If you go to any professional car sales website such as AutoTrader.com or Cars.com and try to enter 17, 0’s, or 1’s, etc for the ID Number of your car, the system will reject it as an invalid Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

But not on eBay Motors. You enter the vin of your car and if the system does not recognize it as a current standard vin vehicle legally sold in the US (1981 to present) you can just put in 17 0’s or 1’s, etc, and the system will accept it as a valid vin and allow the listing.

There are many reasons a VIN will be rejected. The most common reason is that the vehicle is whats referred to as a “gray market” automobile.

From Wikipedia: The United States continues to use a unique set of safety and emission regulations administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for motor vehicles, which differ significantly from the internationalised ECE Regulations used throughout the rest of the world. Vehicle manufacturers thus face considerable expense to type-certify a vehicle for U.S. sale, at a cost estimated to be upward of USD $2 million per vehicle model. This cost particularly affects low-volume manufacturers and models, most notably the makers of high end sports cars. However, larger companies such as Alfa Romeo and Peugeot have also cited costs of “federalizing” their vehicle lineups as a disincentive to re-enter the U.S. market.

NHTSA and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations criminalize the possession of a vehicle not meeting U.S. standards. Even Canadian-market vehicles may not meet these requirements. Exceptions exist for foreign nationals touring the U.S. in their own vehicle and for cars imported for show or display purposes.

The whole idea of rejecting an Invalid VIN is to protect consumers that have never heard the term Grey Market, and who also might not be able to register a grey market vehicle in their state.

It appears that eBay is still only interested in collecting fees on their auction site and if you get taken on a shady car deal, it’s too bad for you.

eBay Motors Allowing Invalid VINs is nothing new either. Here is an article we published in 2007 as an example. I also remember an Internet Radio broadcast many years ago from Eauctionair.com that in one show criticized eBay Motors for allowing invalid vins.

Michael Donahue’s eAauctionAir – Internet Radio Show 2006.

Which brings me to the source for today’s blog post:

From: This Post on eBay Motors Forum.
Seller using MY pictures in HIS listing.
Sep 29, 2012 06:59 AM

Sold my Fiat here 2 weeks ago in this auction: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Barchetta-/150896417432?forcev4exp=true  Now I see another seller listing his same car in this auction: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1996-Fiat-Other-Barchetta-/170916092579?forcev4exp=true The last five pictures he copied from my listing. Doesn’t really bother me since he’ll never sell it for that price anyway. Just thought it a bit lazy not to spend 5 minutes to take original photos. Guess he didn’t see the small dent under the headlight picture either.

So here we have TWO Grey Market Fiat’s from 1996. Standard VIN Year cars with an unrecognized VIN that both sellers were able to Circumvent the eBay Motors System by entering 17 0’s.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a Grey Market Vehicle if it’s been properly imported into the US. Especially on older units like this that supposedly have been modified to meet DOT specs. However just because one state will allow such a vehicle to be registered “and operated on the highway” does not mean that another state will.

That is the reason AutoTrader.com and Cars.com will not allow their systems to be circumvented by the use of an invalid VIN. The average consumer has no idea what a grey market car is, or what a nightmare it possibly could be to register one in their home state. Rejecting an invalid VIN also prevents scammers from listing bait cars with invalid vins, or stolen cars listed for sale by savvy car thieves that know their cars VIN will be scanned and authorities notified upon listing it for sale.

So as always, it’s the buyers responsibility to do their homework FIRST and really research and know beforehand what they are getting into before placing a bid.

It’s obvious that eBay is only concerned with collecting their fees. It is also very advisable to read the eBay Motors VPP EXCLUSIONS. As there are many not covered vehicles, just like neither of these Fiat’s are covered due to their age exceeding eBay VPP’s 10 Year Limit.

Also be sure to read Doc’s Internet Car Buying Tips while your here. Learn how to be an Educated Internet Car Buyer!

eBay Motors Grey Market Vehicle With 17' 0's For A Vin Number: 170916092579
eBay Motors Grey Market Vehicle With 17′ 0’s For A Vin Number: 170916092579

As usual.. Just my two cents worth!