Dear Driving for Dollars,
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I've been reading ads for classic cars for sale on a very reputable classic car website. I found a great deal and have been corresponding with the seller who tells me the car is being sold so cheaply because the seller is trying to raise money for his mother's medical expenses. I've seen pictures and the car looks great.
He tells me Yahoo will be an intermediary, not releasing payment until I have the car in my possession with the title and paperwork I need to register it. It all seems legit, but the low price for a classic car makes me wary. Could it be a scam?
I can tell you that it almost assuredly is a scam. Scammers have been using similar techniques, supposedly selling both late-model used cars and classic cars for years now.
Yahoo does offer buyer protection programs as do other auction sites, including eBay Motors, but only for items that are purchased through their auction sites, and then it does so with restrictions such as not covering certain fees or payments made using methods other than through their sites. Because these companies offer buyer protection programs, it is easy for unsuspecting consumers to get tripped up, thinking they can get the protection for a classic car transaction that occurs outside of the website.
Unless you are making a purchase directly through one of these reputable sites, your best bet is to negotiate your classic car deal long distance but make the actual purchase in person at a local bank.
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If you have a car question, email it to us at Driving for Dollars. Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.