Upstate woman says car stolen after test drive setup through Craigslist

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GREENVILLE, S.C. — One Upstate woman says her life has been turned upside down because of a Craigslist car trade gone wrong.

She’s not the only one using Craigslist to swap cars. Right now, there are 1,300 car exchange ads on Craigslist just for the Greenville area alone.

The idea is to get rid of a car you no longer want or need and trade cars with someone else without exchanging money.

In this case, an Upstate woman and another car owner agreed to do a test drive for one day before completing a trade, but when that one day was up she says her car and the other owner were gone.

The Better Business Bureau’s greatest tip is limit a test drive to a few hours and be with the other person driving before officially swapping cars.

She admits car swapping on Craigslist wasn’t the smartest thing, but for a single mom, she needed a fuel efficient car — and fast.

Angela Hutchinson knows what it’s like to be on the end of a bad deal.

“They ended up forging my title and now it’s in Charlotte.”

She says her white GMC now has a new home in North Carolina…and not on purpose. She says she used Craigslist as a way to swap vehicles with another car owner – a way to get a new car if your own is paid off.

Hutchinson admits it wasn’t the best option…but she says she was desperate.

“I was wanting to trade vehicles or upgrade or something for better gas mileage as a single mom, having moved recently getting divorced and starting over, gas mileage needed to be better because she goes to school in Piedmont and I was going to save a lot of gas with my SUV.”

She says she met the owner of a Toyota – both signing an agreement to test drive each other’s cars for the day, but there would be a bump in the road along the way.

She says her temporary Toyota blew up on the highway.

“People started to stop and asked ‘are you okay’ and I started to call them (owner) and the number is disconnected.”

The owner and her car were both gone. She filed a report with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.

Fox Carolina spoke to the Better Business Bureau to help other people in the Upstate looking to swap cars.

“If you want to test drive someone’s car and you want them to test out your car, let them test drive it, not for the whole day, but just drive it and be in the car with them so they cannot take it away from you.”

A piece of paper is not enough to keep your car protected. According to the South Carolina DMV regulations, “sellers are not required to provide the buyer with the vehicle’s registration” and “as a buyer, you’ll need to think about car insurance, titling and registration fees, and emissions testing/vehicle inspections.”

Hutchinson says she just wants to have something to drive, and hopes nobody else ends up in her situation.

“I get groceries, I haven’t been able to wash clothes, I can’t go anywhere,” she said.

“Make sure you do your research, make sure you contact a mechanic, do anything you can to make sure this is a safe and good decision.”

Fox Carolina reached out to Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office and they say they cannot comment on an any ongoing investigations, but Angela Hutchinson says deputies tracked down her vin number and located it in Charlotte.

The BBB says if you want to swap or buy a car off someone make sure you have a mechanic inspect the car before you finalize the deal.

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