[Beware] Don&039t Fall For These Cash For Junk Car Scams

we all want a good deal.

but knowing how much your car is worth can be hard. and made more difficult by unscrupulous dealers who might exploit your ignorance.

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We’ve rounded up some of the top salvage car scams to avoid when selling your car. read on to find out what they are.

how widespread are scams?

junk yards and used car dealers don’t always have the best reputations.

However, most auto junkyards are legitimate businesses that will give you honest information and a fair valuation. unfortunately, there are a significant number of companies that will not.

We can’t know for sure how many junkyards use unscrupulous tactics. But reports suggest there are over 1 million used cars that have had their title washed. this means that a vehicle designated for junk was “washed” of its junk mark and resold.

so there are traffickers who are getting rich by breaking morality and the law. Now let’s take a look at how they do it.

vague units

How many pounds are in a ton?

if you answered £2000, then you’re ready to get scammed. When selling your car for scrap, it will often be valued on the tonnage. but there are two kinds of tons.

one net ton equals 2,000 pounds. but the long or metric ton equals 2,240 pounds. Rogue junkyards won’t go out of their way to tell you what drives they’re using. instead, they will pay out in large amounts and you will lose cash.

stay alert and check what units are quoting you. if it looks like they’ve been trying to rip you off, it might be time to find a new car junkyard.

trailer problems

Is the towing fee included in your cost?

suspected dealers won’t tell you, and if you don’t ask, you could be in for a surprise. a disreputable auto junkyard will add the cost of towing to the fee you’ve already been quoted.

You may only find this out when they come to pick up the vehicle. this tactic is often combined with a very high offer. This is how they come to collect and not only demand money for the tow truck, but also a higher figure for the car.

in some cases, you may even be charged double for towing. one charge will be included in the cost of the car and another at the point of towing the car.

You should ask questions about this ahead of time. junkyards direct will tell you, but if you don’t ask, it’s only your own fault.

false incentives

if your car wrecker is trying to sweeten the pot with non-monetary incentives, beware.

These dealers will offer you a rate below the current rate for your car. but they will try to offer incentives like coupons to make up the difference. this may look good at first glance, but these coupons are not equivalent in value.

Often the coupons they issue are very restrictive. they can be vacation coupons for very limited times of the year. or discount vouchers that can only be redeemed in very specific circumstances.

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It’s rare that these incentives ever match the amount of cash you’re losing with them. don’t trade in your car for anything less than the cash it’s worth.


if your junkyard is putting too much pressure on you to sell, it might be time to reconsider.

A good buyer will give you time to think about your offer and answer any questions you have. if he’s pressured into making a decision, it’s because he doesn’t have time to think about the details of the offer.

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Not only is this poor customer service, it’s a classic scammer’s trick. people make bad decisions under pressure, so it’s the best way to get them to sell their car for less than its market value.

This is more likely to happen if you’re already at the auto junkyard. maybe they gave you an offer over the phone. now they are trying to pressure you into giving up your car and accepting whatever amount they have offered you.

Always keep in mind that you have every right to withdraw at any time. the more pressure you put in, the less likely you are to get a good deal.

payment method

make sure you know how you get paid.

Cash is generally the safest way to get value for your car. checks might bounce and other forms of payment might never show up in the first place. don’t expect to see money if you’re not getting paid when you turn in your car.

giving up title to your car means you no longer own it. if you don’t get the money at this point, there’s not much you can do about it.

If you’re accepting payment by some other method, make sure you’re with a reputable reseller. dealers with a solid reputation will rarely attempt something so obvious.

never accept any type of installment plan for your payment! Your car must be sold for a single lump sum. you have no way of controlling the fees yourself, so you can’t take action if the buyer refuses to pay.

be careful if they tell you your money will be held on escrow. escrow services must be from third parties that exist to protect a transaction. but there are fake trusts that only exist to fool people. you will discover that the money has disappeared when you come to claim it.

operate without a license

if a car junkyard is operating without a license, walk away.

A license is not always a guarantee that you are dealing with a trustworthy company. but the lack of a license is a definite red flag. if the business is legitimate, why wouldn’t it have a license?

Don’t be afraid to ask for the car junkyard license. this should be perfectly normal for them. a genuine trader will be happy to provide you with the information to put your mind at ease.

moving the posts

bad dealers know how to think on the fly.

