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Carvana has been under fire for a couple of years due to a multitude of issues with selling used cars to people under various false pretenses. Whether these pretenses are known or not is the question. The latest of which is a man in Georgia who bought a used Ram 1500 Big Horn from Carvana and drove it for a year before the police confiscated it because they found the VIN matched a stolen truck. While this particular case has some twists and turns, this isn’t the first time Carvana has sold a stolen car this year. 

  • Carvana faces growing concerns as multiple cases emerge of customers unwittingly buying stolen vehicles from the platform, prompting questions about the company’s oversight and due diligence.
  • Despite Carvana’s claims of a “150-point inspection” process, instances like a stolen Ram 1500 and a stolen Maserati slipping through raise doubts about the thoroughness of their inspections.
  • While Carvana insists it is also a victim of elaborate schemes, the number of reported cases suggests a need for more stringent quality control measures.
  • Consumers may want to check the VIN of any vehicle they intend to purchase and ensure that it matches official records, as a way to protect themselves from potential pitfalls like those experienced by Carvana customers.

This article highlights concerns surrounding Carvana’s sale of stolen vehicles and questions the effectiveness of their inspection process, urging consumers to verify vehicle identification numbers (VINs) when considering a purchase. We’ll also go over how to find out if a car has been stolen.

Is Carvana still legit? 

Although the oversight group Market Watch still asserts that Carvana is a legitimate company, mostly doing upright business, the stories are beginning to pile up against the used car seller. 

Carvana claims that Tony Williams, the Ram 1500 “owner,” and Carvana both were victims of an elaborate scheme. While the police continue to investigate this situation, we still have to address that this isn’t as rare as you might hope when buying a car or truck from Carvana. 

So, what happened with Carvana selling another stolen truck? 

Carvana tower lit up at night.
Used-Car Giant Carvana Teeters On The Edge Of Bankruptcy | Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Tony Williams took to the messy town square that is Facebook earlier this year to make his situation known far and wide. After his truck got unexpectedly impounded by police, his original goal was just to get his truck back. He took the fight to Carvana, who had, according to Police, sold him the used Ram 1500 Big Horn that was stolen. 

WPXI, a local news outlet stationed in Pittsburg, confirmed that Williams did everything right. He had gotten a CarFax report before the purchase, and he had it properly titled and tagged. Despite taking all the normal steps to legally drive the Ram 1500, Police found that the truck had two different VINs. The one on the dash was a counterfeit VIN tag that was linked to another truck in another state. 

The twist is that Carvana claims that it is also a victim in an elaborate scheme. In a statement to WPXI, Carvana said, “In this unusual case, Carvana and our customer were victims of a sophisticated criminal act. Customer experience is our top priority, and we are taking steps to make it right in this rare instance while staying aggressive in our efforts to protect future customers against bad actors.”

How do you check the VIN on a car to see if it’s stolen?

Checking a VIN on a car to see if it’s stolen is a lot easier than you might think. There are plenty of online resources to search if a VIN is associated with a stolen car. VINCheck is one of many search engines that can help you search a VIN. If you need help finding your car’s VIN, here are a few of the most common locations for a VIN plate to be:

  • The car’s windshield – Some manufacturers will engrave the VIN onto the glass in the lower driver’s side corner.
  • The dashboard – In many cases, the VIN should be on a little metal plate in the lower corner of the dashboard on the driver’s side. 
  • On the engine – The VIN is frequently stamped by the manufacturer onto the firewall or on one of the shock towers. This number may also be stamped on the engine block or the support for the radiator core.
  • The vehicle’s spare wheel might also have the VIN engraved.
  • The car documents – (title, insurance documents, etc.). Some dealers and repair shops also print it on receipts.

As with the case of this Ram, some VIN plates might not be legit. Once you find a VIN plate, try to find as many others on the car as possible and verify that they all match. These are effective methods for how to find out if a car has been stolen.

Has Carvana sold other stolen cars? 

Before WIlliams’ situation with the Ram, another fella bought a stolen Maserati from Carvana. Here’s the kicker: the Maserati owner took the car into the shop three months after buying it, and the shop discovered it was stolen. The issue with this is, if the shop could figure out the car was stolen, why couldn’t Carvana? However, in both situations, Carvana returned the customers’ money in full. While that is literally the least the used car sales site could do, there are still some questions that need answering. 

Carvana claims that the first step in buying used cars is to give them a “150-point inspection.” One of these many points of inspection is to how to check VIN verify that the VIN plates match. In the case of the Ram, this step should have caught the discrepancy but didn’t for some reason. The same should be true for the Maserati as well. Again, these are not the only instances of Carvana selling people stolen or otherwise compromised cars.

At some point, a larger picture begins to form. If other people can find out if a car was stolen, why can’t Carvana seem to catch these stolen vehicles before they are sold to unsuspecting consumers?