It’s important to know how to look out for scams when buying a car. However, it’s also important to point out that these scams may not be immediately obvious. Often, they start out as what appears to be a legitimate offering.
In some cases, you may feel that you have experienced a “bait and switch.” This is a tactic that is illegal because it has been declared to be an “unfair or deceptive trade practice.”
The general way that this works is when the seller claims to have a product, the potential buyer comes to the location, and the seller then tries to upsell them to something else. How could this happen at an auto dealership?
Not having a model in stock
One example of this would be if you’re looking for a low-cost car. You check the website and the dealership claims to have a car that perfectly fits in your budget. But when you get there, they tell you that it’s not actually in stock and they try to sell you a more expensive vehicle. But was the less expensive car ever on the lot to begin with?
Only having high-level trims
Another potential issue could be if you’re interested in a base-level trim for your new vehicle. This is often much less expensive than the luxury trims, and the dealership may advertise that they can get all of the various levels. But if you show up and then they tell you the only option you have is to buy the luxury trim, are they simply trying to scam you into spending more than you wanted to? Maybe they’re hoping that you will just purchase whatever vehicle they have because you’ve already made the trip to the dealership. They use that pressure to upsell you.
Do you think you’ve been victimized by a “bait and switch” or other unfair practices by an auto dealership? Be sure you know about your legal options.