Just made a car purchase through Facebook Marketplace? – If you’re currently in the market for a vehicle, you’ve likely noticed two notable trends: an unusually high demand for used cars and a surge of buyers and sellers flocking to Facebook Marketplace for transactions.
ACQUIRING A VEHICLE ON FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE
While you can’t directly buy a car on Facebook Marketplace, you can browse listings and establish contact with a seller to potentially purchase a vehicle. The specifics of this process can vary depending on the seller’s type and whether the vehicle has an existing loan that must be settled before transferring the title to you as the new owner.
Making Informed Choices
When searching for a used car online, it’s crucial to adopt a cautious approach. Consider buying locally and carefully review the seller’s profile or business page for any red flags, such as a limited number of friends or a recently created profile. If dealing with a dealership, conduct additional research by checking reviews and recommendations from sources outside of Facebook, ensuring that the dealer’s information aligns with their Facebook presence.
It’s also important to note that auto insurance typically doesn’t cover pre-existing damage. This damage can range from minor scratches and dents to more serious issues that may indicate a past accident that the seller might not disclose. Before meeting the seller in person to finalize the purchase, obtaining the vehicle’s VIN and running a CarFax or similar history report can be a wise move to confirm its accident history.
Beware of Scams
Given the current high demand for used cars, scammers are more likely to be active. If a car deal appears too good to be true, exercise caution. Listings offering used cars at unusually low prices tend to attract a lot of attention, increasing the risk of someone falling victim to a scam. Scammers may even impersonate dealerships to deceive unsuspecting buyers.
- Never purchase gift cards as payment for a car.
- Request the VIN to ensure it matches the pictures and description in the ad.
- Verify that the information aligns with that of a legitimate dealership ad.
- Refrain from sending money upfront without inspecting the car in person.
Purchasing a car can be a substantial investment, and dealing with an unfamiliar individual may pose safety concerns, particularly during in-person meetings and transactions. Facebook Marketplace doesn’t offer vehicle purchase protection, so both buyers and sellers should exercise diligence. Here are some safety measures to consider:
- Bring a friend or family member along for the transaction.
- Choose a well-lit, public meeting place, ideally with other people around, or consider meeting at a police station.
- Verify that the VIN, description, and photos accurately represent the car.
- Consider conducting the financial transaction at the DMV or a bank.
- Ensure all documentation (title, lien release, bill of sale, etc.) is correct before exchanging money.
After the Purchase
Once you’ve completed the purchase, there are immediate steps to take to assume ownership of the vehicle:
- Report the sale to your insurance company.
- Ensure the car is adequately insured according to your state’s minimum requirements.
- Complete the title transfer process at the DMV, transferring ownership from the previous owner to you.
- If mandated by your state, take the car for an inspection.
Given the hot used car market, Facebook Marketplace can be a valuable platform for finding great deals or selling a vehicle for profit. Sellers should be transparent about pre-existing damage, ensure that photos and descriptions are accurate, and offer a fair price. Buyers should stay vigilant against scams, consider obtaining a VIN report for a comprehensive history check, and take precautions to ensure their safety during the transaction. Always verify your state’s DMV and insurance requirements to avoid potential legal issues, fines, or license and vehicle suspensions when buying or selling a new or used car.