On the biggest German internet market places for used cars, you will find hundreds of thousands of cars advertised by commercial dealers and private persons. The very most of these sellers are honest people who just try to sell their car/s. But there are also some dishonest, shady people who only want to steal your money!!! In order to protect you from investing in fraudulent activities, I will try to explain to you how these people often work:
Most of the time, these people advertise cars at unrealistic low prices to make sure you folks find them quick. But they actually do not really have a car they want to offer. They just take a picture of a preferred model and place an ad with a nice description, full options, low mileage and an extremely low price.
The phone numbers you see in the ads normally are not connected; these people want you to contact them by email. The moment you send them an email and ask for details of the car, they will explain to you that the car is located somewhere outside the country you live in but they are willing to ship it to any destination. They will give you the contact of a shipping agent who can do such transport and will show you fancy websites of these shipping companies. And they will ask you for a 10% or 20% down payment to be sent by Western Union money order.
That is the whole trick! All that these people really want is your down payment, and once they have it, you will never hear from them again. There is no car, no seller, not even such shipping agent.
Please note the following points:
1. Be careful if you see a very nice car for a very low price. Check other cars of this model, this year, with same options and same mileage. Compare the prices and be alarmed if a car is unrealistic cheap!
2. Serious ads show the full name of the private seller or the full details of a company who offers a car, and they always include a telephone number that is connected.
3. European companies generally have bank accounts with European banks. They will never ask you for a payment by Western Union, MoneyGram or Escrow (with such payments you are unable to claim your money back). Under any circumstances: Do not, send payments for your car by Western Union, MoneyGram or Escrow to an unknown seller.
4. When asking a seller of a car to arrange the shipment to your country, he might have no experience with that and, thus, will not be able to sell the car to you. But even if he can handle such export, he will not ask for a down-payment but instead for full payment in advance by telegraphic money transfer to his German bank. A car has to be fully paid before it goes on board the ship to your country. That is the only way it works and therefore you have to find a reliable seller.
5. As a buyer from a foreign country, one has to pay the price in full in advance before the car goes on board the ship. Thus, unless you know someone trustworthy in Germany who can check the car and arrange the payment for you, you will have to pay in advance. However, the seller will issue a pro forma invoice to you with all details and the identification number of the vehicle. He will send you copies of the German car ownership documents (title), pictures of the car, and if he is also going to arrange the shipment for you he will name you all shipping agents involved and provide you with copies of the appropriate shipping documents (Bill of Lading).
6. Nobody over here will accept a cheque or payment by credit card as payment method for a used car. Payment by Letter of Credit is very complicated and bank charges are extremely high. Most car sellers have no experiences with L/Cs. Others will accept this payment method only if you buy a whole batch of cars from them for a considerable amount. For purchasing just one single car, there is hardly any other way but to pay in advance by telegraphic money transfer to the German bank account of the seller.
7. Internet market places as www.Mobile.de, www.Autoscout24.de, or the like only offer the platform for advertising the cars and getting in contact with the seller – they are never involved at any stage in the purchasing of the vehicles and have no further control over who is buying which car from whom.
These platforms never give any recommendation as to the use of various payment methods –any agreements concerning the commercial purchase, are exclusively undertaken between the buyer and seller. The internet market places will never deal with any information concerning the creditworthiness of a buyer or the reliability of the seller. If, however, you receive email from such companies including statements concerning the creditworthiness of a buyer, then this should be undoubtedly a fake, fraudulent email!