Car Buying Scams

Purchasing a new automobile is hard enough without having to deal with the sales pressure from a car salesman. It’s no big secret that almost every car dealership can be talked down on the initial price they want for a car. The key is to know what scams to watch out for in order to maximize your hard earned dollar. This article details a few sales tactics that you may want to be on the lookout for the next time you purchase a new automobile.

The first money wasting scam deals with etching the vehicle’s VIN# on the window. In some cases a dealership will try to make you pay for this added feature. Please don’t fall for this trick. No lender will require you to pay for any extra options that you don’t require. To be honest all they really care about is whether or not your payments are on time.

Be on the look out for the phrase “subject to loan approval”. Almost every car loan will have this phrase in it and trust me when I say that some dealerships will try and exploit you out of more money using this phrase as the reason why. This scam is usually pulled on consumers that may have bad credit so if your credit score is good you shouldn’t have to worry about being taken advantage of by the dealership. The bad news is for those that are taken advantage of it usually means upwards of $1000 more in finance fees and an additional $50 a month added to your car payment. One way to avoid this scam is to finance the car through your own bank or credit union.

The most abused scam is the credit score scam. This is where the car dealership tells you that your credit score is lower then what it actually is in order to charge you a higher finance rate on your car loan. No one is immune to this scam because the dealership doesn’t care if you have good or bad credit when they attempt to con you. The best way to deal with this greediness is to bring a copy of your credit score with you when you go looking to buy a new car. That way there is no confusion as to what your credit score truly is.

Another favorite scam is the forced warranty scam where the auto dealership will insist that in order to qualify for the car loan you will need to purchase a $2000 2 or 3 year warranty. The bottom line upfront is that it’s hogwash and you don’t need the warranty.

Here’s a good scam that I’m sure you’ve seen often. It’s called the dealer prep scam. Yes that’s right I’m talking about that extra $500 that seems to appear on your contract to compensate the dealer for basically doing nothing since the car arrives in the dealership ready to be driven off the car lot to a prospective buyer. Try an avoid paying this if you can otherwise find a dealer that will knock this ridiculous charge off of the contract.

The dealer markup fee is another phony fee that is made up just to pad the car dealership’s profit margin. This is an unnecessary fee that the dealer charges for no reason other than greed. This fee can be seen on the orange sticker marked on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).
These are just a few of the many scams that can surface from time to time when you are attempting to buy a new car. Although these practices to go on there are many trustworthy car dealerships that can and will sale you a car for the right amount of money allowing you to purchase the car without getting ripped off and still allow the dealership the opportunity to make the compensation they deserve for their efforts. The trick is to find that dealership. Best of luck to you.

by Tim Gorman

Tim is the webmaster of He offers discount auto, life and home insurance and – Which provides free money saving loan quotes on all of your loan needs to include home equity loan information.

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