Consumers can save a lot of money by buying a used car from a private seller rather than going to a dealership. Private sellers will usually sell for a lot less than a dealership would charge for a comparable vehicle. But, when buying from a private seller, consumers must be careful to avoid curbsiders.
A curbsider is a private person who is operating an unlicensed dealership. They frequently pose as private sellers on websites like eBay and Craigs List. But, instead of offering the old family sedan, they sell the junk that licensed dealerships do not want on their lots.
Many of the vehicles sold by curbsiders are the worst vehicles on the market. They include flood cars, vehicles with rolled back odometers, and vehicles with salvage titles. Many are in need of a new engine. These cars are often unsafe to drive, and they may need thousands of dollars in repairs.
Anyone thinking of buying a used car from a private seller must be extra cautious to avoid curbsiders. It is especially important to get an independent inspection when buying privately. It is also a good idea to purchase a report on the vehicle from Carfax or Autocheck.
Here are some warning signs that you may be dealing with a cubsider:
- The seller wants to bring the car to you or meet you in a public place other than his or her home.
- The name on the title does not match the name on the driver's license of the seller (Yes, ask to see the title and the seller's driver's license!)
- The seller does not have, or will not show you, the vehicle's service records, or the name on the service records does not match the seller's name.
- The seller has owned the vehicle for only a short time.
- The price seems too good to be true.
Remember, curbsiders are con artists. They may offer a good story about the car, but you should be careful. Consumers can save thousands of dollars by buying a privately owned vehicle, but many cars sold by curbsiders are big trouble.