Car Scams

Auto dealerships scams, insurance fraud, car repair ripoffs, salvaged vehicles, towing scams, odometer rollback, curbstoning and car title loans are fleecing consumers that just want an honest deal when purchasing or caring for their cars.

While most car dealerships are honest there are more than a few that will try and trick you into paying more for your car than it’s worth or into financing your auto loan at a higher interest rate than you could. Some of these tread the line between trickery and outright fraud.

A new car is one of the most expensive and important purchases a consumer can make and they are expensive enough without dishonest auto dealers making you pay even more.

Get the Lowdown on Dealership Scams

These pages detail some of the the most common car dealership scams such as “Yo Yo Financing” (AKA Spot Delivery) or the ever-popular Prep Fee Scam. We also have advice and tips our advice on how to avoid these scams. We also take a hard look at some of the auto insurance scams and the practices of the auto insurance companies. You will be shocked to find out some of the methods insurers have developed to scam consumers.

A New Car Scam Every Day

Or at least it seems that way sometimes. Every time they add a new feature to cars, a scam appears to take advantage of it. Airbags are a great example. I can’t wait to see what the scammers dream up for in-dash GPS systems! We’ll deal with that when the day comes. There are plenty of ripoffs to talk about in the present. For example, we have car repair and towing scams to worry about.

We all accept that getting our cars repaired is going to be costly, but who wants insult added to injury by getting scammed in the process? I don’t and I bet you don’t either. That’s why knowing the tricks scammers use is so important. The list of car scams is a big one and growing larger every day. Cars and the services necessary to operate them are expensive and wherever money is involved you will find a con artist waiting to take your money.

Knowledge is Power

Some think driving a car is risky, but you’ll soon discover that purchasing, repairing and insuring your vehicle can be equally dangerous. Cars are expensive to purchase, care for or insure and shysters have come up with many ways to divert your auto budget to their wallets. It’s what they do and they’re really good at it. Even so, all is not lost. If you learn some of the tricks used by con atists your chances of being tricked in the dealer showroom, insurance agent’s office or at the repair shop are reduced considerably.

Lemon Laws by State

Visit our Lemon Laws section for information about Lemon Laws in your state. You mat have been tricked into driving a lemon home, but in many cases the law is on your side and enable you to fight back. If you want to find out more about Lemon Laws and how they protect you, start with a visit to our Lemon Law Resources section. Inside you’ll find the text of the law itself and many layman explanations of these codes, rules and regulations for all 50 states and the Districtof Columbia.

19 Responses

  1. Farooq Malik says:

    I looked up an ad in the Craigslist and asked the owner to drive his car over to a certain place so I could see it. I liked the car and paid the owner $500 to hold the car for me. He told me that he will receive the title docs by April 30th and at that point in time he will transfer the title to me along with the car. However, he has been making all kinds of excuses ever since about the title paper work getting late and bla bla. Now he wants me to pay for the car, he will give me the possession of the car on SC bill of sales and he will sign off the title to me when it arrives from DMV. I told him I will not pay any more money until I have the title in my hand. I have asked him to refund my money since he did not deliver the vehicle to me as promised. He has refused to that. By the way I have a signed receipt from him that he received $500 from me for the car along with the car VIN number. Any suggestions

    • patricia says:

      Call DMV. Maybe they can help..

    • Nichole says:

      We had a car for sale on CL young 20 something girl came alone after dark to look at it here at our home way out in the country pulled all the way up in the driveway way passed the car itself. She didn’t ask how many miles in our older car but asked some other strange questions, asked to take a pic of vin number on title so my husband covered other info and let her see only vin number she said she wanted car she would come back Monday with money order my husband said cash only she claim she can only get 500 out at a time she also quoted a different price than the listed price. Next day she texted asking for a picture of registration. Alarms going off all over the place. She also stated she was about to buy a different car a few days ago and the guy decided not to sell, ( he probably thought it was a scam also)

    • sylvie says:

      I would also be calling the police that is actually stealing and I’m sure he’s breaking other laws

  2. Shelley says:

    Take him to small claims court.

