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An Easy to Use App Is Disrupting the Auto Marketplace by Adding Trust and Transparency

Updated on April 13, 2018
Kristina Lasher profile image

Kristina Lasher has her B.S. in Communications with a focus in Culture.

The Need for change in the used-car marketplace

Blinker explains, their app is disrupting the auto marketplace by adding trust and transparency with an easy-to-use app. The need for this application is at an all-time high, because there are so many scams waiting to find unsuspecting victims on popular online platforms including Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and EBay. Blinker filed for 16 process patents to revolutionize the used-car market focused on protecting the interests of the buyer and seller the same. Approximately one-third of all sales by individual owners occur on platforms like Craigslist and EBay.

Recent News Should Make Everyone Nervous About Conducting Any Business on Facebook

Facebook Courtesy of Book Catalog's Flickr Page
Facebook Courtesy of Book Catalog's Flickr Page | Source

Facebook Marketplace scams on the rise

Facebook Marketplace scams usually involve an unavailable seller prior to the completion of the transaction.The Better Business Bureau reports, Facebook Marketplace has seen an increase in scams for big-ticket items including used cars, RV's, and apartment rentals. These scams have eroded the trust of buyers on Facebook marketplace, because victims have reported paying for goods, or property, but never receive what they pay for.

These scams usually begin with a deal that is "too good to be true." This is always the first warning sign, and explains why trust and transparency need to be added to the auto marketplace. Buyer and seller alike require information related to cars, so they can make educated decisions about their transaction. When a potential buyer knows the price seems well below the market value, they know they need to ask what is wrong with the vehicle.

Next, the seller usually messages the potential customer to let them know they are unavailable for a face-to-face meet because of some varying reason including a death in the family, military service, or traveling abroad. To make potential buyers feel more comfortable the fraudulent seller will then offer a reputable third-party service like PayPal, or EBay to conduct the transaction similar to escrow services while the goods are being transferred. This would be a great tool if used properly, but the information usually received is fraudulent, including the link to the third-party service.

Once the funds are transferred to the fraudulent seller, the buyer has no legal recourse since the transaction occurs outside the protections of the online marketplace.Facebook warns users to never conduct business if the seller is unable to produce the product in person for inspection. Facebook also urges users to report any potential scams. It is impossible to fix a problem they are unaware of.

Be Prepared for Bait and Switch Images

The car looks like new in picture in ad, but looks like above in person.
The car looks like new in picture in ad, but looks like above in person. | Source

Craigslist car scams invite potential buyers to see car prior to sale

According to Road and Track, one of the most common scams on Craigslist is curb stoning, which involves the car scam occurring in at the “curb.” These scammers meet unsuspecting buyers through Craigslist with a deal too good to be true. To help make the potential buyer feel more comfortable the fraudulent seller asks the buyer to come see the car in person at their home.

The fraudulent seller is aware most people would prefer to buy from a private seller, instead of a used car dealership. There is no way to know with any certainty the home the car is parked in front of, is owned by the person with the car, that's even if they own the car either. In many cases, the title has even end up having the name of a dealership on it.

To combat this trend, it is important for potential buyers to see the title of the vehicle prior to making any payments. It is easy enough for someone to sell a car that does not belong to them, and then hand over a title that cannot be transferred because it was not sold by the correct party. Potential buyers should always be weary when it is clear the seller is trying to lie to them to make a sale.

Identity and title verification depicts how the auto marketplace is able to remove the threat of scams almost entirely. In many states, licenses are required for individuals selling more than a handful of cars a year. People who use Craigslist to sell vehicles without proper licenses are breaking the law, but they make it so much worse when they sell junk cars, or never produce the vehicle at all.

In 2017, the practice of curb stoning reached an unprecedented level after Hurricanes Harvey and Maria. Ads were found all over Craigslist offering great deals, because the cars damaged from the extreme flooding down south. Craigslist is an advertisement forum and well known for less than desired results from the different categories. I have personally found nothing but scams on Craigslist, regardless if I was selling an item, or I was looking for an apartment.

