Looking to buy a new car? You’re not alone, and scammers are out there to take advantage of you. Photo: BBB

It’s car-buying season, so don’t get taken for a ride

Make sure you get the car you need, and don’t fall victim to scammers

The kids are back to school, and work routines are back to normal. Like it or not, the daily commute to the office is more congested as well. If this has you thinking about a new car, it’s a good time to consider it.

Why fall? Between now and December, consumers are likely to get a better deal on a new car, as dealerships clear out inventory to make room for the 2020 models. However, it’s a big decision that should not be taken lightly.

Buying a new car can be a great experience, but it’s also a big financial responsibility. Make sure it’s the car you need, and not necessarily the car you want. Research many makes and models so that the car you buy fits your needs and budget. The car you really want may not be the best value. Consider things like mileage, reliability, consumer reviews, warranties, and features for the price.

New cars have both B.C. provincial and federal taxes, totalling 12 per cent of the purchase price. Depending on the make and model, some have a luxury surtax as well.

If you’re trading in, tax only applies to the balance after trade. Most dealerships have fees they apply at purchase, usually around $500 or $600 for document storage and administration.

Buying used? Fraud is an obvious concern for anyone buying a used vehicle, because “curbers” (people or businesses that advertise, display, promote, or sell vehicles as a business without a licence) will hide any information about a vehicle in order to sell it to you, including damage history, and they count on you not doing your own due diligence. There are plenty of trustworthy, BBB-accredited new and used car dealers in B.C., which you can check out at www.bbb.org.

There are tips to help consumers avoid curbers . They won’t provide CarFax (https://www.carfax.com/) or CarProof (https://www.carproof.com/) reports, which can be purchased online through the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN).

They will roll back the odometer (rule of thumb: one year of car age = roughly 20,000km of driving). They will tell you they are selling it for a friend or deceased family member as the reason why their name is not on the registration papers.

They will only take cash, and will pressure you for it. The price is too good to be true, and well below market value. They will also claim that no damage has been done to the vehicle, and will back away at the idea of an independent BCAA inspection. (Legally, anyone selling a car will not have to disclose damage under $2,000).


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