6 Ways to avoid Being Ripped off by a Car Dealer

“Deal…” you said and shook the hand of a car dealer. But is your purchase fair? Didn’t you get in a dealer’s trap? Car dealer fraud is an actual and ongoing problem that you should avoid while buying a vehicle. There are some common tricks which the dealers may apply as a deceptive and unfair practice. In this article, you can learn how to avoid dealer fraud and not be ripped off by a car dealer.

Check the prices beforehand

Before going to the dealer shop, try to exactly decide what car you want and get a clear idea of its price. There are many websites like TrueCar, which can help you with finding out the true prices of the vehicles. Such online tools have their car dealers to whom you can turn after making your buying decision.

No need for the whole package to buy

The car dealer may offer you a list of extra services and items like free oil changes, an extra tier or something else. This is an additional way to get a higher commission out of your purchase, so you don’t need to agree. Stick to your aim and get your car, try not to be attempted by exciting offers.

Hidden financing options

There are always hidden fees in the car price which make up your monthly payments. Before putting in your deposit, make sure you know what is included in the price. As a consumer, you will be better off when paying in cash to avoid additional costs.

Do the etching of the vehicle identification number on your own

It may seem that VIN etching is something difficult to do on your own. That is why a car dealer may take advantage and get additional hundreds of dollars to provide that service for you. Believe, that it is not as difficult as thought to be, just search for some kit and do the job for $20.

Don’t go to a car dealer alone

Car dealers used to prolong the process of purchase and sale through asking a lot of questions and offering a set of services. To avoid it all, take a friend with you. He/she may stop you from making ”on the spot” and harsh decisions under the influence of a car dealer.

 Be an educated consumer

Before going to a car dealer self-educate yourself. Try to learn all ins and outs of the dealership. Ask questions to your dealer to make a clear idea of what you buy. Never agree to sign a contract without reading it point by point. If you find yourself uncomfortable with the contract terms, don’t hesitate to consult your attorney for an explanation. There may be points, which can cause a further trouble for you.

Car dealer attorney

If after buying a car you suspect your dealer in some wrongdoing, you may be a victim of a dealer fraud. In such cases, you should hire a lawyer. A proper dealer attorney will help you deal with such unfair business practices as:

  • failure to disclose damages
  • price packing
  • misleading dealer add-ons, etc

Moreover, if you decide to file a lawsuit against your fraudulent car dealer, there is actually no way out without an attorney.

Dealer fraud law

Both federal and state laws regulate the cases of dealer fraud. These rules aim to protect consumers buying a vehicle from a car dealer and to punish the dealer who may try to take advantage of the customer. Primary sources of a car dealer fraud law include:

  • the FTC regulations found at 16 CFR 455 (the Used Car Rule)
  • other federal and state consumer protection laws
  • the common law tort of fraud

Visiting a car dealer doesn’t mean that you must make a purchase at the end. You can surely stand up and go without making a purchase. Moreover, obtaining a car is not like buying an item at the grocery’s: you should visit multiple dealers and then pick a vehicle that meets all your expectations.

So, good luck with your purchase.