DH thinks the insurance thing is credible - he reckons that people can test-drive cars if they have a particular level of insurance on their own car and the car they are driving is itself insured, but that that wouldn't apply once we'd sold the car and cancelled our own insurance on the car, and the man might be worried he can't get new insurance at the weekend? (Though plenty of insurance companies are open at the weekend - I know my insurer is...) Sorry if I've explained that badly, but my husband did say that he felt that part of the story did make sense.
I am concerned about the risk of either getting there and getting mugged, or there being some weirdness around the bank transfer which means we end up giving the man the car but not getting the payment. Obviously we wouldn't release the car to him until the money had arrived in our account, but I'm worried he could somehow reclaim the money, though I'm not sure how?
I hadn't thought about the more mundane risk of a wasted journey, but that is true - it would take us a couple of hours to drive down there, and a couple of hours to get a train back, so it would end up taking the rest of today, or most of tomorrow. The prospective buyer said he would want to see the car today or tomorrow, and that element of time pressure felt like a red flag to me.
It is a fairly unusual car in that it's an import, but it's several years old and not worth much, so I agree that it feels a bit odd that the buyer would expect either party to go to this much effort...
Rushing you into things is also a bad sign. I would also bet that if you did make the journey the buyer would turn round and offer you much less than the asking price, banking on you not wanting to have made a wasted trip (sunk costs fallacy).
@exexpat THANK YOU! That makes perfect sense. That is a real risk. We would be in a weak negotiating position. Perhaps that is this man's motive - perhaps he genuinely wants the car but wants to try and get it for less than it's listed for.
You can buy temporary insurance on the web for the purposes of test driving cars and also getting them home. Any period from 1 to 30 days of cover are available.
Update: having refused to travel 100 miles to this man's house, the man has now come back and said a friend of his lives fairly locally to us, and may contact us tomorrow to arrange a viewing so he can buy the car on his behalf. Tbh this reinforces my sense that this is dodgy, but DH says that there's no reason not to meet the friend if he comes round to our house. We know the basic rules about always accompanying the potential purchaser on any test drive, not accepting payment via Paypal etc.
Most scams attempts involve one or more of the following:
Email or text from someone that is not local to your area.
Vague initial inquiry, e.g. asking about "the item." Poor grammar/spelling.
Western Union, Money Gram, cashier check, money order, Paypal, Zelle, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee."
Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction
best Case scenario, this person is phishing for your bank details.
More likely scenario, they are phishing for your bank details and are going to steal your car.
Thanks @purpleartichoke - what can they do with sort code and account number (but no security code etc) other than send us money?
Forget it OP. A coincidence that the friend lives fairly local to you.
The prospective buyer is still supposedly keen to get his mate to test-drive the car tomorrow, but the email conversation has more red flags than the Labour Party annual conference, so DH has finally agreed it's a scam. Thank you all! The prospective buyer wouldn't even tell us his first name (only his surname), and had already said he would want a substantial discount on the purchase price, and various other details sounded fishy.
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