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How to Avoid Car Dealership Scams

Aug 18, 2008
If you're planning to purchase a vehicle, either used or new, you need to be an aware and informed consumer. While the majority of car dealers are honest and sincere suppliers, there are scams out there that could cost you big money.

To get a run-down on some of the most common auto dealership scams taking place today, keep reading.

1. VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) Etching

The dealer will offer to etch the VIN onto a window, explaining that this acts as a theft deterrent and will help you quickly identify your car. The price will be set anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a thousand.

The dealer may even offer you a discount on this service, letting you have it for just a couple hundred dollars. What you don't know was that this can be done either at a mechanic's shop for twenty to thirty dollars or at home with an inexpensive etching kit.

2. Yo-Yo Financing Scams

In this scam, the dealer encourages you to take the car home, claiming they'll take care of all the financing details. A couple of days later, the dealer will call you to say he's having trouble setting up your financing, but can set up a new financing scheme directly through his dealership.

Of course, the new financing plan will cost you more interest and you'll be dealing directly with the dealer. If you have less-than-perfect credit, arrange to have all your financing taken care of before you even step foot on a dealer's lot.

Go to your bank or lending institution for an auto financing loan or line of credit so you don't even have to deal with dealership financing. Or better yet, if affordable, pay the entire auto cost with cash.

3. Extended Warranty Plan

Most dealers will try to sell you an extended warranty plan or service contract deal, and many of those will try to tell you it's a condition of your bank's auto financing. If a dealer tries this, ask him to put it in writing so you can take it to the bank and ask them directly.

Also, remember that many cars come with manufacturer's warranties, meaning you would therefore be paying for redundant and unnecessary coverage.

4. Prep Fees and Market Adjustments

Some dealers are notorious for marking up the price of a car, from claiming market adjustments for popular vehicles to charging you to "prep" the vehicle for sale. Arm yourself with local sales data on new models in your geographical location. Try the Kelley Blue Book pricing for new cars in your area to find out what other people are actually paying, and don't be persuaded to pay more.

Clearly the purchase of an automobile is a significant expense that merits due caution and some homework to ensure you are armed with all the information needed to search and bargain wisely. Those who rush into a transaction without a careful assessment of both the vehicle and terms of the sale are at a higher risk of being taken for a ride - and not in the car!
About the Author
For helpful information on car and truck recommendations, please visit http://www.cartrucktips.com, a popular site providing great insights concerning automotive choices and needs, such as the best new car prices , LED automotive lights , the Honda fuel cell car , and many more!
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