NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Everyone wants a deal and a lot of people go online hoping to find one. But, when you're buying a car, you want to be careful doing it online.
It turns out, a number of dealerships in the area were recently busted for selling cars online because they weren't who they were claiming to be.
If you're wanting to save money on a car, you may consider buying used and perhaps buying or at least finding that car online. But experts say that's not a good idea because you really don't know who you're dealing with.
Case in point, the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission recently found car dealers advertising on sites like Craig's List, posing as individual sellers. They had posted their ads under the category of for sale by owner, featuring pictures and descriptions very much like you or I might post if we were selling a car and making no mention that, in reality, these cars were being sold by dealers. And the ads did not include any of the information that dealers are required by law to post in their ads.
The dealers cited by the state include:
A&J Auto Sales and Repair Shop - Lebanon
Aman Auto Mart - Murfreesboro
Cars of Nashville, Inc. - Nashville
Certified Auto Brokers, LLC - Hendersonville
Ecocars, Inc. - Nashville
Executive Auto Sales - Nashville
Liberty Auto Sales - Cookeville
Music City Motors - Nashville
Rick's Auto Sales - Smyrna
United Auto Sales and Leasing - Old Hickory
Volunteer Auto Group - Carthage
In all, the Motor Vehicle Commission busted nearly a dozen used car lots in and around Nashville, finding them guilty of engaging in false, fraudulent, or deceptive practices.
"Motor vehicle dealers in Tennessee cannot sell vehicles to you by pretending to be an individual," explained Kevin Walters, spokesman for the Tennessee Commerce & Insurance Department which oversees the MVC.
Walters said there's a reason some dealers do this.
"(Buying online) people think, 'I'm going to be getting a good deal,'" he said.
He went on to state how they know buyers often believe they'll get a better deal or a better car buying from an individual rather than a car lot. And unscrupulous dealers sometimes use this as a way to hide the truth about a vehicle's title, history or condition.
"If you want to be a savvy consumer, always do your research, always know who you're dealing with," Walters suggested.
He said your best bet is buying from a reputable car dealer because you know who you're buying from and you can file a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Commission, if there's a problem.
But if you do decide to buy it from an individual, make sure you do your research and find out as much as you can about the vehicle before you buy it. You can look up both the car's history and its approximate value online. And whoever you buy a used car from, don't take the seller's word about the car's condition. Make sure you have your own mechanic, someone you know and trust, check it out and let you know about any potential problems before you hand over your cash.
And one more thing to keep in mind, the state said if you're buying a car online, meeting the seller in a parking lot with a lot of money can put you in a lot of danger.