The craigslist.com ad read: 2005 MERCURY GRAND MARQUIS, LOADED, EXCELLENT CONDITION, CLEAN TITLE, SPECIAL OFFER, MUST SEE. The listing appeared under private sellers-no dealers, the place when people feel like they can find the best deal and the best cars. This Houston, TX listing is clearly a car dealer, trying to mislead people into thinking they are buying from a private seller. How do I know this?
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How To Detect Car Dealer Posing As a Private Seller
1. Language UsedFirst, the language the seller used. People who may sell a car themselves once every five years or more do not use language such a �loaded� or �must see� and they don�t know to make it known that the car has a �clean title.� Later in the listing, this seller mentions it has a �clean blue title�, again not something a casual seller would think to mention. What would make an individual say �special offer� in the headline of the ad?
2. Photos UsedFurther evidence was found in the pictures that came with the ad. Red flag #1 was the Mercury had a paper temporary license plate, issued by a car dealer. An inside shot revealed a look at the ignition switch, with a yellow plastic key tag, with black marker writing on it, the type every dealer in America uses. This ad was clearly misleading� the seller was a used car dealer, and odds are good he brings a different car home every weekend to list on craigslist. It happens a lot.
3. Vehicle History ReportsBe leery if the private seller already has a vehicle history report, like AutoCheck or CarFax. That is not the behavior of a typical private seller.
Why Reasons Dealers Do ThisSo, why do these dealers do this?
Let me be clear that there are some good, honest used car dealers out there. However, as in all professions, there are those who are out to mislead and try to cheat you. Those dealers who disguise themselves as private sellers, with the intent to hide their true intentions, are some of the worst of the worst.
Watch for the telltale signs I outlined above. Be careful of over-descriptive words, the use of capital letters and exclamation points, catch phrases like �loaded� and �must go�. Look closely at the pictures for clues that the seller is really a dealer and don�t waste your time even calling. Be aware too, that although I think this happens more on Craigslist than other websites, due to their size, but, this can happen at any website.
February 19, 2020