Buying a car in America is different from almost any other type of shopping experience. Car dealerships understand this. Unfortunately, many car buyers do not.
Consumers can save a lot of money by buying a used car from a private seller rather than going to a dealership. Private sellers will usually sell for a lot less than a dealership would charge for a comparable vehicle. But, when buying from a private seller, consumers must be careful to avoid curbsiders.
When the clock ran out on the Connecticut General Assembly's 2015 legislative session on June 3, many high-priority bills had not received final votes. A special session was called to consider revising the state budget and to address other issues. The legislature approved, and Governor Malloy signed, a massive "Implementer Bill" on June 30, 2015. The new law includes provisions that will dramatically change the way that car dealers charge consumers for dealer conveyance fees.
One way to avoid becoming a victim of auto dealer fraud is to conduct on-line research before car shopping. While positive reviews will not guarantee a good car-buying experience, consumers can frequently avoid the worst dealerships by checking their reputation in advance.
Last month, a Connecticut Superior Court judge found that A Better Way Wholesale Autos in Naugatuck, CT had committed unfair trade practices when it to told a consumer that she had to buy various extras in order to finance her car purchase and then refused to refund her deposit when she refused. An arbitrator has just reached a similar ruling in a new case.
Powerbooking is one of the most common types of credit application fraud that car dealers commit. A car dealership powerbooks when it tells a bank or finance company that a car or truck is loaded even though it does not have many of the options that are described.
Do car dealer employees commit forgery? "It is like smoking a cigarette," said one employee of a major Connecticut car dealership. This individual, a salesman who was upset with his employer, had agreed to talk with me about dealership practices. He confirmed what we have long suspected: car dealership employees sign customers names to documents all the time.
The advertisements seem too good to be true: the car dealership will give you $3,500 for your trade-in, regardless of condition. Many consumers who have trade-ins with serious problems find these offers impossible to resist. But, be careful, because these advertisements are deceptive and are a type of auto dealer fraud.
Many consumers contact us after they discover that they paid significantly more than the "sticker price", or the manufacturer's suggested retail price ("MSRP") for a new car.