How do you avoid car sales scams?

Scams to watch out for when shopping for a second-hand car online

If you've been looking for a good deal on a used car, chances are you've been spending a fair amount of time perusing the internet lately. The advent of the World Wide Web has truly revolutionised used car sales, which is great for bargain hunters, but it also brought plenty of chancers out of the wood works. Do you know which scams to look out for when shopping for a second-hand car? Here are a few top tips:


A lack of paperwork

Sure, ownership papers can be mislaid sometimes, but it’s not all that expensive to have replacement copies printed. If a seller tries to get you to take a vehicle without any ownership papers, head for the hills.

'Customised' engines

Any vehicle that has been ‘customised for performance’ should give you cause for concern. Many of these DIY jobs are done by backyard mechanics that don’t necessarily fit the rest of the car with the proper accessories to keep up with the new and improved speed.

'Small' issues

Nope, they’re never small. They’re always much bigger and more expensive to fix that you could ever have imagined.

Unclear images

Sometimes people really just don’t know how to take a picture, but if you get an inkling that a picture is perhaps purposely blurry to cover up something, it’s best to view the vehicle in person before you make any promises or down payments.

Locations that make you nervous

Steer clear of heading to locations that make you nervous, especially if you’re carrying a lot of cash. Rather arrange to meet the seller in a controlled public space, always during the day, and preferably with backup from a friend or family member.

These are just a few of the scams you’d need to duck and dive when you shop for a second-hand car or SUV online in South Africa. Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks and months as we share more interesting stories and expert insight into all things automotive. In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with a REEDS representative at your nearest branch to find out more about the certified used OPEL and Isuzu vehicles we have on offer.