The latest internet scam story covered by MSNBC is all about online car auctions, where sleazy car dealers who get bad reputations in their hometowns turn to the web where they lie about their cars, fake good feedback, and then sell you a lemon. Unfortunately, there isn't much recourse. Many of them will fight any legal claims brought against them and make it prohibitively expensive to take them to court. Furthermore, eBay doesn't help things by only stepping in if the car is misrepresented in a way that would change the car's price by 50% (which would have to be quite a lot of misrepresentation). There's also no easy way to guarantee an inspection of the car, since eBay's rules say the winning bidder is required to buy the product - and often there's not enough time to get an inspection done (or knowing whether or not you can trust the inspector). While there probably are some great deals, and the number of frauds isn't huge, it still seems like a pretty big risk to spend so much money on something when you have no idea if it's legit.
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