First-time car buyers - don't end up buying a lemon

First-time car buyers in Australia are being urged to remain vigilant when buying their dream motor online to avoid any potential scams.

The car rental experts at have identified how to stay safe from dodgy car dealers when buying a vehicle online.

With online dealerships becoming the most popular destination to look for and purchase cars, there has been an increase in buyers being deceived over the internet.

Certain bidding websites have been known to present vehicles in a far better condition than they are actually in.

Some dealers even go to the lengths of temporarily fixing mechanical issues with cheap and faulty parts to get them through the sale unknowingly to online customers.

A spokesperson for said: “Buying your first car can be an extremely daunting task especially when you’re looking online.

“Knowing how to spot faulty vehicles is difficult especially when you’re not an expert. That’s why we’ve listed some key things to look at before buying a car online.

“It’s important to not be afraid to ask seemingly uncomfortable questions about a particular vehicle.

“You might find that your question is met with a defensive or hostile answer, in which case it’s advisable to look elsewhere.”

Here are’s top tips when buying a car online.


Asking the seller for documents like the vehicle registration and its service history can be essential in providing a safe sale. Failure to produce these key documents should be treated with suspicion. All cars will be registered to state this registration can be found either on the windscreen or the registration documents. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to the registration sticker, as this isn’t completely legal proof that the vehicle is registered.


When searching for cars online you can stumble across a deal that seems too good to be true and more often than not, it is. Just because a car looks good aesthetically, doesn’t mean it has got any problems, the listing price will often reflect this. Check around online to see what the average pricing is.

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Confirming the seller’s identity is one way that you can validate their legitimacy. Most scammers will try and stick to a message-based form of communication such as email, and they will actively avoid phone conversations. Try and get them on the phone early on as this will also help establish a better relationship.


Arguably the riskiest part about buying a car online is the payment. Many fraudulent sellers will ask for a payment upfront right very soon into any initial talks. They will try and obtain your money via international bank transfer, PayPal F&F, or any other way that makes it difficult to get your money back. If you do need to send money, make sure to use a safer method like using a credit card, cash, or cheque, so at least you have greater security.


This might not always be possible when shopping for cars online, but inspecting a car in real life is the best way to make sure it matches up to specifications given on the listing. It is also a good time to ask the seller if you can test drive the car. Spending money on a car is a big commitment, so there must be no faults where they are not specified.

All the best to all first-time car buyers!

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