Buying a car can be time-consuming, mostly because your ideal car needs to tick every single box on your product checklist.
There’s a risk, though, that you may end up buying a car that was stolen, which makes things way more complicated and costly.
Of course, nobody wants to go through that strenuous experience, so what can you do about it?
The National Insurance Crime Bureau found that over 750,000 vehicles are reported stolen in the United States each year.
Despite the fact that nearly half of these vehicles get eventually recovered by authorities, there’s still a huge number of stolen cars getting sold in the black market.
Stolen cars are usually chopped and sold in parts, but many others are also transported and sold overseas.
Another method for thieves to cash in on stolen cars is to post their ads on classifieds and benefit from making sales without any complications.
Buying a stolen car not only ruins the whole experience, but also adds fuel to the black market where unscrupulous people operate.
For that reason, here are six tips on how to avoid losing money and getting your “new” car back to its original owner.
Check the price and compare it to the market price
Prices are always good indicators of the value of the car you plan on buying.
If the car is sold at a price that is below the market price, watch out! You may be negotiating a car that has been stolen.
Thieves often get rid of stolen cars by selling it at very low prices in order to get an immediate profit.
Ask for a second set of keys
If you are handed one set of keys, feel free to ask them for a second one, which is an easy way to find out whether or not the car was stolen.
Normally, thieves do not bother getting a spare set of keys for a stolen car as it can be a real hassle for them to do so.
Not to mention that modern cars come with key fobs that are expensive to replicate.
Read the paperwork you need carefully
If you are suspecting that the seller is offering you a stolen car, ask for documents that prove the legal ownership of the vehicle.
Read the paperwork you need meticulously and pay attention to anything that looks sketchy.
Never be afraid to verify the authenticity of the documents with your local authority.
VIN searches and history reports are vital
Never rely on the information that the seller is providing you regardless of how much you trust the seller.
It’s in your best interest to run a Vehicle Identification Number search with a government agency or vehicle history report service.
It won’t take you too long to find out more information about the background of the car you plan on buying.
Keep copies of every interaction and communication with the seller
Take a copy of every digital communication and transaction documentation you exchange with the seller.
Buying a stolen car puts you in a situation that you need to keep track of everything for your own benefit.
Keeping a copy of the seller’s ID and saving a screenshot of the advertisement helps authorities handle your case. Every proof matters.
Make sure you bring someone with you
Whenever you schedule a meeting with the seller to discuss the offer, you are strongly advised to bring someone with you for your own safety.
Even if it’s just to check the car out, ensure you meet the seller in a safe a location. Many buyers pick places located next to a police station for an extra level of security.
Safetradestation.com, for example, offers a list of departments where you could meet a seller without having to face any risk.