Friday, May 30, 2008

Craigslist: Buyer Beware

I talked to two separate people today who found cars for sale on Craigslist and got ripped off.

I firmly believe people are essentially good-hearted but here is the most helpful tip with regard to buying things from private parties:

Actually take possession of the item at the time of sale.
No Goodies = No Money.

Don’t send someone money, especially through PayPal, ahead of time. I mention PayPal specifically because they are not a bank and therefore play by their own rules. In the event of fraud their obligation to you would be different than a credit card.

Think about PayPal (or sending a check even) like promising to put money under a rock then coming back to that rock the next day to find your item. And good luck with that plan.

Craigslist is a great way to buy/sell items but remember that there are folks out there who are actively trying to steal your money. Like eBay a year or so ago, it’s the hot new forum for fraud.

Incidentally there are other important things about buying cars. For one you will want the title and a bill of sale. It'd also be nice to have every piece of ID you can possibly verify for the selling party in case it all goes bad and you need to track them down later.

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