Money & The Economy

4 Junk Yard Scams to Avoid

Can we be honest for a moment? If someone asked you to name a consistently honest, trustworthy, reliable business, “junkyard” probably wouldn’t be the first thing to come out of your mouth. Indeed, trying to sell your junk car to a local junkyard can be incredibly stressful and problematic.

There are a handful of common scams that junkyards will try to pull on the unsuspecting customer. When you’re ready to sell your junk car, knowing about these scams ahead of time can help to ensure that you find an honest junk car buyer to work with.

We’ve put together this list of the top 4 scams that can show up when dealing with a junkyard. Read on to learn more.

1. Charging you for towing

Some junkyards will try to charge you extra to tow your vehicle away. Sometimes they’ll mention this in advance, and other times they’ll add it to their invoice at the last minute without any warning. In either case, here’s the thing: the vast majority of junk cars aren’t in drivable condition, and junkyards know this. So, when a junkyard tries to charge you at the last second to tow your junk car, it’s almost certainly a sign that they’re trying to scam you. When you get a quote from a junkyard over the phone or in person for your junk car, the amount they quote you should already factor in their towing expenses.

2. Paying late

Never, ever, ever let a junk yard take your vehicle away from your property before they’ve paid you for it. Unfortunately, some junkyards will try to tow your junk car away — after you’ve signed the title over to them — and pay you later on for it. When the time for payment comes, though, they’ll often attempt to give you less than what you’d agreed upon. At this point, there’s not a lot that you can do. So, be sure to receive payment ahead of time.

3. Rip-off racket

Some junkyards employ a bait and switch tactic to try and scam their customers. It’s not uncommon for a junkyard to offer you one price over the phone for your junk car, but then try to pay you significantly less when they show up to tow it. If this happens, you’re almost certainly dealing with a scam artist. Don’t sign the title for your vehicle over to a junkyard until you’re happy with the amount you’re being offered. You deserve to get top dollar for your junk car.

4. Title and registration issues

This is a less common scam, but we’ve seen it happen. When you sell your junk car, you have to both sign over your title and cancel the registration. The latter involves removing your plates and turning them in to your local DMV. Some junkyards will tell you that they’ll “handle all of this” for you, and proceed to tow your car away with the plates attached. Then, months later, they’ll send you a bill for “storing” your car. Since the car is still registered in your name, it can be difficult to avoid paying these fees. Be sure to remove your plates and turn them in yourself.

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Carl Fox

Carl Fox is the senior money and finance writer for Conservative Daily News. Follow him in the "Money & The Economy" section at CDN and see his posts on the "Junior Economists" Facebook page.

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