Car Dealer Tricks
November 1, 2012
Charges made by state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission over the past 12 months or so include a range of complaints against automobile dealers. Sometimes buyers are asked to sign incomplete purchase contracts, which the dealer later fills in with a higher price than what was agreed upon. Consumers should not sign anything with blank or unclear parts; any spoken promises must be put in writing. Using a credit card for the down payment can make it easier to dispute charges. Dealer financing, often involving enormous interest rates, is another red flag. Buyers can protect themselves by seeking the best rates from local banks, or credit unions. The best way is to get preapproved for a loan. If ultimately financing with the dealer, borrowers must ensure that the quoted rate is confirmed as final before driving off the lot with the vehicle. Buyers also should not allow the dealer to promise to pay off the loan on a trade-in vehicle. This typically involves the dealer tacking the amount to resolve the old loan onto the new loan; or a financially strapped dealer may not pay off the loan on the trade-in vehicle at all, leaving the buyer liable for debt on the old vehicle as well as the new one. When purchasing a used car, consumers should verify that the dealer has the title document and lien release form.
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