eBay Motors Scam [What Are They and How to Avoid]

When buying a car online, you should be aware of the different scams that could occur. One of the most common scams is the eBay Motors scam. What is the eBay Motors scam?

If a non-eBay car seller promises the eBay protection plan, it is almost certain that the sale is false and a scam. You will only benefit from Vehicle Protection Program after you have started and completed your transaction on eBay Motors in legit eBay car sales.

Even if the car is advertised on eBay Motors and the seller offers a deal, be wary. If the seller tells you that they will protect you through a buyer’s protection program, stay away. Don’t continue talking to them because, most likely, they are scammers.

Read on to learn more about scams on eBay Motors, how these scams work, how to spot them, and everything you need to know to avoid these types of scams.

Beware of eBay Motors Scam

ebay motors scam

If at the start of your transaction an online car seller tells you that they will give you the eBay protection plan, be wary because this is not true. It is an eBay motors protection program scam.

According to eBay Motors Security Center, you will only get the benefit of the eBay Vehicle Protection Program after you have started and completed your transaction.

So, if the car seller promises you this protection right at the outset of your negotiations, they are more likely scammers. They will just run away with your money without you seeing the car that you ‘bought.’

Even if the car looks great and has everything you are looking for, don’t just believe what the seller tells you. They will even offer you a deal if you are willing to discuss it with them off-site. This is another sign that it is a scam. They may not even own or have the car with them.

eBay Motors is a legitimate car sales website. Over 5 million customers have already bought their vehicles through this website. However, there will always be scammers who will try to fool people out of their money. You have to do your due diligence whenever you are buying a vehicle through online sites.

How the eBay Motors Scam Works

Scammers are very creative in plying their trade. This is how they typically fool people to get their money. They will post advertisements on car sales and auction sites such as eBay Motors, Craigslist, etc.

These scammers will provide a way for you to chat with them online, share photos of the car, and answer your questions. They will also make it appear that the sale is going through a reputable buyer protection program of a car retailer.

These fake sellers may also send you a fake invoice that seems to come from eBay Motors asking for payment to be made in eBay gift cards. When you call the number indicated on the invoice to check if it is legit, they will pretend that they are really working for eBay Motors.

Statistics have shown that many trusting buyers lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to these eBay Motors scams over the past year. You can avoid these scammers by keeping yourself well informed about how they work.

How to Spot eBay Motors Scams

Admittedly, it isn’t easy to distinguish a scammer because they have somehow already perfected their modus operandi. But you can still spot them if you know what to look for. Here are some of the signs that will tell you if you are dealing with an eBay Motors scam:

1. Very Low Vehicle Price

If the advertised price of the vehicle on eBay is much lower than its worth, the car sale may be fake. When the price appears to be too good to be true, it is likely a scam. An unbelievable low price is a primary characteristic of an eBay motors scam.

These scammers will tempt you with a price that you can’t resist. So, to avoid this scam, know the true value of the vehicle you want to buy. Use trusted sources such as Nada Guides and Kelley Blue Book to get their current car values.  

2. Pressure Selling

Fake eBay sellers will always try to rush you to complete the sale. They will apply different kinds of pressure tactics to force you to give your money away. To speed up your payment, they may recommend the following payment methods to finish the transaction:

  • eBay gift card
  • Direct Bank Transfer (the scammer will give you their bank account number)
  • PayPal MyCash card
  • Walmart card
  • Western Union
  • GreenDot
  • RELoadit card
  • Moneygram
  • OneVanilla card
  • iTunes card

The common and legit payment methods accepted by legit sellers include cash in person or cash on delivery, cashier’s check, personal check, money order, credit card, Bill Me Later, financial loans, and PayPal.

Before paying, it is wise to inspect the vehicle first. It is also safer to give your payment at the time you pick up the vehicle.

3. Free Shipment of the Vehicle

If the seller offers to ship the car to you for free, be careful. It may be an eBay Motors scam. They may say that they have the resources to transfer the car cross country because they work in the military or through their employer.

This strategy is similar to pricing the vehicle too low to entice you to buy it. The truth is, as the buyer, you have the responsibility to pick up the car or to hire a cargo company to ship it to your address.

4. Bad Online Reviews

Another way to spot eBay Motors scams is through bad reviews. Since the seller is offering the vehicle online, they should have a website, or at least there are reviews about their company that you can read online. Check out these reviews about the seller and really read them.

If the seller has no website, you can type their name, phone number, or email address on the browser’s search box and add “review, scam, or complaint.” By reading these reviews, you will know if the seller is legit or not. If they are legit, you will know how their customers think about them.

5. The Seller Misrepresent Themselves

How do you know if an eBay seller is not misrepresenting themselves? If you found the car on another site but the seller still says it comes with eBay protection, such as eBay guarantee, buyer’s protection plan, or eBay warranty, the sale is false. They may also say that the sale has a return policy if you are dissatisfied with the vehicle’s performance.

