Buying a new car is a big step in life. Whether you are buying a car out of necessity or out of desire, choosing the right vehicle can put a lot of pressure on a person. This statement is especially true if you are planning to achieve this on your own, instead of hiring a competent car broker in Sydney. Aside from the stress of choosing a car, looking for the right dealer and applying for car financing, you also need to deal with figuring out if an offer is a scam or not.

Here are some of the most common scams in the car buying and selling industry:

Car Selling Scams to Avoid

  1. Certified Cheque Scams

The certified check scam is often executed online. It targets sellers who do their transactions over the internet. The scammer will pose as a buyer claiming that they want to buy the seller’s car and pay with a cashier’s cheque. The scammer will find a reason to write the cheque for more money at the last minute then they will have the seller wire them the difference. 

In the end, the seller will realise that the cheque is fake but, at this point, they have already wired the money. On top of having wired their own money to the scammer, they would also be responsible for covering the money of the fake cheque. 

If you are a seller, you can avoid cheque scams by getting in touch with the issuing bank before you accept the cheque. It would be best if you waited for the cheque to clear before you process transferring the car into the buyer’s name.

2. Fraudulent Escrow Services

Some scammers use fake escrow services to give the seller a false sense of security. Make sure that the escrow service is legitimate before transferring your car to the buyer’s name.

3.False Auctions

Many websites allow people to bid on an item that they want. Although these sites are generally popular, this does not mean that they are entirely safe. Buyers and sellers alike can still be scammed on these platforms. Before closing a transaction with a buyer, make sure to check their buying history. It would be best if you also waited for the money to be transferred to your account before transferring your car to the buyer.

Lessons for Seller

As a rule of thumb, you should not transfer your car to a buyer unless you are absolutely sure that you have the payment in your hand. You should either directly get the money from the buyer or wait for the cashier’s cheque to clear. It is best if you avoid accepting personal cheques as payment or allowing buyers to pay the car off over time. 

Sydney Car Buyer Pro-tip for Negotiating

You are going to encounter one or two buyers who want to negotiate the price of the car. If you don’t do this right, then you may end up on the losing end of the deal. So, knowing a little bit about negotiations will go a long way.

Of course, the buyer will try to haggle toward a lower price. But remember that a negotiation is a two-way street. You can counter them with a price that you are comfortable with. It would be best if you had the lowest price you are willing to accept in mind and stick to that price.

Car Selling Scams to Avoid

Sellers are not the only ones who should be wary of scammers. Buyers should also be vigilant, as some dealerships may actually be trying to scam you under the guise of a good deal. 

Here are some of the most common scams that dealers may try to pull on you when you are buying a car:

1. Hidden fees

It will help if you ALWAYS read the fine print when buying a car. The purchase price may not be the end of it. You should check for any underlying costs, which can cost you more in the long run than the car itself. So do yourself a favour; read the fine print and check for any hidden costs.

2. Bait and switch

Many car brokers in Sydney can assist you in finding the exact car model that you want to buy. However, if you are going to do this on your own, then you need to be extra careful. Some dealerships allow you to configure a car on their online platform, but they will tell you that the exact model that you want is not available at a dealer lot near you.

In this case, the dealer will try to sell what they do have on their lot. They will go as far as pressuring you into a test drive with one of their vehicles—regardless of whether that is a car that you may want or not. Then through skillful sales talk, you may end up driving out of the dealership with a car that costs more than the car that you originally wanted.

If you are not really set on a specific model yet, then this experience may turn out to be okay. However, if you do have your heart set on another model, then it may be better for you to order your dream car from the factory.

3. Dealership visits

As mentioned previously, buying a new car is a big step. However, this can be affected by your emotions. You will be spending so much time on your car even before you own it. You will be investing time in looking for the right model and applying for car financing. A car can also serve as an expression of yourself. It will become a part of your identity.

When you go for an all-day dealership visit, dealers may take advantage of your emotional attachment to owning a car. Since you are excited and overwhelmed, you might forget that you have the right to walk away at any point of the discussion. 

Greedy car dealers or agents may claim a lot of things like having to get the car you want from an offsite lot so that they can make you wait longer—they will try to wear you down enough to make you say yes to everything. When they see that you are willing to say yes to just about anything, that is when they will try to upsell. Keep in mind that you can always walk away. 

4. Surprise provisions

If you are considering leasing a car, then you should be wary of offers that are too good to be true. If you see an ad for a lease with a low monthly payment, then it is probably a very low mileage lease with a high down payment. Make sure that you read the contract before you get yourself excited about a car lease.

5. Hidden damages on used cars

If a dishonest dealer does not mention hidden charges for your new car, they probably won’t let you know about any damage that their used vehicles have suffered either. When buying a used car, you need to do more than just a quick glance under the hood. You need to find out the history of the used vehicle being sold to you. Check if the car came from out of state or if it suffered flood damages. 

6. Dealers who pretend to be private sellers

You know that car dealers are partial to the dealership that they are working with and, of course, they will do everything to make a sale! This includes pretending to be a private seller on buy and sell platforms. 

7. Holding all the cards for trade-ins

This happens when you walk into a dealership and show them all your cards there and then. Once you hand over your car for the trade-in and inform them which car you want to buy, they can use dealer leverage against you. Make sure that you leave your trade-in vehicle out of the equation to preserve your advantage.

8. Offers that are too good to be true

If an offer is too good to be true, then follow your guts and run away. For example, some dealers or sellers might advertise a car online for much less than what you perceive its value should be. Then they will add a sob story, which tells you why they need to sell it right away. Then just when you need to wire the dealer money, you find out that the car is a mess and it is simply out of shape.


Now you know how individual buyers are scam-magnets in the market. If possible, it is recommended that you choose to work with a trustworthy Sydney car broker instead of managing the process on your own. However, if you can’t hire one you, at least, need to be alert. Check important details such as the car warranty, and don’t give in to sales talk or pressure.