"Buyer beware" when it comes to old and high-mileage cars

Few people in Pennsylvania or elsewhere willingly turn their backs on a good deal.

In fact, that is the essence of what being an aware and prudent consumer is all about. Smart buyers generally don’t scoop up the first option available of the consumer good they are looking to buy. Rather, they compare by gauging quality, price and other relevant factors.

With cars, they quite often kick the tires in most literal fashion.

According to a recent study focused on used vehicles, they need to be doing far more than that. In fact, and especially when they are examining relatively older cars for purchase, they need to be doing exacting research.

And even that might not be enough. A probing analysis of about 50 million dealer-offered used cars reveals that auto dealer fraud is a widespread problem of truly troubling proportions.

The company iSeeCars flatly warns consumers that their scam-sensing antenna need to be firmly activated when they prowl the yards of used auto dealerships looking to scoop up a good deal. Especially with relatively low-priced offerings in the $3,000 range and with high-mileage vehicles, the potential for fraud mushrooms.

The data culled by iSeeCars revealed that a car offered for sale by a dealership at a price of at least $12,000 has a scant chance of being tainted by any fraud. Conversely, a sub-$3,000 offering is reportedly 16 times more likely to have a material problem that the seller is not disclosing.

The phrase “caveat emptor” is perhaps nowhere more germane than in a lot advertising older used cars. Potential buyers need to tread carefully in such locales. In some instances, they may need to solicit the assistance of an experienced auto fraud attorney.

Source: autoevolution, "Cheaper used cars pose higher fraud risk, study finds," Mircea Panait, July 3, 2014

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