At Honest Car Dealer, we live by our name and want to make sure you can tell when a dealership is being dishonest with you. Sometimes it’s something small like leaving off the destination price or trying to include an accessory upgrade for a few extra dollars. Other times, it’s a much bigger scam.
Five Car Dealer Scams and One Solution
There are more ways to scam a new or used car buyer than these, but these are five of the most common we have heard of:
- Bait and Switch: They brought you in with one offer and are now trying to get you to choose a different car. We don’t know why – aside from making more money somehow – but you should not be swayed to buying a different vehicle than when you arrived. This is a huge purchase, and a smooth talking car salesman shouldn’t change your mind on such an expensive item.
- Hiding a Lemon: Always test drive a vehicle and have a mechanic inspect any pre-owned models for potential problems. Ask for repair records. Check the registration history with the VIN. All of these are ways to circumvent being sold a wreck or a lemon that isn’t worth a fraction of what they’re selling it for.
- Financing Fraud: Check your credit report before applying for financing. Know what your score is, and don’t let them try to convince you you have bad credit to finance at a higher interest rate.
- Requiring Options: We mentioned this one as a minor scam above, but that’s if you find the price of a spoiler included on the car you wanted or something similar. It’s already installed and maybe caused you to like the car a bit more. There are dealerships that will “require” options packages or extended warranties, and this should make you suspicious.
- Yo-Yo Sale: They sent you home with a financing agreement only to find out the next day that you didn’t actually qualify. This does actually happen, but your bill of sale is often contingent upon financing being accepted. You do not have to accept a higher interest rate. Find your own financing or walk away.
The Solution: So, what do you do when you find yourself shopping for a car and think you’re being scammed? There’s really just one solution – leave. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can call out the dealer and hope to get a better deal on your car, but they’ve already ruined any goodwill and trust. You’re better off going elsewhere.
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Do you know of any other car dealership scams? Let us know in the comments below.
August 25, 2015 by Jamie Rettig