How do I protect myself from auto dealer scams?

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2023 | Auto Dealer Fraud

You need a vehicle but do not want to splurge on a brand-new car. So you decide to purchase a used vehicle from a local auto dealer. While this option can be a great way to save money, it can literally cost you if you come across a dishonest dealer.

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) once had to give refund payments to more than 3,500 customers because Tate’s Auto swindled them out of over $415,000. Follow these guidelines to protect yourself from common auto dealer scams.

Research the dealership

Read what other consumers had to say about their experiences with a certain dealership. If negative reviews outweigh positive ones, it’s a sign that you should not take your chances with said dealership.

Study car advertisements carefully

Many car advertisements make attractive claims like “low-interest rates” and “no money down.” However, there is typically a catch. As the popular saying goes, “Read the fine print.” The fine print of an advertisement usually contains details like an expiration date for a promotional offer. Therefore, you might have to make a money-down payment or pay a high-interest rate if you miss the deadline.

Test drive the vehicle before buying

If you decide to patronize a vehicle dealership, pick a vehicle that captures your interest and give it a test drive. As you’re driving, watch out for these signs of a lemon:

  • Noxious odors
  • Lock and window issues
  • The steering wheel comes off
  • The vehicle is missing important features like seatbelts  

While some auto dealership scams are easy to spot, others aren’t so simple to catch since many scam artists are very clever. If you unfortunately found yourself on the receiving end of auto dealer fraud, please consider seeking legal guidance to aid you in your case.