1 - Somethings off
Beware the classic car with the suspiciously low price – the world of bargain-priced classics is also prime hunting ground for scammers looking to take advantage of naïve buyers. Your best protection is doing your homework beforehand and making sure that you’re familiar with the values of the particular model you’re after – you’ll still find Triumph TR7s languishing. In sub-£5k territory but a pristine TR6 being hawked for about the same money should immediately ring alarm bells... We keep a very close eye on our classified ads to weed out scammers before they make it into print – but do get in touch with us immediately if you come across one. It could prevent a fellow classic fan from losing a small fortune.
2 - Why Can’t I See The Car?
We’ve heard plenty of tales of sellers who are happy to give you tempting-sounding details over the phone or by email, but who are less forthcoming about letting you actually see the car. This is something that’s particularly prevalent in online auctions, where fake sellers take the images and descriptions of genuine cars and relist them. Be wary of ‘too good to be true’. listings from sellers with a new account; you might find that the account and the listing are swiftly deleted. Other things to watch out for are sellers insisting on a deposit being paid upfront before you’re allowed to view the car, or wanting to do the deal in car parks, laybys or motorway service areas despite supposedly living nearby.
3 - What To Do If You Are Scammed
The key here is to keep a record of how the car was described by the seller and to make any complaints about it not being as described in writing. Simply saying ‘sold as seen’ isn’t necessarily enough to protect a seller if a classic isn’t as advertised. Should you buy a restored classic for half the typical restoration cost, it may be argued that you could not expect it to be in A1 condition (unless the car was advertised as such) and a reasonable person should expect to budget for repair work other than routine maintenance. However, should you find that the car was dangerous and unroadworthy within a very short period of ownership, and zero defects are disclosed in the advert, you would likely have a much stronger case.