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car-onlineAre you considering buying  a car online? It can be fast and convenient, and can enable the tenacious shopper to find some excellent bargains.

The problem is that the internet also provides plenty of opportunity to scammers, hackers and thieves.

Here’s a summary of some of the main risks you should consider when buying a car online.

Buying a Car that has been Written Off

Cars can become an insurance write off for a couple of reasons. The vehicle could have been damaged to such a degree that the insurance company does not think it is worth repairing. Damage write offs can in some cases be made safe again, but any inspection and repair should be undertaken by a reputable garage. Vehicles written off because of damage may not have any initially obvious signs of any accident.

Cars may also be written off because of theft. This means that the vehicle was reported stolen, and the insurance company has paid out a claim on it. In this case the insurance company also assumes ownership of the vehicle. Buying a car that has been written off because of theft is not advisable; you may find your new purchase being repossessed very quickly.

Buying a Stolen Vehicle

With more than 900,000 vehicles are recorded as stolen every year, it’s a sad fact that many of these are attempted to be passed off as normal used cars for sale. If you are misfortunate enough to buy a car that has been taken without consent, sooner or later you will lose the vehicle to the original owner, or their insurer. You will be left with no legal rights to the vehicle, and will be out of pocket. The only way to reclaim any losses involve suing the person who sold you the car, though they are not likely to hang around if they are in the business of selling stolen vehicles!

Buying a Clocked Vehicle

Dodgy dealers and sellers often try and wind back the odometer on a vehicle, in an attempt to make it look like it has travelled fewer miles, and thus appear more valuable. There are a number of sources of previous mileage values, but not many of them available to the general public. Up to 1 in 16 vehicles checked via car checking services show some sort of mileage discrepancy.

See what others have to say.

Check to see if the Web site listing offers seller feedback. Read over information about previous transactions and look for any comments that may alert you. If the site does not offer feedback, ask the seller for references. You want to make sure the seller is honest and will provide a safe, reliable transaction.

Get a vehicle history report.

Get a detailed vehicle history report. The report will give you valuable information such as the number of owners, mileage readings, whether the car has ever been salvaged, declared a lemon and much more. Compare the information given to you by the seller.

Know the car’s market value.

Get online pricing information, If the price is significantly lower, take extra precautions. Remember, if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Get a second opinion.

It may cost around $75 bucks, but it is well worth it to have a certified mechanic thoroughly inspect the car you are serious about (and paying a lot of money for). If the car is in a different state, contact a mechanic in the local area to arrange an inspection.

Proceed with caution. Review the description, payment and shipping details. Make sure you understand everything you are signing. Find out what actions the seller will take if a problem occurs and get all promises in writing.

Credit: FindLaw & Chiff