If you’ve been browsing the Facebook marketplace recently, you might have noticed that there are loads of cheap cars listed.
Why are cars so cheap on Facebook?
Cars are cheap on Facebook for a few reasons; $1 cars usually have the real price in the description, while $200-$300 cars are usually dealerships stating the monthly repayment on the listing instead of the total cost. The car could also be junk or part of a scam.
Continue reading for a full list of reasons why cars are so cheap on Facebook.
Why Are There So Many Cheap Cars On Facebook?
Let’s take a look at why you see so many dirt cheap cars on the Facebook marketplace.
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1. The Real Price Is In The Description
If you see cars listed for sale at something crazy like $1 or $1234, this usually means that the real price is in the description.
The seller does this because they want their listing to show up at the top when people filter by lowest to highest price.
They also want to ensure their listing shows up when people filter by a max price.
This is a frustrating tactic for buyers, as it means you have to click on each listing to see the real price.
A good way to avoid seeing these annoying sellers is to add $100 as the minimum car value you want to see.
Although buyers may find this hugely frustrating, it’s important to note that many sellers are forced to do this because of Facebook’s fair max price algorithm…
3. Facebook ‘Fair’ Max Price Algorithm
When sellers list their cars, Facebook has an algorithm that compares the price of your cars to similar second-hand cars.
Facebook then sets what they deem as a ‘fair ’limit on what the seller can list the car for.
This is very problematic for sellers who are selling rare classic cars. Old classic cars can have a huge difference in price depending on condition, but Facebook is forcing sellers to list at a lower price than they know their car is worth.
So some niche car sellers may actually use the $1 listing method for good reason.
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4. The Price Is Actually The Monthly Repayment
Sometimes facebook sellers (usually dealerships) will put $200-$300 as the price, but this is in fact the monthly repayment you can expect to pay.
Again, the real cost of the car is usually stated in the description when you click through.
The dealerships know this is a little deceptive, but they do it to get more eyes on their listings.
5. The Car Is Junk
Many cars listed for $200-$500 are simply junk.
You’ll notice that they will probably have close to 200k miles on the clock.
This is a seller who just wants the car off their hands.
Think long and hard before buying a car in this price range.
6. It’s a Scam
Although there are definitely good car deals to be had on Facebook, it’s also full of scams. Some scammers even set up fake dealership pages that seem real but are in fact brand new Facebook pages with a website that does not work.
Always thoroughly check out the address of the dealership to make sure that they are legit.
If you ever receive a PM saying “email me here..” then it’s most likely a scam
Facebook marketplace is free to list a car on.
That means there are lots of sellers that are competing with each other to sell their cars.
This naturally leads to lower prices (similar to how Amazon works)
Is It Safe To Buy Cars On Facebook?
It can be safe to buy cars on the Facebook marketplace, but you have to be very careful when doing so.
Facebook marketplace is not well regulated, so you are using it at your own discretion.
Make sure you follow a few basic safety steps
How To Buy Cars Safely On Facebook
Here are some simple steps to follow to stay safe and avoid scams when buying a car on the Facebook marketplace.
1. Check Out The Sellers Profile
Before you message the seller, look at their profile.
If the profile has few friends or was recently created, this should be a red flag.
Only buy from private sellers that are using their real Facebook profiles.
If the car is sold by a dealership, you need to make sure the dealership is real.
Check their website, and Google their name and address to make sure they are who they say they are. Real dealerships will have a physical address and should be easy to find on google.
2. Ask The Seller For A New Photo
Many dealerships use a bait and switch tactic to get you into the dealership.
They will advertise a car for sale, and then when you go to view it, tell you it just sold.
They will then try to sell you one of the cars they actually have in stock.
To prevent this timewasting, ask the seller to send a selfie in front of the car.
A real seller shouldn’t have an issue doing this.
This tip will help filter out scammers who don’t actually have the car.
3. Ask For The VIN
Before viewing the car, ask for the VIN number and run a carfax report on the car.
This only costs a few bucks, but it means that you can verify that the seller is not telling you lies.
If the seller refuses to give you the VIN number, then avoid them like the plague.
4. Keep The Conversation On Facebook
If you DM a seller and they instantly ask you to email them, then it’s probably a scam.
Scammers want to get you off Facebook as quickly as possible, as where you might be able to tell from their profile that this is a scam.
Final Thoughts – Why Are Cars So Cheap On Facebook?
Cars usually appear so cheap on Facebook because sellers are using tricks to ensure that their listing shows up at the top of the Facebook marketplace search results.
The marketplace is free to use, which leads to a lot of competition between sellers.
This leads sellers to mark their car’s price as cheaper than it is so that they show at the top as the cheapest seller.
The crazy low prices also work as clickbait to get more eyeballs on their offer.
Although many sellers do this for the wrong reasons, some sellers need to do this, as Facebook’s fair price algorithm limits the price you can set for your car.
Buying a cheap car on the Facebook marketplace can be a bit of a minefield at times, but as long as you follow a few simple safety measures, and do your due diligence, then there are some excellent deals to be had.
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