4 Signs You Are Getting Scammed into Buying an Overpriced Used Car


Although there are many reasons to purchase a used car, this is not to say the process of buying one is easy. The scam rates revolving around used cars are scarily high, and if you are new to buying a used car, the risk of getting scammed is quite higher. Fortunately, with a little bit of reading and educating yourself, you will be able to identify the marks of a scam to ensure you are safe from getting conned into paying for something that does not meet your expectations.

With that being said, here are the signs that you are getting scammed into buying an overly-priced used car:

Sign 1. The car stinks

A car that is well taken care of will generally not have any obvious foul smell to it. Sure, the scent of the previous owners may linger for some time, but in most cases, the scent will fade with, at most, a good washing. However, there are used cars that come with a nearly unbearable scent. This is most common when the previous owner was a smoker. If the scent of cigarettes is noticeable before you even open the door, avoid the vehicle at all costs. The smell is incredibly tough to get rid of, and in the summer, the smell will only get worse.

Sign 2. The paint job is uneven and ugly

Without a trained eye, spotting an uneven paint job may be tough. For that reason, we highly recommend that you bring along someone who is experienced with car purchases to catch any such issues. Pay close attention to the side of the car, the area around the headlight, and the spot around the bumpers. These are problematic areas often indicative of a lousy paint job. If it does look uneven, you may want to reconsider buying the car or negotiating a lower price. Fixing paint jobs is expensive, and you’ll have to take any extra costs into consideration.

Sign 3. The warranty is too good to be true

You may find dealers to be offering amazing warranties to try and cover up the “negatives” of a used car, such as a horrendously high buying price or a damaged engine. Do not be blinded by such amazing offers, and take your time when inspecting the car. The dealers will want to highlight the benefits, and they’ll hesitate to tell you the costs that come with the car. They will only talk about the warranty and other positives. Your job is to identify the negatives, and if there are any, use them as leverage to negotiate a lower price or look for another car or dealer.

Sign 4. The dealer is negotiating on the window price

Even if you believe that you can negotiate the window price of the car, be careful. Some dealers mark up the prices high and are willing to negotiate down to a selling price they are perfectly happy with. You may very well end up negotiating the car back down to its market value, believing you got a good deal. As such, always do your research about the price of used cars that you’re looking for, and negotiate on those prices rather than the window prices. If the dealer refuses, you may want to look elsewhere.


Apart from the above signs that you might be getting scammed, there are many other things that can help you figure out if that is happening. For instance, the car’s wheels may be worn down significantly, or that the car’s suspension may not work as it should. Whatever the problem may be, if the dealer did not point out issues, be careful. You might be looking at an overly-priced car that you can get even half the price for. 

One of the best ways to avoid a “lemon” is to work with a reputable dealer. Check out the customer testimonials of any company you work with and, if you’re an inexperienced car buyer, feel free to bring someone else along. When you’re wary of the signs we’ve talked about and have done your research, you’re much more likely to end up with a used car you’re happy with! Remember, a used car is still an investment, and just like any smart investor, you want to make sure it’s worth the money.

Lewis Motor Sales offers quality and affordable used vehicles such as cars and pickup trucks in Brentwood and Epping. Visit our used car dealership today for a hassle-free buying experience!