How To Spot A Junk Car Scam

It’s no secret that junk car companies can be seen as shady and illegitimate. Unfortunately, the large number of scammers out there have given our industry a bad rep, and understandably so. Nothing feels worse than the feeling of knowing you’ve been ripped off or mislead. We get it. It’s hard to spot a scam so we want to help you figure out how to spot a junk car scam.

However, it’s important to remember that there are a ton of legitimate junk car companies that will be honest and transparent with you every step of the way. We want to alleviate the stress of finding someone to junk your car by making sure you know exactly how to differentiate between a legitimate and illegitimate junk car company.

How To Spot A Scam – Junk Car Company Red Flags

The number of scam companies in the U.S. is upsettingly large. In fact, reports suggest that over 1 million junk cars have been title washed—meaning the car was “washed” of its junk brand and then resold. There are numerous accounts of people who bought a car that appeared to be in good condition but was actually seconds away from breaking down. Always thoroughly inspect a used car before signing any paperwork or completing the transaction.

The first step to spotting a scam company is knowing what to look for. There are numerous shady practices that are clear indicators of illegitimacy. We’ve provided you with a detailed list of red flags to help you spot these companies before any real harm is done.

1) Not Licensed

This is the very first red flag you should look for. Always ask to see their license right away, before you proceed to do any business with them. Legitimate companies will show it to you without a problem, while illegitimate companies will be difficult about it or straight up refuse to show you.

Come on Joe, we know the dog didn’t eat your license!

Being properly licensed isn’t always a tell-tale sign that the company is reputable, but it’s a good place to start. If the company isn’t licensed, then they shouldn’t be getting your business. Plain and simple.

2) Prays On Your Ignorance

Scam companies rely on ignorance. They hope that you know nothing about cars or their value so that they can take advantage of you. Even if you did your research and call them out on the misinformation, they’ll most likely try to convince you otherwise or refuse to do business with you.

They’ll dramatize issues such as flat tires or water damage claiming that it majorly affects the value. You should especially be wary if they went to the trouble of towing your car to their lot before giving you the disheartening news. Why would they go to all that effort if your car truly was worthless?

No matter how old or dysfunctional your vehicle is, there’s always something that can be salvaged from it. Don’t let scam companies convince you it’s complete trash.

3) Too Good To Be True

On the reverse side, some companies will give you unbelievable offers. These are the hardest ones to resist since you want so badly to believe it. Scam companies will go to ridiculous measures to lure in unsuspecting junk car owners.

They may tell you that it’s worth a ton of money upfront, tow it to their lot, and then pull the stunt we mentioned above. Always do research into how much your car is worth and take a full inventory of any issues or damages. You can always review that list with a trusted mechanic to make sure there’s nothing you’re missing. Make sure to go over that list with the junk car company before they tow it to their lot.

Another thing to watch for is offerings of coupons, gift cards or freebies. While these are not always bad, they may just be another tactic to get you through the door with the intention of screwing you over later on. It’s important to ask yourself, are you truly getting a good deal? Or are you falling for flashy offers?

4) Suspicious Payment Method

The safest and best option for payment is cash. Reputable junk car companies have similar policies where they’ll pay you cash up front and on the spot. Scam companies have become well-versed in all the ways they can snake their way out of having to pay you.

Common Junk Car Scam Methods To Watch For:

  • No up-front payment. The idea behind this tactic is to give you an up-front quote, but wait to hand over any form of real payment until after your car is towed to their lot. Scam companies will come up with all sorts of mumbo jumbo as to why they can’t pay you until afterward. Don’t believe any of it. You should always receive your money before the car is towed away and especially before you sign over the title.
  • Payment plans. Never do business with a company that tries to set up monthly installments. You should be offered a lump sum before the title has been signed over. Once the company owns the title, the car is in their ownership and they’re not legally required to pay you for it.
  • Checks. Be wary if the company tries to pay you via check. They could do everything by the books—writing the check for the full amount promised before you hand the car over, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. With checks, there’s always the risk that they may bounce. A faulty check can act as a prop that’s designed to make you feel comfortable signing the title over. If the check bounces after you’ve already signed the title of your car to the company, then sadly you’re out of luck.
  • Escrow services. Escrows are designed to make the seller feel secure since they exist to protect a transaction. The problem is that scam companies will often use fake escrows that are specifically designed to cheat people of their money. It’s just another way to make that dollar amount you were promised to vanish before your eyes.

5) They Insist On Handling The Paperwork

Once you’ve gotten the cash for your junk car and they’ve towed it to their lot, you’re still not technically in the clear. They may try to screw you by insisting that they’ll handle the paperwork for you. This slimy tactic makes people think that the workers are just trying to be helpful when in reality they’re planning to keep your registration active. If you don’t cancel your registration, anything that may happen to the car is your responsibility.

Don’t Become A Victim!

If you follow these steps on how to spot a junk car scam, you should be able to easily dodge scam companies and get the best value for your junk car. Now, these are not the only ways junk car companies will scam you out of your money, unfortunately, some go to even more creative measures. Our best advice to you is to make sure you’re educated on your car’s worth and to trust your gut. If something seems fishy or doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t. Your intuition will always guide you down the right path.

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How Do Junk Cars Impact The Environment?

So, how do junk cars impact the environment? The Junk Car industry is one that many people know little about. It’s a niche service designed to take care of people’s unwanted or junk cars. These vehicles are often missing important parts, in need of expensive repairs, or perfectly functional – but their owners are wanting something more updated.

