Most people are skeptical of any advertisement or offer that appears too good to be true. That’s because they often are. This certainly goes for car ads.
You might assume that these ads have to be truthful or the dealers and manufacturers will face consequences. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop some dealers from engaging in highly deceptive advertising that’s typically designed to get prospective buyers into the dealership.
That’s not to say there aren’t good deals out there – particularly if dealers aren’t moving their cars as fast as they’d like or need to make room for the new models. However, “buyer beware” is always a good mantra to remember – especially when you’re paying thousands of dollars for a new car.
Common examples of misleading ads
Sometimes, manufacturers will give dealers rebates or other incentives to move their cars. That can lead to ads that offer cars “below invoice.” But, not all rebates or incentives are availablle to all buyers. And, sometimes dealerships will add fees or unwanted extras that will increase the “out the door” price.
Some dealers offer financing to people with “bad credit or no credit.” If you’re tired of being turned down for financing, that can be a welcome offer. However, you can almost guarantee that the interest rate will be high so that they can afford to take on someone who’s a credit risk. Additionally, cars offered for sale to buyers without good credit are often overpriced or of poor quality.
Remember that the dealer isn’t going to make an offer that loses them money
One way or another, a sale has to be worthwhile for a dealer. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure you fully understand the terms, read the fine print and don’t allow yourself to be rushed or pressured. Take the time to learn what your current and potential new vehicle are really worth and compare deals and prices.
Dealers typically know how to go up to the line of illegality without crossing it, but that’s not always the case. If you believe you have been the victim of fraudulent advertising and have lost money or been otherwise harmed as a result, it’s a good idea to determine what your legal options are.