(settings) | Login Skip Navigation LinksRSC Home > Reports & News > Top 5 Used Car Scams and How to Avoid Them

Top 5 Used Car Scams and How to Avoid Them

08 February 2017


It is absolutely essential that motorists are wary when in the market for a used car. This is not only so that they get a good deal on a high-quality vehicle, but also to avoid scams. Unfortunately, the second-hand market is filled with crooks and scams that attempt to sell illegal and/or unsafe vehicles to customers. Here are the top 5 used car scams to look out for.


Possibly the most common and well-known scam, clocking involves the seller winding back the odometer to make the automobile appear newer and lesser travelled (this allows them to negotiate a higher price). One of the best ways to avoid this is to check MOT history reports, which will indicate the mileage when the vehicle last had an MOT and give you an idea as to whether or not the current reading is correct.


This nasty scam is growing in occurrence due to the increase in people using websites like Craigslist to find a new motor. It involves an online seller stating that the car will be delivered (usually from overseas) once a deposit or full payment has been made to a third-party. This will be a fake escrow set up by the seller and they will then vanish once the funds have been transferred. Avoid this scam by insisting on choosing the third-party, or by always viewing a car in person before transferring funds.

Hidden History

Another very common scam is for the seller to attempt to conceal something about the car’s history. It could have outstanding finance, been previously written off or possi-bly even stolen. This is why you should always have vehicle history check carried out by a company like HPI - this will reveal the entire history and flag up any issues.

Cut n Shut

A cut n shut is a car that has been assembled out of two or more automobiles - this is both illegal and incredibly unsafe to drive. Spot a cut n shut by careful looking for uneven panel gaps, looking for signs of a paint job and check that the VIN number on the chassis matches what is listed in the paperwork.

Rental Scam

This scam involves the seller renting a car and then try to sell it to as many people as possible and collecting deposits from them. They then return the vehicle and disappear with your money. Avoid this by being wary of being rushed into a purchase, checking who the car is registered to and always view a car at the seller’s property.

Random Photo
30 - McLaren M12 Chevrolet #M6B-50-15 (Trojan) - Midwest Racing