Quebec, Quebec – CAA-Quebec is warning consumers to be wary of used vehicles for sale on the Internet advertised at prices well below real market value.

The auto club warns that these ads appear on certain popular sites and have drawn the attention of CAA-Quebec’s Automobile Advisory Services experts, who are alerting interested consumers to save them a nasty surprise.

The experts noticed that in some cases, the advertisers’ phone numbers were missing or invalid. When contacted by email, the sellers said they are travelling outside the country and the transaction can be handled quickly through an intermediary. A monetary deposit is demanded, often through websites specializing in this type of transaction.

To determine if these were isolated cases, CAA-Quebec repeated the experience several times and ascertained that the same scheme is used for other published ads.

“Several CAA-Quebec members have shown interest in these cheaply-priced vehicles,” said Sophie Gagnon, senior director of public and government relations. “Through our observations we hope to help prevent some of them from being tempted and investing money they might lose. This is why we want to issue a reminder today of certain basic rules in this matter.”

CAA-Quebec reminds consumers of the following:

– Never send money to a seller without previously obtaining and validating the vehicle’s serial number, to ensure that it was not stolen or declared an insurance write-off. Consumers should always be able to conduct a road test and have a chance to send the vehicle for a proper technical inspection before buying it or making a down payment. Gagnon said it is important to get the registration in person, because some advertisers may provide a serial number that is valid, but not for that vehicle.

– Be aware that these ads may contain misleading contact information, be online for a very short time, often just 24 to 48 hours, and vehicle photos may be touched up to make the car look more attractive.

– CAA-Quebec encourages its members to contact its Automobile Advisory Services to check the validity of offers that interest them.

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