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Craigslist used car scams

 
lescooper
(@lescooper)
Advanced Member

I am looking to buy a used car. Lot of craigslist listings that are priced too good to be true. I have read others warning about scams. Aside from the too low price, how do you know if it is a scam?

My problem is that I live in the states and trying to buy a car for my vacation home on St Croix. Don't want to pass up a legit deal but don't want to get scammed either.

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Topic starter Posted : January 7, 2016 12:59 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Buy one in the states and ship it so it arrives at the same time you do.

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Posted : January 7, 2016 1:01 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

My problem is that I live in the states and trying to buy a car for my vacation home on St Croix. Don't want to pass up a legit deal but don't want to get scammed either.

NEVER buy a car sight unseen (nor take a term rental likewise). Do as Alana suggests or wait until you're on island before you start looking around. And if you're not (auto) mechanically inclined, ask for leads and references for an island mechanic who'll check it out for you for a reasonable fee to make sure it doesn't have serious problems not easily visible.

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Posted : January 7, 2016 1:39 pm
ernieandmaryjo
(@ernieandmaryjo)
Advanced Member

No front license plate, no VI inspection sticker on the windshield, non-tropical background (oak, aspen, pine trees in the picture are common). A lot of the scammers lately have their email address in the photos, and it's almost always a Gmail email. These are a few obvious red flags. Good luck!

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Posted : January 7, 2016 1:45 pm
SunnyCaribe
(@SunnyCaribe)
Advanced Member

I'm car shopping too. The best way to tell is often the photos of the car are clearly not taken anywhere near our latitude. Trees with no foliage are a sign that it's a stateside vehicle. VI plates are also a good clue, although some people don't like to show their plates so they remove or obscure them.

The decision to ship a vehicle from the 'States can be complicated, but there are some things weighing in favor of that option.

Used car prices are usually lower stateside, and roads being better, a stateside car will be in much better shape for equivalent mileage.

You'll pay road tax (.16/lb) on a car you ship, but smaller vehicles don't weigh so much and the lack of used small crossover suv's, for example, means your car will jump up in resale value enough to cover the tax and at least some of the shipping costs. With any luck you can maintain that value until you sell.

Excise tax applies to some vehicles, so if you can settle for a vehicle with a VIN starting with 1, 4, or 5, you won't pay any excise tax.

Edit: This article is informative, in case you haven't seen it. And I would contact Paradise Freight if you plan to look into shipping a vehicle to STX.

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Posted : January 7, 2016 1:51 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Make sure you have multiple originals of your documents, if you ship.
Seems everyone wants one.
The shipping company should be able to refer you to someone that can clear your car, etc.

Or, if you have a really good friend on island.....

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Posted : January 7, 2016 1:58 pm
SunnyCaribe
(@SunnyCaribe)
Advanced Member

One of the reasons I recommend Paradise freight is that they handle most of the clearance details. Love those folks.

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Posted : January 7, 2016 2:19 pm
jasona
(@jasona)
Advanced Member

If you Google Reverse Image Search any of the photos in the craigslist advertisement and one shows up pretty much anywhere else in the world, you can be pretty confident the post is a scam.

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Posted : January 7, 2016 3:42 pm
lescooper
(@lescooper)
Advanced Member

Thanks everyone for the advice. I have already experienced some really crazy schemes on couple cl ads I inquired into.

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Topic starter Posted : January 7, 2016 5:43 pm
mtdoramike
(@mtdoramike)
Trusted Member

Yes, I agree with Alana, most shipping ports have car lots around the corner from them with good decent used cars. But if you go this route, leave yourself enough time to take the car to a good mechanic or bring one to the car lot to have the car checked out before you have it shipped and have any minor issues fixed before shipping it.

mike

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Posted : January 8, 2016 12:34 am
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