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one of their cleverest tricks is to play “shell games”. this involves deliberately confusing him as a way to circumvent the decisions he has made.

For example, let’s say you’re selling your car as a trade-in. they will make sure to offer you the price you want. but at the same time, they will also increase the cost of the car you are buying.

or this trick might fail. the dealer will lower the price of the car he wants. As soon as you’re interested in the savings, you’ll lower your car trade-in cost. suddenly, the generosity has disappeared.

You still get what you want in theory, but in practice, you’re being ripped off. again, take the time to understand the math of what you are being told. you will often be pressured into making a bad decision if you let the trader blind you with numbers.

reviewing the offer

used car dealers are very good at getting people to the yard.

just like when it comes to selling cars, they’ll say anything to get you to show up. Often this means quoting a high figure for the car you are selling or trading in.

when you arrive, that figure will mysteriously change. they will say that the car is in poor condition or that it is a less popular variation of the model.

this is especially useful for out of the way car junkyards. they know that the more effort you put in to get there, the less you want to leave empty-handed. they also rely on your desperation to get rid of a car you no longer want.

try to keep your patience. don’t sell just because you’re already there. Take your car to a more reputable auto junkyard and leave the rogue dealer out of profit.

doing you a favor

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They told you your car is worthless, but they’re going to take it anyway?

If so, you’ve been scammed. The vast majority of cars will have scrap value, at least. but most will have more value than that.

after all, the dealer wouldn’t touch it if it wasn’t worth anything to them. If the auto junkyard you’ve chosen tries to provide you with this line, find another. it’s a sure sign of a dishonest buyer.

Buyers will often try to undervalue your car. This tactic serves two purposes. First, it makes you feel like you’ve got a good deal when trading your way up. but you only really get what the car is worth, if you’re lucky.

Second, the dealer can use this to determine how dumb you are. if you accept their assessment without hesitation, they know they can exploit you.

no demand

It is in the buyer’s interest to convince you that your car is worthless.

Many buyers will say they simply don’t have demand for the model you’re selling. then they can get away with quoting below the going rate for their vehicle.

The best way to combat this approach is to do your research early. Is your car popular in your area? Is it often used for spare parts? many suspected traffickers rely on their victims’ lack of knowledge, so they will quickly back down when you tell them the facts.

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but even if you do get them to move, you should still shop elsewhere. if they’re prepared to try this trick, they’ll probably try many others.

too expensive to repair

Relating to the above, auto shops will sometimes convince you that your car is too expensive to repair.

in this case, the auto shops will offer to take the car away for scrap, once again. But this time, they’ll just fix it up and sell it for a profit. not only do you not have a car, but you might have the displeasure of seeing your car for sale at a later date.

This can also be a sign that the shipyard is in the title laundering business. they want the car to be sold for scrap so they can sell it as a useful vehicle elsewhere.

the paperwork

if you’re selling your car, be sure to deregister it and remove the plates.

don’t ask the junkyard to do this for you. some distributors will not be able to cancel the registration. that means everything that happens to the car will still be traced back to you.

Some dealers even have the nerve to charge previous owners to store the car on their lot.

so what can i do?

You might be wondering this after reading a list of ways you can get scammed!

fortunately, most junkyards are honest businesses. they will be honest with you and treat you like a customer. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to find reputable junkyards. they should also have few complaints filed with the better business bureau.

but you should also stay informed. even with an honest business, you could be unlucky and deal with an unscrupulous staff member.

The best way to avoid scams is to do your research. know how much your car is worth and stick to that number. If you’ve been told your car is repairable, don’t accept an offer to scrap it.

You should always be as honest as possible with a dealer to avoid surprises. even an honest shipyard may have to revise the price if you haven’t told them everything.

Lastly, be sure to cancel your registration and remove your plates before you sell your car. You don’t want to be responsible for anything that happens after you’ve sold it.

be smart at the car junkyard

There are more disadvantages than those listed here. but if you keep the above in mind and stay informed, you should be able to avoid the worst the industry has to offer. find a trusted dealer and get full value for your car.

be sure to follow our blog for more tips on selling your car to a salvage yard, or contact us for a free quote.

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