“When I bought a car privately last year, my sister suggested I do a lien check. I laughed. I had no idea what a lien was; why search for one?! I’d found a Mazda on Craigslist. I took it for a test drive, my mechanic inspected it, the price was good. I bought it. It wasn’t until the car was towed by a bailiff that I learned the seller had used the car as collateral on a loan. The bank seized my car under the lien it held. I had no idea they could just tow away my car even though I didn’t owe them a cent.”
– William, Richmond, BC
Each year, British Columbians buy more than 400,000 used vehicles, double the number of new vehicles purchased. Of the used vehicles bought in the province, a third are private sales, where the risks of fraud can be greater than when buying from a car dealer.
Whether you are buying privately or from a dealer, here are seven steps you can take to reduce the chances of being a victim of fraud when buying a used car.