EBay is popular online marketplace

Source

EBay scams seem to be the most elaborate

TheBalance explains, scams on EBay usually begin with the fraudulent seller trying to move the conversation to private email, to see if the buyer is unaware this is not a preferred action. Once a buyer sends money digitally, it is difficult to recoup the money lost, especially when it involves directly wiring money to the seller. In one instance the victim even purchased 1200 dollars in EBay gift cards for a car she never received.

There are many other scams common on EBay including missing transactions, requests to work with escrow services, high-value-untested items, second chance offers, deep discounts, and requests to pay by wire. NBC Chicago reports, 17 year-old Enyaeva Michelin was caught in a scam while trying to purchase her parents a car for Christmas. This gift card scam was so elaborate the teenager didn't have a chance.

Once again the price for the car was way too good to be true, which should have been a red flag, but Michelin had been saving her money for three years. Michelin received emails from what looked like EBay Motors, but turned out to be a scam. The fraudulent seller requested she pay for the car with EBay gift cards. Instead of using the gift cards through the platform to pay for the cards, she read the numbers over-the-phone.

Before buying the EBay gift cards she should have done her due diligence to make sure what she was spending her hard earned money on would be worth it in the end. Sadly it wasn't, Two weeks later she contacted the number in the email sent to her, which resulted in the scammer trying to get more money out of her. It is important to look for the official contact for the platform being misrepresented and find out if the information is correct before any money changes hands.

Used Car Searches Can Come from Parking Garages Near You

Source

Adding trust and transparency to the used car industry

Identification verification and title verification add trust to the buying process when people know all parties and cars involved are verified. The Blinker App achieves this by requiring a copy of the drivers license and a copy of the title of the vehicle sold. Trust is also added because the buyer and seller can feel confident the person they are conducting business is who they claim to be. The app will never allow a title to be sold from anyone but the person on the title to ensure every aspect of the sale is legal and binding.

Transparency is added since the app does not charge for their services, they just want to be helpful during the car buying process. Blinker expresses how they do make their money, which is through their loan financing options. Buyers gain the ability to spend more through flexible payment options, and the sellers are always paid up front. This also helps the sellers indirectly, because it gives private sellers access to financing for their buyers, which will give people the freedom to spend even more on the used vehicle.

Blinker is disrupting the auto marketplace

The Blinker App makes the car buying and selling process easier, while minimizing the risks. The information available helps buyers and sellers make educated decisions about their upcoming transactions. The app allows the user to decide what kind of car they are looking for, how far they want to travel to get it, how much they want to spend, and how they would like to pay for it.

The Denver Post asserts the importance of the Blinker App on their community by highlighting the fact the company won the Southwest Interactive Innovation Award for New Economy and the City of Denver’s Gazelle award in 2017. I downloaded the app myself because I have been in the market to trade in my 2008 vehicle. I loved the app, but I was really disappointed to find out it is currently only available in Texas, Florida, and Colorado, soon to include California. The rest of the auto industry should be really nervous for when this app is up and running across all 50 states!


By Kristina Lasher


Sources:

The Better Business Bureau: Scam Alert: Shoppers Beware of Facebook Marketplace Cons

https://www.bbb.org/council/news-events/bbb-scam-alerts/2017/10/scam-alert-shoppers-beware-of-facebook-marketplace-cons/

The Balance: How to Recognize Common eBay Scams Against Buyers

https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-recognize-common-ebay-scams-against-buyers-1140304

Denver Post: Used-car app Blinker takes aim at market dominated by Craigslist, eBay

https://www.denverpost.com/2017/04/06/used-car-app-blinker/

NBC Chicago: High School Student Loses $1,200 in New Gift Card Scam

https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/High-School-Student-Loses-1200-in-New-Gift-Card-Scam-468699823.html

Road and Track: How to Avoid This Common Craigslist Car Buying Scam

https://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a12216400/how-to-avoid-this-common-craigslist-car-buying-scam/

The Blinker App: Blinker FAQ

https://www.blinker.com/faq/


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