BUYER BEWARE: TOP CAR DEALER SCAMS FOR USED CARS
Lies About Your Credit Score
The dealer runs your credit and then tells you that you don’t qualify for the best interest rate but he can still get you decent financing. You then pay a higher interest rate and guess who gets the extra income? If you ask about your credit score, they may tell you it is lower than you think because running it yourself doesn’t give you the same information it gives them. If you have run your credit score beforehand, you will know exactly what it is, so be sure to ask to see your score. Otherwise, you can assume what they are telling you is pure baloney. Run, don’t walk away from that car dealer!
Don’t buy a car without first checking your credit score. There is no impact to your credit score when you check it yourself and don’t believe it when they tell you it is different from the score you just ran. Make them show you the score.
How to protect yourself: Do some research based upon your score so you have a good idea of the rate you should qualify for. Better yet, go set up your own lowest rate loan at your local credit union or bank.
Selling Cars Without Owning the Title
Title fraud means the car dealer didn’t own the car he sold to you. The title may still be in another person’s name or there may be a lien on the title because it hasn’t been paid off. Regardless of why the dealer does not hold title to the car, it is illegal for a car dealer to sell a car they don’t own unless they deliver the title into your name within 30 days of the sale. If they don’t, then you have the right to cancel the sale.
How to protect yourself: Ask to see the title BEFORE you buy the vehicle so you know who owns it. If they say they don’t have the title but can get it, that is a warning sign! Be sure to take a good look at the title to make sure it doesn’t say salvaged or flood vehicle.
Taking Possession of Your Car W/O Financing Approval
This scam is called a “spot delivery” and occurs when the car dealer tells you that although your loan hasn’t been officially approved, you can drive the car home.
Typical Scenario: The car dealer tells you they think they found good financing for you but can’t reach the right person to approve it so rather than hold you up, they encourage you to take the car home. A few days or sometimes a few weeks later, the dealer calls to say that your loan wasn’t approved by lender “A”, but they have found a new lender and you need to come in and sign new paperwork. When you arrive, you are asked to sign a new set of paperwork which often includes a higher price for the car, more warranties or products and services you neither want or can afford, a higher interest, and/or the loan term has been extended. When you say you don’t like the new terms or feel you can’t afford them, they tell you they’ve already sold your trade-in so you feel like you have no option but to sign the new loan papers and keep the car.
How to protect yourself: Don’t drive the car off the lot until the dealer says the financing terms have been approved! Better yet, arrange for your own financing so you know exactly what the loan rate will be.
Upselling Products, Services and Forced Warranties
To increase their profits, car dealerships have found ways to make more money by selling you a “package deal” of extra products and services that they say are already installed on the vehicle or that the lender insists you must purchase in order for your financing to be approved.
After looking at thousands of sales agreements, we believe there is a tremendous up charge for the products/services and their value is minimal, at best. It is likely if they gave you a brochure on each product/service and you had a chance to read it, you would decline to purchase any of it. Be on the lookout for products that are prefaced with the term “easy care”, and include etch protection, extended warranties, personal assistant, key care, dent repair and gap. Other product names include environmental packages, strike force, key/remote protection, premium plus and gap protection. Whatever they are called, it is highly unlikely you will want, need or use any of them.
How to protect yourself: Look at your purchase order very carefully and tell the dealer to remove the cost for any product or service listed on the order that you do not want. If he refuses, don’t buy the vehicle and instead find a more reputable car dealer.
Posting Fake Online Reviews
Many websites encourage reviews of their products or services. The problem is that many of those same websites have the ability to take down negative reviews or write their own reviews for that matter! When checking out a car dealer, be sure to check the BBB, and other independent sources so you make a more informed decision.
How to protect yourself and your legal rights: Contact the used car lemon law attorneys at Burdge Law Office at 888.331.6422 if you think you have been taken advantage of by a used car dealer or have been the victim of a used car ripoff. Burdge Law will protect your used car rights because we have extensive experience filing claims and lawsuits against car dealers involving used car lemon laws.