Buying a used car can be a stressful experience, and picking a bad used car dealer can make it even worse. From hidden fees to cars breaking down an hour after purchase, it may seem like it can be difficult to find an honest used car dealership. There is still hope though; all you have to do is keep an eye out for these 7 signs of dishonest used car dealers.
- Accepting Any Credit Score
Some dealerships may try to convince you that they will accept any credit score, or that your credit has been pre-approved. Shiftier dealers may even let you take cars off the lot only to call a few days later saying financing fell through and encouraging you to finance through a different lender. These kinds of tactics often lead to customers paying rates up to five percent higher than called for.
- Hidden Fees and Payments
Dealerships can find ways to tack extra costs onto a used car without anyone ever noticing. Make sure you know exactly what you are paying for, as shifty dealerships will try to add things such as extended warranties, fabric protection, extra insurance, and other fees into the bill without telling you.
- Shady Price Negotiations
Whenever discussing the price of the vehicle, one tactic of dishonest dealerships is to only mention the price you will be paying for monthly payments. They do this in order to skim over the extra fees and costs they may be hiding within the bill. A low monthly payment may sound good, but when you are paying thousands of dollars more than you need to it’s not really worth it.
- Hiding Car History
If a car has had previous trouble or has been salvaged before, dealerships may try to hide the car’s history from a buyer. Always make sure a dealership is open with a car's history. If they are attempting to hide the history from you then they may be a dishonest dealership.
- Vague Selling Points
Those fancy stickers in car windows can look pretty attractive, often saying that “bonus features” have been added into the car. Shifty dealers may use these stickers as an excuse to tack extra money onto the price, even though the exact “bonus features” may not even be specified. Always know what extra fees have been added onto a vehicle and why before purchasing.
- Low Trade-in Values
A dealer may give you a very low offer on any vehicle trade-in at first. This is so that, as they raise their offer, you feel like you are winning money from them. Know what your old car is worth before conducting a trade-in. Start from the price you know and negotiate from there. Additionally, the dealership may give a good offer for a trade-in but then raise the price of your new car purchase.
- Odometer Changes
When looking over the car history, pay extra attention to the odometer readings. A dishonest dealership will have no qualms with changing car odometers so they appear to have fewer miles than the car has actually traveled. Even digital odometers can be tampered with.