  3. Bob says:

    Wouldn’t the “seller” have committed fraud?

  4. Roger Kern says:

    My 2000 jeep was stolen and found in less than an hour in Detroit. I had to pay $215.00 to get it out of the tow yard that looked like a junkyard. The attendant their was trying to sell me a new ignition switch that was destroyed. They were also running a repair and used parts business. He wanted $125.00 for replacing the ignition switch. The case is under investigation. The scumbag who stole my jeep left their I phone in my console. How many other people have had this happen to them.

    • sylvie says:

      This sounds like it was an inside job from this place. They had somebody steal your car then you found your car then it is towed to their facility or you payed them money to get your car out that they stole in the first place wow what a hack. I would definitely be reporting that and stay on top of it

  5. peter quinlan says:

    My neighbor’s older car was stolen on a friday night in Detroit MI. At 10 pm that night he notified police. They told him they don’t send squad cars to take reports on stolen vehicles; that he would have to wait until monday and go to a police station to file a stolen vehicle report. The police station (near 5 mile and Gratiot Ave.) had a broken walk through metal detector and everyone had to be individually wanded by hand by disinterested policewoman. The attitude at the station was lacadasical (lazy, disinterested, non-professional) at best. It was as they were doing you a favor. There was a loud bantering of voices(laughing, telling of stories) coming from the back offices of the station from unseen faces which was for police personnel. The police seemed more afraid, suspicious of us-don’t know why. The car had already been found by a tow company(monday morning) before we even reported the car stolen. $215.00 ($200 for the tow, $15 a day storage). It was as if we were victimized twice; car stolen by the thieves, then held for ransom by the police (or their subcontracted accomplices). My friend had already lost the security guard job he had just started due to lack of transportation, and now had to choose between paying his rent or reclaiming his car. He chose the car and lost the apartment. Poor people of all colors are victimized by the “system” on all ends because justice may be blind (yeah, sure), but lady justice wants her $$$. A couple of hundred may not faze those who have good jobs, but to the disenfranchised it’s a weeks wages and a game changer. I now use the “club” on my beater even if I will be in the store for a few minutes.

  6. Ray says:

    Also I found out that he could possibly be “bonded “by the parole office ..Really?

  7. D Hutchins says:

    I purchased a car from someone who used a fake Amazon as their third party and did not receive the car.. I called the police and moneygram to report fraud.. I have the receiver’s information and phone number. Will I get my money back?

  8. Mrs. Tom Norring says:

    I went to Golden Gate on April 26 and went through the toll tower. I did pay for my toll fee before the toll person could lift the gate for me to drive through.
    Yesterday, I received in the mail ,”the toll invoice”, indicates that I did not pay for the toll through the golden gate, and require me to pay $7.25 for the charge.
    I am very confuse. Is this actual claim or it is a scam letter? And why do I have to pay this bill when I already did. I do not have a receipt for the time I paid on that date, but it should not be necessary to get a receipt, because there is no way I could drive through without the gate lift up.
    Can you please explain and help me on this matter, I would be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance for your help.

  9. Chris says:

    Posted my car for sale on Craigslist. Got a strange text message from (312) 300-XXXX offering to buy the car sight unseen after his bank certified check clears my bank. He sent me the same message three times, so I tried to call – but it was a text messaging service – not a real phone call. I told him to call me with a compelling reason why he has a local phone number, but can’t call me or come see the car in person. Also told him my garage is protected by ADT and I’ve notified local police in case he comes looking for the car some night or when I’m not around.

  10. jackee says:

    A lady was selling a 2006 Honda Pilot on Craigslist for only $2000. Said her husband died and she was trying to get rid of the car. Asked me to purchase 4 greendot cards and load $500 each on it. She would have the car shipped to me. The money would be held by ebay and I had 7 days to review the car, if I didn’t like it I could get my money back. I foolishly did just that, sent ‘ebay’ my receipt of the cards as proof I had the funds’. I would get the car in two days. Next day both ‘ebay’ and the seller wanted an additional $1000 the same way as shipping insurance. I knew I had been had at that point. Feel so foollish, $2000 down the drain.