The truth is, eBay will only give a car buyer its Vehicle Purchase Protection if the buyer starts and ends his transaction with eBay Motors. They don’t extend protection or hold payments for transactions that are not conducted on their site.

In other words, the only way you can get this protection is to buy your car at eBay Motors. You need to log in to your account to do this. That means you must have an eBay Motors account.

6. They Are Not Able to Let You Inspect the Car

Scammers will give myriads of reasons to tell you that they can’t meet you in person and so you can’t inspect the car. They may say they are in the military, or just had a job transfer, or they work on a boat, and some other reasons.

A legitimate seller will make every effort to meet with you and show you the selling vehicle. If they can’t personally meet you, they will authorize somebody to meet you and show you the car on their behalf.

7. They Disguise Their Websites to Look Like eBay Motors

Some scammers create websites similar to eBay Motors to appear that you are on a safe car selling site. They may also make it appear that their website is associated with eBay Motors.

However, you will notice that they are scammers if their websites have the following characteristics:

  • Their manner of communication may sound too mechanical or too formal. The response they give to comments and questions are not personalized and may use general terms.
  • Their emails have noticeable errors such as broken English, poor grammar, incorrect punctuation, and misspelled words.
  • Their emails include false information such as transaction case IDs, invoice numbers, or VPP) case ID numbers.
  • Their emails are not sent from the official eBay domain. They may use terms like VPP or eBay, but they did not originate from the official eBay domain.

8. They Want You to Pay By Wire Transfer or With Gift Cards

Another way to spot an eBay Motors scam is if through the payment method. If they say they want the payment to be made by wire transfer or with eBay gift cards, they are scammers. Legit sellers will always use legit payment methods such as cash in person, cashier’s check, or personal check.

9. The Vehicle History Report Has a Different VIN

If the Vehicle Identification Number of the vehicle does not match the VIN of its documents and history reports, a scammer is trying to fool you.

10. The Seller Demands More Money After the Sale

If the seller tells you that there are some additional fees that you have to pay after paying the price of the vehicle, you are being fooled by a scammer. They may claim that the additional fees will be for transportation or shipping costs.

FBI Warning for Buying a Car Online

ebay motor scam

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned the public against sites that offer fake sales of cars and fake vehicle protection programs. According to the FBI, scammers try to sell vehicles that they do not own.

They advertise these vehicles and create attractive deals below book value to entice gullible customers to buy. To make the sale seem legal and legitimate, these scammers will falsely claim that their sales are covered with liability insurance worth $50,000.

Most often, eBay Motors scammers will tell their customers they are selling their vehicles because they are being deployed in the military. They just got divorced, have a work transfer, or some other thing to show that they are swamped moment.

So, since they have a pending move, they need to rush the sale and sell their cars at meager, unbelievable prices. They claim that the exigencies of their impending move can’t allow them to meet with their buyers and that they can’t have the vehicle inspected.

To make it appear that the deal is legitimate, the scammers tell their victims to send full or partial payment to a third-party agent via a wire transfer service. They also instruct the buyer to fax the payment receipt to the seller to prove they have already paid the amount.

The scammer gets the money but does not deliver the car for there is none to deliver. It is all a scam.

FBI’s Tips for Safely Buying a Car Online

The FBI has provided three tips that will ensure safe online car buying:

  1. Don’t send payment through wire transfers. Never use wire services such as MoneyGram, Western Union. Bank to bank transactions is safer. If you want to pay cash, do it in person and get a receipt.
  2. Check the background of the seller. Check their ratings and customers’ reviews and comments. Communicate with them directly by phone or through secure channels such as the My eBay message center.
  3. Inspect the car. Don’t settle with what the advertisement says. Search the vehicle and its history report. Before giving your payment, personally inspect the car with a competent mechanic.

eBay’s Warning for Buying a Car Through eBay Motors

eBay has given instructions to their buyers to contact them whenever they are suspicious of the deals they are getting into involving eBay Motors. Customers can forward the suspicious emails to [email protected]. They could also report the crime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

eBay also says that their Vehicle Purchase Protection only covers certain transactions that are finalized on eBay.com. If a non-eBay or Craigslist seller promises this eBay protection plan, it is a fraudulent sale and is most likely a scam. You should stay away from this kind of sale.

The vehicle protection offered by eBay is only available at eBay.com and nowhere else. For vehicles purchased on or after Sept. 1, 2016, eBay offers a VPP not exceeding $100,000. If you purchased this date, it is protected up to $50,000.

Conclusion: eBay Motors Scams

If a non-eBay car seller tells you that they will also give you the eBay protection plan, they are likely a scammer. The sale is fraudulent, and you are being scammed. In a legit eBay transaction, the buyer will only get the benefit of its Vehicle Protection Program if they initiate and complete the transaction on eBay Motors.