Guess I was foolish, but I thought buying a car from an online dealership would protect me from a scam. They have a reputation to maintain, don’t they? I really believed that if they advertised and listed cars on the internet, I could trust them with my money. Well, not so much, as it turns out.
You need to learn from me. Their swindle wasn’t fancy; it was just that I thought they were okay to do business with. I called them about the car. It was just what I wanted and the price was right. Well, over the phone they asked me for a credit card to secure the car until they had a chance to bring it to me. And I gave it to them. Why? Because they had been doing business for years and I thought I could trust them. Besides, I didn’t want anybody else getting that car. The deposit was over $1,500 but I wasn’t too worried about it. I mean, if I didn’t like the car, I’d get my money back.
Or so I thought. The car was delivered to my house and it wasn’t anything like the pictures. Well, one side was, but the other side had been in a wreck and fixed wrong. The dealership said I could drive the car for a couple days and let them know. Then, we’d handle the paperwork online.
I started it up and drove it. It was a piece of junk. It ran like an old junky truck. I stopped to get a hamburger. When I came back, the car smelled hot. There was fresh coolant under it. Lifted the hood and there was a big hole in a hose.
I got it home and called the dealership. I told them to come and get the thing and bring my money back. They informed me that the deposit was nonrefundable! What? They never told me that! They said it was in the paperwork in the glove compartment. I never saw it.
To make a long story short, I didn’t lose my money. I managed to get it back after fighting for it for a month, but I felt like an idiot. I swore I’d never look for another car online.
My sister is smarter than me. I told her what happened and she laughed. But she did let me in on her secret. Which was, if you’re going to buy something big online you better have protection. www.tradepavilion.com was her suggestion. She used it to buy a motorcycle and it was easy and her money was protected. She told me to read about them. I’m glad I listened to her.
I found another car online, this time from a private seller. He knew about the escrow company and said it was the only way he did business. He needed to be protected, too. When the car turned out to be great, I had tradepavilion.com release the money to him. All’s well that ends well. But be careful!