5 ways to spot a suspicious car listing online

5 ways to spot a suspicious car listing online

Updated on July 19 2024

METRO MANILA, – If you're planning to buy a car, but a brand-new model is out of your budget, the used market is perfect for you.

You can find a lot of those in a car dealership near your area. But you can also shop for a various vehicles online.

The first option is easy. All you have to do is visit the closest one to your location and pick the vehicle you want.  The latter, on the other hand, may be challenging.

First of all, there are a lot of merchants online that sell good-looking automobiles. Second, your choices of used cars is almost limitless. And finally, used vehicles are usually sold in a very low price!

The question is: how do you spot a suspicious car listing online?

Here are five effective ways to find out if a suspicious listing isn't quite right.

Assess the information given

Since you cannot see the vehicle personally unless you finally decide to meet the seller to view the car, it will be difficult to know if it really looks good or if everything is still functioning.

Read the advertisement carefully and see if all the information is present, including the price of the automobile. Unless if it is a collectible car, the price should always be posted along with the pictures.

Moreover, the model and the production year should be in the description box. And finally, do not forget to check the number of the odometer or mileage. This is very important because it will affect your travel once you decided to get it.

Usually, an average individual travels around 10,000 kilometers a year. So, if you are looking at a three-year-old model, the mileage should be around 30,000 kilometers. If you can find a lower number with that year, consider it a good deal because it is seldom to see those cars in the used market.  

Look for original pictures

Since most smartphones nowadays are already equipped with different filters, it is almost impossible to determine if the picture taken was real.

If the photos in the listing look too good to be true, you may consider looking elsewhere instead of pursuing to buy that vehicle. The seller might be hiding the defects of the car.

However, if you really wanted to get it, try to get in touch with the seller and ask for the original photos. Better yet, visit the location and see the car for yourself if it is worth pursuing or not.  

Ask for the original documents

Once you have included that car in your checklist of potential vehicles, ask the seller for photos of original documents.

The most important ones pertain to the car's registration, which include the Official Receipt (OR) and the Certificate of Registration. Both of those should be available from the merchant.

If not, this is another big no-no in your part.

Ask about issues

Always look for a used vehicle that is still functioning well.

But make it a point to ssk the seller about the issues and the reasons behind it. Usually, honest merchants will always tell you everything even before you purchase it. There are even people who will post those issues on their ads beforehand to avoid getting the same questions from different buyers.

However, if you think the seller is trying to hide those issues or keeps diverting your conversation to other things, do not buy the vehicle!  This is obviously a clear sign of a suspicious car listing online.

Rather, try searching for the same model elsewhere. Who knows? That automobile may be filled with issues that will only lead to more repairs.

Be vigilant with stolen vehicles

Another important thing that you must keep in mind when buying a used car is to determine if the vehicle is stolen.

This can be checked with the Land Transportation Office or the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group. If it is flagged as stolen, walk away!

You may face charges from the original owner once the police finds out that you have it.

To avoid getting into suspicious car listings online, make sure that you are talking to a legit and honest seller like Automart.PH!

We offer a wide selection of used cars at great prices, ranging from compact cars to pick-up trucks, that suit your needs.

And if you’re looking for the finest used cars, check out Automart.PH Certified Used Vehicles. These are restored until they feel like new again. They also come with a three-day money-back guarantee and, for Gold Certified units, a one-year warranty.

Automart.PH Senior Content Creator VJ Bacungan contributed to this story.