How to Lose a Car in 10 Days

How buyers including bad credit car loan buyers can avoid fraud by purchasing from a licensed dealer

Be careful out there

At Auto Credit Express we are constantly educating our customers on the best way to go about purchasing a new or used vehicle with a bad credit car loan. Today, however, we’re going to explain why buying from a licensed dealer can help you avoid “holding the bag”.

Car dealers versus the internet

From research to the actual purchase, the internet has changed the way most people buy cars. There is a common perception, true or not, that internet buyers will get a “better deal” than buyers walking into dealer showrooms. At the same time, the internet has also been a boon for private sellers – as this group can now get their vehicles in front of thousands of more “eyeballs” than in the past (when a private seller might be lucky to get a few hundred people to view a car parked in the driveway with a “for sale” sign in the window).

But the internet has also changed the way some unscrupulous sellers can get rid of wrecked, damaged and even stolen cars, and buying a car from a private or online seller also has its downside – a downside that can prove to be a very expensive one.

It’s important to realize that automobile dealers – legitimate automobile dealers – are regulated by both state and federal governments. These dealers must maintain a physical place of business and sell only from that location. Most dealers – especially new car dealers – have been doing business in their respective communities for years. Not only are they here now, they will be there tomorrow, as well. This is not the case with private sellers and a recent press release from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) vividly makes this point.

photo courtesy NICB

photo courtesy NICB

Where it started – theft in Florida

According to the NICB, this particular saga began on February 1st, 2008 when a 2007 Cadillac Escalade was stolen in Coral Gables, Florida. After the theft, the real VIN plate was removed and a counterfeit VIN plate was attached to the vehicle and a clean New York title was obtained.

Using this title, the vehicle was sold on a major online auction site to a limousine company (that had no idea the vehicle was stolen) in Orange, California. The limo company proceeded to convert the vehicle and the resell the (now) Escalade limousine to a Texas businessman for $125,000.

When the businessman attempted to obtain a Texas title for the vehicle, the VIN was run through NICB and checked against a database supplied by Experian Automotive, which quickly identified the VIN as being (you know where this is going) counterfeit.

Eleven days ago on July 10th, an agent from the NICB accompanied by a Texas Department of Public Safety auto theft investigator located the Escalade in Corpus Christi and seized it.

An expensive lesson

“Consumers need to exercise sound judgment when buying used vehicles from private parties or online services,” said Joe Wehrle, NICB president and chief executive officer. “In this case an innocent purchaser may be out thousands of dollars as a result of this transaction. So, if in doubt, check it out carefully before you hand over the cash.”

According to the NICB, the public can use their free VINCheck® system to verify a legitimate VIN number simply by visiting the organization’s web site at: www.nicb.org.

The Bottom Line

While the internet has certainly made the process of buying a car much easier, it has also opened the way for unscrupulous private sellers to defraud buyers out of millions of dollars a year by using tactics such as title washing to commit outright fraud. Given the choice of buying a vehicle from someone we’ll never see again, or from a dealer that will be there for service and parts after the sale, those of us here at Auto Credit Express will pick the dealer every time.

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau

Posted on July 21, 2009 by in Uncategorized
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