    • Norma Ray says:

      SO SORRY, It almost happened to me too but I sell for e-bay so I ask them about it first. They said they never do business that way and wanted all the info. No you wont get your money back but ebay will prosecute so at least you could have that much satisfaction. The sellers will always tell you some sob story and that the vehicle is parked in a storage somewhere. It’s all BS.

  11. CJ says:

    I was trying to sell my car on Craigslist because I am going through severe financial problems. Unfortunately I owe more on the loan than what its worth so I could not refinance it or sell it so I allowed these people to take over payments. At first I was not sure if I wanted to do this because I thought they may not pay, but I got desperate. To make a long painful story shorter, I allowed them to take over payments in Dec 2017. They did not pay the car payment in Dec. I contacted them about the payment and they made up excuses. I told the lender that I allowed these people to take over my payments and they said that was ok and I had to sign an authorization with the lender to let them pay on my loan. Now its Jan and they still have not paid on the Dec payment. I contacted them again very upset and feeling like I have been scammed. They ignored me at first then responded with an attitude about the payment and made more lame excuses. I told them I wanted to get the car back and turn it in to the lender as a voluntary repossession. At first they said it was ok I could have it back, but now they are telling me that I cannot have it back unless I pay them 300 for insurance they paid on the car. The will not let me see the car. They lied to me and everyone is treating me like I am stupid for trusting them out of my desperation. I was dumb to trust them, but I cannot go back and undo my decision. They are blackmailing me to get money in return for the car. They are con artist and scammers. I was told to call the local police and of course they did not care they said since I made a verbal agreement that they could have the car then I have to take them to court to get the car back. I did some free legal consultations and they suggested I contact the lender which I already have done for the last month and tell them where the car is and have them repo it. Who even knows if the address they gave me where they supposedly live is even there address its where I dropped the car off to them, but I do not know if its really theirs. I have contacted the lender with their address and I do not know what else to do. I cannot afford to sue them especially over a car that will end up being repo any way. I am so mad I cannot even think straight. I am mad mostly at myself for trusting these low life thieves. I hate these people and I do not ever want to see them ever again. I hope they reap what they have sowed. I am so sick of our legal system favoring criminals and making the so called victim out to be the stupid bad person. Everyone makes mistakes. I have never had this happen to me before. I have had a lot of bad things happen to me, but not this. I will never do this ever again. These people are sick in the head. They want me to hold up to the end of our agreement that they can have the car and I cannot change my mind and take it back, but they do not want to hold up to their end where they said they would pay the car payments and if not I can sue them. I understand its my dumb decision to get involved in the crap, but it would be nice if I could find one person to help me in this. I am scared of these people they are con artist and highly manipulative and crafty. I have no way out of this. I will be sued by the lender to for not paying on the loan and they may try to sue me for insurance. I don’t know what to do.

  12. Mike says:

    I went to the dealership to own a used car, he purposed me a 2008 Chevy Malibu Hybrid for $5999. I wanted to give him $3100 as a down payment and finance the rest. He was agreed but wanted just to take only $2900, which I didn’t understand. He apply for the finance online with his computer and have me signed the contract with credit acceptance. He explained me that I just have to pay $178 a month. Print the document put them in a envelope and advice me to keep it far from people who can tempted to steal your information. But yesterday when I opened the folder, I discovered that he ask $6300 as a loan for me. And the bank with 23% interest charged. Which is $10700 to pay.
    My question is do I sue the dealer or talk to the police?

  13. Jim Anderson says:

    Had a guy pretending to be interested in purchasing my car on Craigslist sight unseen but said I would have to buy a Quick Vehicle Check report and send it to him first. I told him I would give him a car fax report and he said no, it had to be a quick vehicle check report. I told him he could buy the report himself and I would deduct the cost of the report from my asking price for the car and of course, I never heard from him again.

  14. Kay says:

    It sounds too good to be true- could itt be a scam? Owner of a car has asked for no money, he will ship the car At his expense to us and give us 2 days to examine the car and then have the transport co return for payment if we want to keep the car( priced well below market value). No money up front. How can we be taken??

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