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Thread: Selling your car - tale of caution

  1. #1
    Master
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    Selling your car - tale of caution

    I thought this was a well known scam but talking to a customer yesterday, it appears it's not as well known as I thought!

    Long story short, he was selling his Range Rover for £3K a couple of guys turned up, looked around the car then asked for a test drive. The owner said he'd take them out but he'd drive. A couple of minutes in to the test drive, blue smoke starts to bellow out the exhaust. Owner thinks 'How unfortunate!'. Deal is done to buy the £3K car for...£1K.

    I felt awful telling him, but it'll hopefully stop him getting conned again, that this is a common scam. Whilst they are looking over the car, one of the guys squirts oil up the exhaust from a squeezy bottle. As the test drive is underway and the exhaust gets hot, the oil burns creating a cloud of smoke.

    So be warned!


    *I fully accept that being a Range Rover, it might have just blown its tits off at the wrong time but the scam still exists!

  2. #2
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    Thanks for the warning Dave.

    Hadn't heard about this.

  3. #3
    Master IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    Another one that I’ve heard of is whilst checking the engine over one of then will squirt mayonnaise colour/type liquid into the oil cap. Then later use this to claim HG failure to knock the price down.

  4. #4
    Do people actually fall for that kind of nonsense?? I guess some do otherwise these scams wouldn’t proliferate. Too many people with zero mechanical knowledge I guess.


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  5. #5
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    Do people actually fall for that kind of nonsense?? I guess some do otherwise these scams wouldn’t proliferate. Too many people with zero mechanical knowledge I guess.


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    That's the worst thing. He's an airline pilot so pretty clued up on mechanical things.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    Do people actually fall for that kind of nonsense?? I guess some do otherwise these scams wouldn’t proliferate. Too many people with zero mechanical knowledge I guess.


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    Even with a reasonable mechanical knowledge, w/o knowledge that these sort of scams even exist people will possible be duped.

  7. #7
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    Yes, I have some mechanical knowledge - granted it's 30 years of reading Fast Lane, Performance Car, Evo and Octane - but the key here is that I would assume any problem was due to the car not the potential buyer.

  8. #8
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    If when undertaking a test drive you get blue smoke, or foam in the water would you continue to sell the car?
    I know I wouldn’t.
    Maybe I am the odd one out.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    If when undertaking a test drive you get blue smoke, or foam in the water would you continue to sell the car?
    I know I wouldn’t.
    Maybe I am the odd one out.
    Exactly, I’d just apologise for wasting their time and say I’d re advertise once the garage had fixed the problem.

  10. #10
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    ...would you continue to sell?
    No, I'd agree with you.

  11. #11
    I remember watching a video on YouTube of this sort of scam. The seller had it all recorded on their driveway camera. Il see if I can find the video.


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  12. #12
    Craftsman
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    Last time I sold a car privately chancer started to give me a list of (supposed)faults on the car, I replied “You won’t be wanting it then” locked the car up went indoors leaving him standing on the drive, next punter looked around it, heard it run and shook my hand on my price, no time for time wasters.

  13. #13
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    ^ that is fantastic.

    When I was selling my Mk1 MX5 years ago the buyer offered several £k less than the asking price as his wife wanted the Mk2 with ‘Porsche style seats’ but they were too expensive, so would I drop my price to give them a bargain.


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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaOmega View Post
    No, I'd agree with you.
    In the OP situation though, it was a 3k car with possibly that much and more needing spending to rectify (if we assume it was a blown head gasket, or piston rings failing). The seller had someone with knowledge of the fault offering 1k thereby removing repair or scrap costs. I can understand why they would be persuaded to take the money.


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  15. #15
    Master TKH's Avatar
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    That sounds particularly daft way to be duped ...and hard to believe anyone sensible would proceed with a sale of a vehicle that has suddenly developed a mysterious fault ....and accept 1/3 for it....but..

    That said I have heard of people interested in a particular lot at auction...trying to fiddle with bits under bonnet to make a car misfire or worse, so when it went through they are the highest bidder on a seemingly sick car which they know how to quickly fix....

    On a different note having been in the trade for 33 long years and done 1'000's of test drives - (some terrifying) I can confirm that there are a number of different and very clever ways certain individuals employ to steal cars on test drive or for that matter after it..

    we once lost a car on test drive when a junior salesman got out to do a swop over 1/2 way and the passenger (thief) locked the doors immediately and jumped over and drove away (lesson 1. take the keys out)....

    a small neighbouring dealer had a car stolen on test drive when another car lightly bumped into the back of it and the salesman (in passenger seat) jumped out to speak to driver behind and check for damage - doors locked both cars drove away...had a happy ending as the customer had recently rang in and they did 1471 and got his number which the Police traced doh !...not so clever, but they were lucky nobody else rang in after him or number would have been lost..

    but by far the cleverest is the Sunday test drive at 3.30 (closing at 4.00)...person walks in no px to appraise picks car of interest shows great interest in doing a deal so salesman takes out for a test drive...test drive goes fine ...customer parks car in car park locks car (3.58)...gives keys back to salesman and says 'I will let you know in morning' ...'cool'.....leaves car on car park as can't be bothered putting it back on pitch puts keys back in lockable cabinet as wants to get home on Sunday night...

    come in Monday morning car gone key still on key board...????.....the customer locked the car with the cars real key which they keep and handed the salesman a blank matching key (obtained from Ebay)...

    there really is no end to the lengths people will go to and the amount of front they have is staggering..

