The first thing majority of Kenyans do when they want to buy a car is to go online which is okay. Anyone would want to shop online first before going to the actual premises. One thing fraudsters use as a hook to entice potential car buyers to transact with them is the price. Fraudsters give the lowest price possible. For instance, the real pricing of a Fielder 2014 model in the market is between 1.3 million to 1.4 million Kenya shillings. A fraudster will for instance quote about Ksh. 800,000 for the same car. The pricing of the car can be used as the measure of credibility of the online seller. It is advisable to compare the prices from different car dealers to know the real market prices for a specific car. One may quote 1.4 million, another one 1.3 million, and another one 1.35 million. Therefore, if you come across one quoting 800,000 for the same car then you should be very careful.
The other area used by these car fraudsters is the issue of hire purchase. Like the example I have used of Fielder 2014 model, the market price is between 1.3 to 1.4 million Kenya shillings. A deposit of the same car should cost you between Ksh 700,000 to Ksh 850,000. When you go online you find that somebody has indicated that the deposit for the car is Ksh 300,000. This is a red flag. One thing people should know is that before anyone gives you are car on hire purchase, there are things they consider. One thing they consider is the cost of bringing the car to the port of Mombasa, clearing and paying duties on the car. Therefore, if the deposit you are being asked to pay is not even able to buy the car in Japan, chances are high that you are going to be scammed. Some dealers recover the cost of bringing the car from the deposit then they recover the profit slowly.
The payment of a commitment fee is another thing to avoid when buying a car online. Commitment is the fee you pay before seeing the car. This is how people are getting scammed. One thing to note is that these scammers package themselves very well. They can brand themselves, have formal email addresses, and even websites but they are not legitimate car dealers. Some even have registered company accounts where you are told to send the money. These scammers tell you if you do not pay the commitment fee the car will go. So you go ahead and send 150,000 or 200,000 to prevent the car from being sold. You should never pay a commitment fee for a car you have not seen.
What other red flags should people look out for when buying a car? Feel free to share.
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