Chances are you have never heard the term curb stoner. However, you might have met one and not even known it. A curb stoner is a “professional” used car seller who poses as a private individual selling his or her own car. You can find curb stoner’s cars everywhere; parking lots, people’s front yard, parked in a parking lot with a for sale sign on it. These types are especially menacing to the average car buyer.
Not to say that buying a car from an individual is bad. However when you run into people who are posing to be something that they are not (telling you that they are selling their personal car when it is just a car that they bought at auction), that is when the problems begin.
There are two surefire ways to beat the curb stoners at their own game. First make sure that you get a CarFax report on the car before you even think about giving them your money. This is simple and costs about $30. It will be the best $30 that you will spend for this purchase. Simply go to the CarFax website and enter the car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). You will receive a report that will tell about the odometer history, any wrecks or title abnormalities and a host of information about the car that you are looking to buy. You will have to ask the seller to give you the VIN. A sure sign that there might be something fishy with the seller is if they refuse to let you have the VIN number. At that point, I would just walk away.
Second, make sure that when you are buying a car from an individual (or used car from a dealer for that matter) you have it checked out by a certified mechanic. Like the CarFax report, it will be the best money that you could spend. There might be hidden problems that will not show themselves for several months after you bought the car.
As with all used car purchases, just be aware of any red flags that pop-up along the way. And just remember you can always say, “no I don’t want to buy the car”.