When someone buys a brand new car, the last thing on their mind is “how will I dispose of this thing when the time comes?”. Obviously, you don’t have to worry about junking a brand new car, but realistically one day that car is going to age and break down. When that day comes, many people have no idea what to do.

Instead of doing the proper research into how to properly dispose of their vehicle, it’s common for people to just let it slowly rust away in a garage or on a street curb somewhere. Choosing to ignore the issue and let your junk car sit, unused, for years is not a good solution to the problem. In fact, it has a horrific impact on the environment.

Junk Cars And Their Impact On The Environment

Whether running or stationary, junk cars can have all kinds of negative effects on the environment. The three most detrimental effects are harmful gasses, groundwater pollution, and decomposition.

Harmful Gasses

Many people insist on driving their junk car until it wheezes its last dying breath. We understand that cars are expensive and unless you live in a highly populated city with a wealth of public transportation, they’re pretty much mandatory in today’s world. We recommend that instead of playing the daily lottery of “will my car die today or will it live to see another day?”, you plan ahead financially.

All cars, whether junk or brand new, produce Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which deplete the ozone layer. The biggest issue with continuing to drive old, dysfunctional cars is that a majority of the engines in older models release carbon monoxide and other greenhouse gasses – so basically they’re extra harmful to our ozone. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but the more damage that’s done to our ozone layer, the more severe the side effects of global warming become.

Groundwater Pollution

There are many reasons why people abandon cars; they require significant repairs, they were wrecked in an accident, or they simply don’t function anymore. When a car has crashed or sits in one place long enough, no matter the reason, the fluids leak from their containers and seep into the ground. A few of these harmful fluids include gasoline, engine oil, brake fluid, and coolants.

Contaminated soil and groundwater can cause serious health issues for both wildlife and the local population. According to the Groundwater Foundation, over 50% of the United States population depends on groundwater for drinking. Polluted groundwater due to car fluids and other chemicals, can cause sickness and may even lead to certain types of cancer.

Decomposition Of Junk Cars

When people think of littering on the most basic level, they usually picture someone unwrapping a piece of candy and then throwing the wrapper on the ground. In the case of something small, like a candy wrapper or plastic water bottle, it can easily be taken care of. The next person who happens upon it can dispose of it properly – problem solved!

With junk cars, it’s a little more complicated… Abandoning a junk car in a forest or pushing it into a pond is littering on a MUCH larger scale. If you happen upon one of these abandoned vehicles, there’s a lot more to consider. You may wonder who it belongs to, how to go about hauling away something that large, or if the rusted bits are sharp and dangerous. After weighing all your options and risks, you may figure it’s easiest to just leave the car and let it decompose on its own.

We understand why people would come to that consensus, but honestly, it’s the worst option since car parts take centuries to break down. To put things into perspective, our candy wrapper will take about 5-10 years to decompose. Obviously not great, but manageable.

The most decomposable item on a car is the rubber tires, which can take about 50-80 years to fully decompose. That still seems fairly reasonable right? Now, the least decomposable item on a car is the engine. This part can take up to 500 years to fully decompose… Yeah…That’s a little over 5 whole lifetimes!

What’s The Solution?

So at this point, you’re probably thinking “Great, I get that abandoned junk cars to have the ability to negatively impact the environment, but what can I do about it?” We have some good news! The solution is actually quite simple:

Recycle Your Junk Car!

The moment you realize that your car is getting old and is starting to rack up more and more maintenance fees, it’s time to consider investing in a new one. Create room in your monthly budget to set aside for a “new car fund” and make it happen. Try not to drag out the use of your junk car unless absolutely necessary.

Also, if you have a car that needs to be junked, don’t just let it sit in one place for years. The longer it sits, the more time you allow for the fluids to leak into the ground. The moment it breaks down or you stop using it, find a junk car company near you and sell your junk car for cash. Not only will they take the car off your hands, but the reputable ones will also either make the proper repairs to re-sell it or recycle the car so that it can be broken down and made into something useful.

Not many people realize this, but approximately 86% of a car’s material content is recycled, repurposed, or used for energy recovery. This means that every year, more than 18 million tons of steel from automobiles are recycled by the steel industry. All of this steel can be used for the construction of new cars or the construction of devices for countless other industries.

Moral of the story: There are many reasons to ditch your junk car. If you have a junk car or find one, call a junk car company immediately to have it hauled away and recycled.

How Cars Impact The Environment FAQs

Why Are Old Cars Bad For The Environment?

Many car manufacturers make the argument that classic cars are bad for the environment due to poor fuel economy and higher emissions. But most classic cars aren't driven regularly enough or far enough to make that big of an impact on the environment in those areas alone.

What Impact Do Cars Have On The Environment?

Air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds and benzene are emitted into the environment by motor vehicles. Air pollutants can contribute to urban air quality problems, such as photochemical smog and adversely affect human health.

How Does Scrap Car Removal Benefit The Environment?

1) Reduction of landfill waste- Old or damaged vehicles in Indian are often dumped at roadside. 2. Aiding energy saving. Recycling automobile promotes creating new material like steel. 3) Reduces greenhouse emission. 4) Affordable price of goods.

Are Junkyards Good For The Environment?

Though “environmentally friendly” might not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of junkyards, the truth is that car junk yards are incredibly helpful for the environment. “Reduce, reuse, recycle” is a slogan that salvage yards definitely live by!

Do Older Cars Pollute More?

Excluding new emissions standards like SULEV, a pre-regulation car will produce more pollution than a typical car each year despite the mileage difference, but a car built in the late 80s will only produce about half the non-CO2 pollution.

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