Authorities in the Philippines believed that the syndicated criminals now targets car dealers.
This is inline with the recent killings of young Venson Evangelista and the son of Marcos loyalist lawyer Oliver Lozano, Emerson Lozano and his co-worker Ernani Sensil. Such murders renewed the call for the re-imposition of death penalty.
A business like selling used cars is unknowingly attractive to criminal-minded people. Since a seller would simply wants to dispose used cars, he did not mind of his safety.
A friend of mine, Armand Nocum, an Inquirer newspaper writer turned publicist, used to be active in used car selling business.
He has several tips on how to sell used cars in a safe manner:
1. When contacted by buyers by phone or through the Internet, always make the effort to get their address or their telephone numbers which you can call back to verify whether or not they are who they claim they are. Checking their names on Facebook or other social sites would be helpful.
2. When meeting them at your house, always get some people to witness the meeting. Although having their faces captured on a CCT camera is ideal?if you have one?getting someone to photograph them while they are inspecting the car would do no harm (It is your house and car anyway). Doing so would make you look paranoid but it is better to be paranoid than dead.
3. If they want to do test drives, insist that they leave government identification cards like a driver?s license, Social Security System, PhilHealth, gun license or other cards that cannot be faked. If they come by car, insist that they leave it behind and check if it is really registered under their name and is not stolen. If there are two of them, ask one to stay behind at your place.
4. The test drive should only be done within your subdivision or in places you are familiar with. These must be places where there are people around. Watch if there are vehicles following you. Always do the test-drive in the daytime. Meeting them at night or outside your home should be out of the question, unless you are acquainted with them.
5. If you really must meet them outside your house, do so in a place you know has CCT cameras and have a companion in a back-up car take their pictures (it helps if the windshield of your backup car is tinted). Always bring a back-up car to tag along during the test drive, and make them aware you are bringing one. (Again, better paranoid than sorry).
6. Lastly, in these dangerous times and if you have a choice, sell your car to friends and acquaintances or through referrals from them; and not to total strangers to lessen the exposure and risk. We always tell clients that in the used car business, it is trust that matters more than the cars.
In any kind of business industry, you cannot be sure of your safety but being aware and taking precautions could save you from unnecessarily risking life.