Here’s Why You Don’t Buy Cars From Some Guy On Craigslist Who’s In A Huge Hurry

lowmileagevanCar shopping is something that you don’t want to do in a hurry. Especially when shopping for a used car. Especially when buying a used car from a stranger on Craigslist. A couple in Texas learned this important life lesson when they bought what they thought was a nice, cheap, low-mileage van. Well… it was cheap, and it’s a van.

The family says that they didn’t pay attention to what normally would have been red flags telling them to run away, because the deal was so good. The seller flashed his license at them, instead of providing a copy of his information. He claimed to be in a hurry to get back to work, yet made an appointment to show them the car anyway. They told their local CBS station that they ignored these warning signs in pursuit of an awesome deal.

That didn’t work out so well for them. They handed over the cash for the van, and lights on the dashboard began lighting up after just ten minutes of driving. The brakes didn’t work, there was a problem with the alternator, and the fuel gauge didn’t move.

As you were probably anticipating, the car was not what it seemed. The car has a forged title, but at least the title was only forged to conceal information from the buyers, not because the vehicle was stolen. What the seller was concealing was that it had about twice as many miles on it than he claimed (odometers can be re-programmed, which may be what happened here) and that number had been adjusted on the title.

Now the van that seemed like a great deal is waiting for a large number of repairs. An honest seller won’t be mad at you for performing due diligence or trying to rush you, and watch out for deals that are too good to be true.

N. Texas Couple Learns Hard Lesson Used Car Shopping On Craigslist [CBS DFW]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.