Sunday, August 18, 2013

Legit buyer or not? Once Driven.

Once Driven - How do I know if a buyer is legit?
There are many people on the Internet trying to scam individuals out of their vehicle and/or money. So how can you tell if a buyer is legit? After years of selling vehicles online, we've heard of many schemes and scams. Since the late 1990's, most of them have been transacted via email due to the ease and anonymity of setting up email accounts.

The simplest way to determine if someone is legit is to have them call you. If you are selling a vehicle on Once Driven and someone suspicious emails you, ask them to call you to discuss the vehicle. Considering most scams originate from overseas or foreign countries, the vast majority of scammers will move on to their next target. Phone numbers are traceable and it's difficult to hide their true intentions via phone.

If someone does try to perpetuate a scam via phone, it is typically done by pretending to call from a company.  Over the years, our staff has been alerted to individuals calling on customers on behalf of Once Driven.  If you ever receive a call from Once Driven, please listen for a name and phone number. No representative from our company will call a buyer or seller without leaving proper credentials.

If you would like to learn more about common Internet car buying scams, visit this page:

If you feel a Once Driven representative contacted you errantly OR if you simply wish not to have a representative contact you, please visit this page:

If you have additional questions, feel free to chat live with representative on our website or call our Customer Support Team at 855-844-2646.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Taking good photos of your used car is important to selling.

It is said "A picture is worth a thousand words.", or in the case of selling a vehicle, it could be worth thousands of dollars. When selling a used car, sellers should understand the importance good photos play in the process. Studies have shown that online listings with photos are viewed nearly twice as much as those without. Once Driven recommends having four photos (or more) that give buyers a good overall look at the vehicle.

Here are a few recommendations:

Wash the vehicle.
Clean cars photo well and suggest to buyers they have been maintained.

Take photos in a well-lit area.
Avoid distracting shadows from trees, etc. Choose a nice, sunny day.

Include an interior picture.

The driver's seat and dash area are good. Remove trash and personal belongings.

Omit people from the photo.
Including people in the photo may distract buyers and/or send the wrong message.

Include photos of what you want buyers to see.
If you have custom wheels, engine or an immaculately maintained interior, include a photo.

Here are a few examples of photos that need improvement:

Clean, decent lighting, the signs and shadows are a bit distracting.
Car has decent lighting, but it's filthy.

Trash in the floorboard is a no-no. Looks like a fresh spill.
Nice, clean interior. Should have captured more of the console.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Used Car Buyers - How do you plan to pay?

When looking to purchase a used car from a private individual, you need to know how you plan to pay. Unlike shopping at a dealership where financing options are available, you will need to either pay cash or check to a private seller.

Here are a few options:

Cash – Don’t roll up with $20k in a briefcase, but don’t be hesitant to offer cash if you have it. It’s a very powerful negotiating tool. When seller knows they can have cash in hand they may be tempted to lower the price.

Check – For larger purchases, you can always write a check (most common method). Know that some sellers will want to allow the appropriate time for checks to clear, etc. Keep this in mind if you have to travel a good distance to purchase the vehicle.

Financing – Some buyers will finance, but this isn't common. Consider looking into a home equity loan or line of credit. The great thing about this method is that the interest is tax deductible. You could also go to the bank and get a personal loan. In any case, know what you plan to spend and get pre-approved.


- Cash talks
- Checks need to clear
- Get pre-approved for loans

Be Smart and Safe When Showing Your Vehicle to Buyers

It is important to be cautious, smart and safe when showing your vehicle to potential buyers that contact you. Taking a few simple precautions can ensure you do not fall victim to theft or unsavory characters.

When selling a used car, sellers must keep in mind that some individuals troll online listings to find potential victims. This can mean car theft or in some cases bodily harm to the seller. Here are a few tips to prevent things like this from occurring.

Avoid Meeting Unknown Individuals Alone
Always try to meet prospective buyers with a spouse, friend, neighbor or significant other. If you can’t get someone to join you, meet in a public area where there are other individuals around.

Test Drives
Never give an individual you don’t know the keys to your car without some type of collateral. Have them give you their keys, a wallet or something they would have to come back for. If they don’t have collateral, write down all of their info on their driver’s license. Also make them show you proof of insurance. If you wish to ride along with them, do not do so alone and proceed with caution. You never know what type of driver they are.

Don’t Meet at Home
It’s always best to meet unknown individuals in public areas away from your home. A mall or grocery store parking lot is great; tons of people around and typically security/ cameras to deter criminals.

Conversely, all of the previous precautions apply to those buying used cars. Beware of deals that seem too good to be true. They could be trying to lure individuals to remote locations. It’s always best for buyers and sellers to meet in public areas with other individuals present.

Don't Fall Victim to Used Car Buying Scams

Selling a used car online is the most effective way to get it in front of tons of prospective buyers. Unfortunately it’s also a great way to get it in front of scammers. With a little knowledge and caution, sellers can have a safe and successful experience.

The most common used car buying scam is…
the counterfeit cashier’s check scam. This one has unfortunately been around since the 1990’s. It remains effective because:

1) Most individuals perceive cashier’s checks to be as good as cash.
2) Banks do not have the ability to validate the authenticity of a cashier’s check instantly.

Here is how it works:
Scammers will contact a used car seller via email. Typically they are overseas or in a foreign country. They want to purchase a vehicle with a cashier’s check and have the seller ship it to them. The ‘Buyer’ will typically make the check out for the amount of the car plus the shipping costs and sometimes a little extra for the seller’s efforts.

Most sellers are cautious and wait for cashier’s check to arrive. They then take it to the bank and get cash. Once they have the cash in hand, they will call the shipping company to come pick up the car. Up to this point, things seem to be going well.

In a matter of days, the bank will determine that the cashier’s check was counterfeit. Unfortunately, it is up to the seller to give these funds back to the bank. In some cases, the car has already been shipped, the shipper has been paid and the seller is left to deal with paying back the bank.

What to watch out for:
- Messages from individuals in foreign countries
- Messages are typically via email or text
- Individuals who want to pay with cashier’s checks (foreign)
- Buyers that want to purchase the vehicle sight unseen and have it shipped

Welcome to OnceDriven's blog.

Welcome to the blog. The purpose of this blog is to provide helpful insight, tips and advice for those in the market to buy or sell used cars (or any vehicle for that matter). If you have questions or topics you would like us to cover, let us know. We've helped many people buy and sell used vehicles online and hope to pass on some of this knowledge to you.  If you haven't checked out Once Driven please do so.