Safely Buy and Sell Classic Cars – Buyer’s Tips
Classic Trader serves as an international marketplace as a meeting place for sellers of classic cars and motorbikes and their potential buyers. Worldwide. To ensure that the long-awaited dream of owning your own classic car does not turn into a flop, we provide tips on the topic of “buying classics safely”.
We have compiled some common types of fraud for you, firstly to inform you of the “traps” that may be waiting for you; and secondly to prepare you so well that you can avoid them and the fraudsters responsible.
For the buyer, too, there is of course the danger of being taken to the cleaners by a variety of scams. The most well-known types of fraud, which buyers of classic vehicles in particular should watch out for, are presented below:
Buying a classic car safely – beware of suspicious advertisements
Of course, you can usually trust your gut feeling here. However, for more sophisticated and not so obvious scams, it is useful to have a handful of clues by which you can identify a suspicious listing. For example:
- – A vehicle seems far too cheap
– Contact details are extremely sketchy, no address or the like – buyer insists on e-mail contact.
– The subject of “payment in advance” is already mentioned in the text of the advertisement – an alleged escrow service or a “third party” (transport company or similar) is to be involved.
– Wrong telephone number – people other than the buyer are calling or there is no connection at the number given.
In such a case, it is best to contact our customer service and have the listing reviewed by one of our account managers.
Safe Classic Buying – Fake confirmation emails from the online marketplace
It can happen that a seller offers a vehicle at a special price: You are in contact agree on a price, but before a purchase contract is signed, you receive an email from the marketplace platform stating that the seller you are in contact with and the information they have provided has been checked for trustworthiness and accuracy. It then goes on to say that, in order to minimise the settlement risk, you should commission a forwarding company or an escrow service to hand over and pay for the vehicle. This company is suggested by the seller, who is also the fraudster and author of the fake e-mail. The motto here is “Beware of forgery”:
No internet car exchange sends such e-mails to declare the legitimacy of the vehicle and the seller.
Moreover, handing over an escrow service or shipping company is unusual and suggests a scam from the outset.
Safe classic car purchase – forged vehicle documents
Everything seems to be in order, the seller seemed nice, courteous, the papers were in perfect order. The contract was signed, the keys handed over and off we went. Then, when it came to re-registering, the shock: the vehicle had been stolen and the papers had been forged. How does that work? It’s simple: during a break-in at a registration office, registration paper forms are stolen. The details of the stolen car are entered there. It’s the same with vehicle registration papers and chassis numbers; here, too, the swindle is almost impossible to trace.
Stolen vehicles cannot be acquired as property. Here, ignorance does not protect either. However, disputes often arise as to whether the buyer was actually acting in good faith at the time of purchase.
Have original documents presented and compare the information contained therein with the inspected car, e.g. the vehicle identification number (FIN/VIN).
Check all documents presented (inspection booklet, AU, HU report, stickers)
Never send digital copies of vehicle identification documents via email (such as vehicle documents, ID or bank documents)
Safe Classic Buy – Phishing Emails
These emails are used to elicit confidential information from the recipient. In the name of reputable companies, they ask the recipient to enter or confirm confidential access data on imitation websites. These are stored and then used against the owner.
Internet vehicle exchanges do not usually ask for confidential data in an e-mail. Data is only required if you use special services and expect notifications in this respect – but this is done on the website of the car exchange and not by e-mail.
No advance payment for fraudsters
As a rule, a sales platform merely establishes contact between the willing seller and the interested buyer. The identities are usually not checked here, nor is their creditworthiness or the general availability of vehicles. For this reason, no advance payments should be made under any circumstances.
No cash transfer
Stay away from money transfers by means of cash transfer. Services such as Western Union are suitable for cash transfers between private individuals who know each other, but they are unsuitable for processing payments in online car dealerships – even with allegedly built-in additional legitimisation.
Fraud via trust services
It is more common for fraudsters to refer to supposed trustee, transport or logistics service providers in order to inspire additional confidence. Online marketplaces are not directly involved in the purchase process and therefore do not offer or recommend such services.
Fraudsters as alleged notaries
One scam, which also attempts to inspire confidence in the supposed seller via a trust system, uses the function of an upstream notary: As an example – a vehicle is to be sold from an insolvency estate. If an interested party responds to the corresponding advertisement, the fraudster behind the advertisement pretends to be the responsible notary and explains that due to the insolvency measure, no viewing appointment can be made – but there is a right of return. After the contract of sale has been concluded, the buyer is required to pay the costs for the transfer into a trust account, which is supervised or administered by a notary. This lends trustworthiness to the scam. As soon as the buyer has made the payment, the fraudster disguised as a notary breaks off all contact and the buyer is left without a vehicle and cheated out of the costs of the alleged transfer.
Buy a classic car safely – Conclusion
Be alert if you are contacted by email, SMS or other channels and asked to click a link or provide personal details! Especially in recent times, fraudsters have tried to use this for phishing. If in doubt, contact us via our website or your account manager!
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