Buying a car online? Five tips to ensure you are not scammed

  • Digital sales platforms offer a whole lot of convenience to prospective car buyers but is it entirely safe? Much could depend on you.
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only.

Digital sales channels in the Indian automobile industry have gained mammoth traction in Covid-19 times with almost every car and bike brand in the country offering a simple and convenient way of making new purchases. Digital sales platforms are almost always claimed as safe but this reference is mostly related to health safety. Equally important, however, is financial safety and safety related to online transactions and payments. Here is where some with nefarious intentions can pose a threat to your plans of driving home a beautiful new ride.

In the recent past, there have been numerous incidents reported related to online fraud when making either automotive-related inquires or outright purchases online. While OEMs ensure that digital safety and security of netizens are an absolute priority, a few end up falling pray to fake websites, offers, claims and the likes.

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Here are five tips to ensure your car-purchasing experience online is safe and free from any potential threats:

*Beware of outlandish schemes and discounts - If an offer seems to good to be true, it probably isn't. It is very important to verify the credibility of deals and offers as these may not be from either the brand or the dealer, and may only be a way to lure you to a fake website.

*Check credibility of a web portal - Just because a website has a neat and attractive page listing out all vehicle-related information and is peppered with photos of your dream car does not mean it is authentic. One quick-fire way of ensuring authenticity of a website is to check its URL. Any junk characters or numerics ought to instantly raise suspicion. One can even make use of website-authenticity checking softwares but if you don't wish to make it complicated, just visit website of a brand through their verified social media handles.

*Avoid spam mails - Checking and clicking promotional e-mails is not a good idea. It is best to leave such mails to the ‘Spam’ folder. Chances more often than not are that these are intended for phishing and user data can potentially fall in the wrong hands.

*Verify payment portals - Paying online has become part of routine life but it is always a good idea to be absolutely sure about the payment gateway before punching in your credit card or bank account details. This is true regardless of whether you are purchasing a book or putting in a down payment for your next set of wheels. If in any doubt, reach out to the brand on their customer care numbers or their social media handles or to the nearest authorized dealership.

*Check and cross-check - It is always advisable to make an informed decision. The process becomes simpler online when one can do comparisons of multiple products or variants of a same model at the click of a button. As such, it is important to make note of every detail of interest on the screen when sitting in front of your device to make a purchase.

Internet has made life a whole lot simpler for today's people. There is as such no reason why something like a new car purchase can't be done online. That said, it is always better to be safe than sorry and the above tips may help you have a pleasant purchasing experience.

(Note: The tips above are for reference purpose only and are intended to assist prospective customers making car and bike purchases)

First Published Date: 27 Aug 2021, 11:51 AM IST

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