5 Tips to Help You Purchase a Car Safely over the Internet

5 Tips to Help You Purchase a Car Safely over the Internet

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The internet has become one of the most useful tools of the modern age. Most people now use the web to do their banking, to plan and book vacations, to invest in the stock market and to map out the best route for a cross-country drive. There’s really nothing that cannot be accomplished with a steady broadband connection and a new computer. In fact, many people are even locating and purchasing their cars online. It may feel strange at first, handling a transaction that’s so expensive and complicated without actually being there in person. But as long as you approach it with eyes wide open and do your due diligence it is completely secure. Here are five tips to help you purchase a car safely over the internet.

One of your main concerns may be knowing whether the description of the car you are looking at online is complete and trustworthy. This is especially important if you’re considering buying a used car. It’s hard enough taking the word of a total stranger when you can look him in the eye. Online it’s next to impossible, and you should get answers you can trust. Start out by taking the vehicle information and researching it’s history through a site such as AutoCheck. For a small fee you’ll get access to detailed information about a vehicle’s previous owners, whether it was ever involved in an accident or a theft, and what the vehicle’s actual odometer reading is. That way you can compare the official information with what the seller is telling you, to make sure you’re not being taken for a ride.

Just as you’ll take the time to look into the vehicle’s history, you should also review the buyer’s history. Any website that handles transactions such as this will have a ratings system you can look through. If you’re negotiating with a dealer they should have a solid record of transactions, and reviews posted by previous customers. Take the time to check out these reviews and be wary of any red flags you uncover. The more positive reviews or ratings, the more confidence you can have in the transaction.

You should also request to see a copy of the vehicle’s title. A car without a clean title and ownership record cannot be sold, and you don’t want to get in the middle of any messiness on that count. If they aren’t willing to share the title with you, you should look elsewhere. The same goes if you see the title and it looks like it’s been doctored. And if they can’t come up with the title, definitely move on.

Once you’re confident in the deal, make sure you pay for the vehicle in a way that offers you protection. You should never make a transaction of this or any size through a wire service, or any other method that requires you to send cash without a receipt. If you are going to pay in cash, you’re going to have to handle that in person to protect yourself. Otherwise consider credit card services or Paypal, which is a protected way to move cash for online transactions.

Finally, don’t be swayed by an offer that is too good to refuse. The internet is a great place to track down incredible deals, but if it smells fishy force yourself to move on. There are a lot of scam artists out there, and the anonymous feel of the internet makes them incredibly brave. If you tracked down a new Land Rover Defender listed for the price of a used Toyota Corolla you should keep your distance. You may be a savvy shopper, but scams like that are designed to take advantage of your excitement.

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