    Sadly you have to approach each and every interaction of anything of value with extreme caution..
    Last edited by TKH; 13th May 2021 at 16:37.

  16. #16
    Master
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    I remember the old scam at the auction ^^^

    Recovery Driver picks up decent car for a lease company, pulls out an HT lead, bit of oil up the exhaust, bit more tipped down the back of the engine.
    Remove a wheel trim or two.

    Looks uncared for at the auction.
    Driver then bids on it, buys it and resells it himself.

  17. #17
    Master IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    That key swap happened to a dealer in Wembley, remember seeing it featured on TV.

  18. #18
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pitfitter View Post
    Last time I sold a car privately chancer started to give me a list of (supposed)faults on the car, I replied “You won’t be wanting it then” locked the car up went indoors leaving him standing on the drive, next punter looked around it, heard it run and shook my hand on my price, no time for time wasters.
    Many years ago in my youth I sold cars for a sideline. Had a Fiat X19 which came pretty cheap through the trade but was basically sound. Needed a bit of upholstery work and a good clean up. Had a few calls on it and the first guy to turn up was delighted to tell me how he was an 'expert' on X19s and knew everywhere to look on them to find problems. Said he'd looked at loads of them and none had come up to his standard! I said, 'I don't think this one will either so I won't waste your time', and just went back in the house without even opening the garage. Next guy who turned up bought it for the asking price.
    “The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.”

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldoakknives View Post
    Many years ago in my youth I sold cars for a sideline. Had a Fiat X19 which came pretty cheap through the trade but was basically sound. Needed a bit of upholstery work and a good clean up. Had a few calls on it and the first guy to turn up was delighted to tell me how he was an 'expert' on X19s and knew everywhere to look on them to find problems. Said he'd looked at loads of them and none had come up to his standard! I said, 'I don't think this one will either so I won't waste your time', and just went back in the house without even opening the garage. Next guy who turned up bought it for the asking price.
    I remember selling my dad’s Previa years ago. It was decent. Guy phoned up, asking to see it Sunday. I don’t work Sunday’s but as it was my old man’s, I agreed as he promised he was a serious buyer - He was driving down from Birmingham to London.
    We agreed to meet at 10am at my house. 10 am came and went. So did 11. At quarter to twelve, the door went. I opened it to be greeted by three blokes. The first thing one of them said, before Hello or Sorry we’re late was ‘there’s a few scratches, I want a cheaper price.’
    Without a word leaving my lips, I shut the door, turned around and went about my day. They knocked for about 5 minutes then, I assume taking the hint, took the long drive back up the M6.

  20. #20
    Master
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    An uncle of mine had his Porsche stolen from the yard of the company he owned.

    The thief was a guy he’d just been interviewing for a job for 45 mins, he must have taken the key out of my uncles coat pocket when he’d stepped out to make him a coffee prior to the interview.

    Then he’d sat through the interview, shook his hand at the end of it, said he’d find his own way out as my uncle walked him back to the door.

    The yard CCTV then showed the guy heading for the gate, doing a u-turn and getting in the car and driving off.

    He never saw the guy or car again. My uncle was angry about it, and felt stupid and embarrassed for years afterwards.

    The brass neck of some crooks is almost unbelievable.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by IAmATeaf View Post
    That key swap happened to a dealer in Wembley, remember seeing it featured on TV.
    Happened to us some years ago , 2 keys on the hook in the key cupboard and it was only when I compared the profile of the keys that we realised they were not for the same car !! We then kept any spare keys in a separate place.

  22. #22
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave O'Sullivan View Post
    I remember selling my dad’s Previa years ago. It was decent. Guy phoned up, asking to see it Sunday. I don’t work Sunday’s but as it was my old man’s, I agreed as he promised he was a serious buyer - He was driving down from Birmingham to London.
    We agreed to meet at 10am at my house. 10 am came and went. So did 11. At quarter to twelve, the door went. I opened it to be greeted by three blokes. The first thing one of them said, before Hello or Sorry we’re late was ‘there’s a few scratches, I want a cheaper price.’
    Without a word leaving my lips, I shut the door, turned around and went about my day. They knocked for about 5 minutes then, I assume taking the hint, took the long drive back up the M6.
    Nice one. Had a similar thing selling my fathers Avenger GT back in the day.
    “The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.”

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