Three Cash for Junk Car Scams to Watch For

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

Table of Contents

After years of driving your car, you decide to get a new one, but do not want to simply throw your old one away. All vehicles have a salvage value at the end of their life, whether it is as little as a few hundred or as much as a few thousand dollars. For this reason, many people choose to call a salvage or junk car removal company to not only remove their car, but to receive cash for it as well. These are typically referred to as “cash for junk car” programs or “clunk your junker.” However, there are many junk car scams that take place that you should be aware of in order to avoid falling victim to shady companies.

Here are three cash for junk car scams to watch for:

1. One of the most common scams that occur with selling junk cars is the infamous bait and switch. Typically, you will call a removal company who will give you an estimate based on the information you provide about the junk car’s condition. This estimate should be firm, meaning that when they come to pick up the vehicle, you receive what you were quoted. If a junk car removal company decides to offer you less than your original quoted amount, it is a good idea to look for another company to avoid being scammed. Do not let anyone pressure you into turning your car over for less.

2. Make sure that when you transfer the ownership of the vehicle that it is done properly. If the title or registration is not transferred properly, it can result in several offences such as parking violations being charged to you, even if the car is no longer in your possession. Choosing a reputable car buying company is the best way to avoid this pitfall. Additionally, if you are buying a junk car rather than selling one, you should never purchase a car without a title, even if the seller offers you a form of written authorization that lets you apply for the title in your name. The claim of a lost title is a popular scam run by some unscrupulous sellers who are looking to make a quick buck off of undisclosed salvage vehicles.

3. While check writing has become obsolete in today’s society, a more popular version of a buying junk car scam is when the buyer offers to pay by check. While this in itself isn’t suspicious, if they ask to write the check for more and have you refund the difference, is a trigger that should set off red flags and warning bells. These checks almost never clear your bank and you end up having to pay the funds to cover the cost of the check and any fees associated with the check bouncing. Despite the fact that the check is fraudulent, you will still be held responsible by your banking institution.

There are many scams that are being perpetrated on unsuspecting victims each day in the used car industry. Knowing the warning signs of these scams can help you avoid falling victim and losing money.

But, selling junk cars for scrap or parts to a business that pays cash for auto salvage is a good way to realize some of your car’s value. Salvage lots sell the parts to other car owners or repair shops for money, which is why they will buy your junk vehicle in the first place. Before you sell your car, ensure you get the maximum value for it.

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About the Author


Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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