I wouldn’t have believed it, unless I saw it with my own eyes, but I think I saw my first Cash for Clunk­ers scam. I’m not 100% sure if that’s what it is, but the cynic in me thinks so. Take a look for yourself.


This seller man­aged to trade in a vehi­cle, pre­sum­ably worth less than the voucher, oth­er­wise they would’ve straight up sold it. What they ended up pay­ing for the Fit is $15480 — 4500 = $10980. That $11000 is pre­sum­ably financed because if you had over $10000 in dis­pos­able income, I can’t see how you’d be hard-up for money. Shop­ping around you could get 5% and beat the 7% aver­age, and of course the auto dealer may want a piece of that pie and try to beat 5%. In any case, we’re look­ing at just over $200 for a 5 year loan. A $200 car pay­ment is quite afford­able if your other expenses aren’t out­ra­geous. If this seller could not get a $200 monthly pay­ment, they’ve got bad credit or they don’t know how to nego­ti­ate or shop around for the best rate. In any case, the monthly pay­ment would have been dis­closed to them ahead of time, and they would’ve known if they could afford it, impulse buy or not. Their excuse about overex­tend­ing them­selves sounds dubi­ous. Any­how, they’re will­ing to knock $1000 off their ask­ing price, which is $14480. After pay­ing off their loan, they pocket $3500 in cash. So unless their clunker was worth more than $3500, they made money, per­haps up to an extra $1000 or more, not to men­tion all the time saved from not hav­ing to post their car or hag­gle over the price.

Am I being cyn­i­cal? Per­haps this per­son did just make a finan­cial mis­take. I would’ve given them the ben­e­fit of the doubt until I saw this list­ing posted 2 days before:


I mean, really? Who turns around and resells a high-demand car with only 14 miles on it? Or one that’s still at the dealer? Two dif­fer­ent peo­ple in two days?

At least the pro­gram is more or less doing its job, and the real­ist in me under­stands that peo­ple abuse sit­u­a­tions all the time. There’s always a few bad eggs no mat­ter what.

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