Okay, so you want to buy a car, but are worried about being ripped off. It’s important as a consumer to make a decision like buying a new car with care, and to ask as many questions as you have, and be comfortable with your final decision.
Although we fully stand behind and trust all of our GarageFly network dealers, car dealership scams do happen in the U.S., and can cost consumers a lot of money every year. Keep in mind that the majority of car dealerships are perfectly honest. Here is a list of warning signs to keep an eye on:
#1: Transparency of Salesman
It may be a warning sign if the salesman can’t give you a straight “yes” or “no” answer. It’s hard to tell whether they are being truthful when they urge you to buy a car ASAP, as prices are going to go up tomorrow, or that someone else is interested in it.
Many may seem to be rushing you to make up your mind. When this happens, be patient, don’t feel rushed, and do your research. Do what you think is the right thing to do, and don’t rush into a decision because of what the salesman at the car dealership tells you in the heat of the moment.
#2: Bait and Switch
This is more likely to happen in used lots or non-accredited dealerships. A dealer may promote a particular car, offering it at a great price. But when you arrive at the showroom attracted by the ad, they tell you that the car has been sold. Instead, they show you a more expensive car. If this happens to you, just be sure to ask a lot of questions, and if you were only looking for the less expensive option, stand your ground and don’t be afraid to walk away.
#3: Low Monthly Payment
The dealer says you can get a car for a very reasonable monthly payment; let’s say $300/month. What you don’t know is they may have included various other items that you don’t need in the monthly payment without telling you about it. You should try to always read the fine print when the deal seems to good to be true.
Here’s what you can also do to simplify: Ask the dealer to specify the actual price of the car and to separate the transaction into different components. This way you can see what you’re paying for and whether you need all of that or not.
#4: Low-Balling You on the Trade-in
The car dealership quotes a ridiculously low price on your trade-in. By quoting such a low offer, they create doubt in your mind and make you question the real value of your car.
The best case scenario for them is for you to accept their low offer. They win in that case, and you lose. If you drive a bargain and get them to increase their offer a bit, that may make you feel slightly happier, but they still win – as they still get to low-ball you on the trade-in.
What can you do to avoid such a situation? Do your research, talk to multiple car dealerships and ask for a quote from each of them. Take your business to the dealership that offers the most amount of money.
#5: “I want to help you, but you have a really bad credit score.”
This is one of the most common car dealership scams where the dealer says your credit score is too low, which is why no dealership can offer a good deal to you. You have to be satisfied with they can offer you, although it is against your interest to do so.
What should you do? If you feel this may be in error, check your credit yourself and verify if you really do have a score as bad as they say and if that really is effecting the amount you are being offered.
It’s important to keep in mind that the dealership definitely does want to sell you a car. It’s best to take your business somewhere accredited, with a name that you know and recognize. Also make sure that you feel comfortable with your salesperson, and that they are as transparent as possible. And above all else don’t succumb to any feelings of pressure to make a decision you may regret!