Posts Tagged ‘car buying tips’
Everyone loves shopping for a new car. Actually, no one does. It’s right up there with looking for an apartment in the winter or pricing caskets. The only part that is ever fun is test-driving a car you know you would never buy. But that’s not really shopping. That’s borrowing somebody’s car for a joy ride.
When it comes to comparing model specs, looking for discounts, factoring in finance terms, understanding fuel economy quotes, and looking at resale value (matching pre-owned versus new models), there is little to love about the car buying process. It only gets worse when an unethical auto dealer is trying to put one over on you. Then it’s anarchy.
However, you still need a car. The best way to proceed is to do your homework and never rush into any purchase. To help with dealers out to scam unwitting consusmers, CarBuyingTips.com compiled a 10 best (or worst) car dealer scams consumers should have on the radar when walking into a dealership. Here’s a look at the scams you should be ready to avoid.
1. The lost financing scam
Signing a deal for a new car is foolish if you don’t have the loan terms locked in already. Leaving the dealership in a new car with on-the-spot financing leaves you open to this scam. After a few weeks, you learn from the dealer that your loan application was rejected. Now you have to accept a higher annual percentage rate (APR) on the dealer’s new loan because the original rate is no longer available.
In reality, any rate that was pre-approved with an accurate credit score should go through. CarBuyingTips.com pegs 680 as the Mendoza Line for credit scores. Below that figure, you are getting a higher rate. Above it, you get the optimal rates. These days, there are so many free credit score services that you should go in knowing the deal. If you have a credit rating below 680 but the dealer offers you an extremely low rate, the “financing evaporated” scam may be in the works.
2. The ‘your credit sucks’ scam
In this scam, dealers suggest your credit has seen better days, downgrading it by a hundred or so points. That gives them the right to give you a worse financing deal and pick up some extra cash on the loan end. Of course, this scam is easily avoidable if you check your credit before you head into a dealership. When the dealer says he wanted you to get a better deal but your credit score was 640, you can ask him to go ahead and double-check that number. Before you left the cozy confines of your home, your credit rating was 780 (or 840, etc.).
3. Car dealer never pays off trade-in loan
Trading in a car with a loan balance still on it is risky. CarBuyingTips.com shows where it’s most dangerous: when a car dealer “forgets” to pay off the loan and you are stuck with the balance because you never got paperwork guaranteeing he would. A car ought to be paid off in full if you are trading it in or otherwise be sold to a buyer on the open market. Dealers would be especially shady if they tried this scam, but it has been done in the past.
4. The ‘you need a co-signer’ scam
Let’s say you are having trouble getting a loan for your car, for whatever reason. A dealer might suggest you just get a co-signer to obtain approval and head down the road. That solution might sound appealing until you realize (either as a co-signer or the original party) that the co-signer with good credit ended up being the only one with the loan. It’s a scam because you wouldn’t have gotten the car without that loan and wouldn’t have gotten the loan without someone else’s credit. Catch this one before it’s too late by reading every bit of paperwork. The co-signer is the one at risk.
5. The ‘online lenders are deadbeats’ scam
If you roll into the dealership with a pre-approval and blank check from an online lender, you should be on your merry way once you choose the right automobile. Unfortunately, you may find your dealer refusing to accept the check because he claims online lenders are deadbeats who bounce them. Then he will hit you with a loan package at higher percentage rates. His scam is convincing you other people are trying to scam him. It’s creative, but you can blow up the scam by walking out on the deal. Considering the dealer left his morals at the door, you would be advised to do so.
6. The warranty scam
CarBuyingTips.com identifies two warranty scams that are fairly common. In the first, dealers hit you with a forced warranty for several thousand dollars that supposedly comes from the bank (it doesn’t). In the second system, a warranty is snuck into the terms of your deal so it inflates the monthly price. Forced warranties are illegal, so call the bluff and tell them you want to take it home and run through it with your attorney. The terms will change immediately.
7. The dealer prep scam
“Dealer Prep” fees are supposed to compensate dealers for the exhausting work done in the trenches after your car arrives off the truck but before you drive it off the lot. According to CarBuyingTips.com, that amounts to removing the plastic covers from the seats and windows. That would hardly be worth the $600 you might see attributed to “Dealer Prep” in a line on your invoice. This fee is almost always negotiable. Again, it is a fee that will be reduced or disappear if you take the deal off the table.
8. The trade-in loan payoff scam
This scam is mostly out in the open. A dealer offers to pay off your lease or existing loan so you can ditch your old ride and get yourself into a (cue the Bob Barker voice) A NEW CAR! You are still paying the remainder of your loan and any penalties involved with breaking a lease, so you’re doubling down on payments in the end. CarBuyingTips.com says dealers typically try to sneak in longer financing terms (six, seven years) in order to get the payment near or even below your current monthly bill.
9. The no-warranty wrecked car scam
Why would anyone buy an as-is, no-warranty car from a dealership? You might as well pick a seller off Craigslist blindfolded and accept whatever terms are being offered. In the no-warranty scam, wrecked cars are gussied up to look like they had a long weekend rather than a funeral. There are ways to check where a car came from and whether it was totaled in the past. If you see the no-warranty offer on a car, chances are it is one of these vehicles.
10. The refinancing scam
In the 10th and possibly most sinister scam CarbuyingTips.com documented, the dealer gets back sometime after the car is in your possession. He congratulates you on this being your lucky day (Christmas come early, etc.) and says he’s got a way better financing package available. Say you pay $350 a month; well now he’s got a deal for $305. All you have to do is get back in the dealership, sign some papers, and you’re living on Easy Street.
If you fielded such a call, you would probably wonder how you were so lucky. The opposite was true. All the dealer did was extend the term of the loan to get you paying less longer. Yes, the APR went up in the new deal. It’s one nasty scam, but just one of many out there in the auto consumer jungle.
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But some sellers are counting on your not mastering some of the crucial techniques buyers need to maximize the test-drive experience and get everything they need from the “thinking of buying it” ride.
Rolling to the rescue is Edmunds.com which is out with some reminders for car and truck buyers on getting the most from a test-drive.
It’s all about checking much-needed decision-based items off your vehicle shopping list.
“Every car shopper should feel empowered to own their test drive and make sure that they focus on all of the factors that are most important to them,” says Philip Reed, consumer advice editor at the online auto expert. “If the car doesn’t look, feel or sound right in any way, then it’s OK to trust your gut and walk away. The small red flags you find early on could become big waving banners down the road.”
“It’s a little like trying on clothes,” Reed says. “People come in different sizes and shapes, and they have different tastes in what they want. The little things that you spot now could be major annoyances later, so don’t discount any of your reactions.”
That process starts before you get in the car, he says. Go into the experience with your eyes open, especially before you put the keys into the ignition. Here are some of the item on Reed’s text-drive checklist:
- Is it easy to get in and out of the new car without stooping or banging your head?
- Does your body type match the pedal positions? If not, are the pedals adjustable?
- Is the seat comfortable? Is it easily adjustable? Is there a lumbar support adjustment?
- Is there enough room for your head, hips and legs? Remember to sit in the backseat to test it too.
- Are the gauges and controls easy to read and use?
- How is the visibility? Check the rearview mirror and side mirrors and look for potential blind spots.
- Check the trunk space and cargo area. Is the vehicle easy to load? Is there a pass-through in the trunk opening for long items?
- When you do hit the open road, avoid taking phone calls and keep the radio off — the test-drive demands your undivided attention. Pay particular attention to the car engine. Is it running smoothly? Do you hear pings or knocks? If so, those are deal-breakers.
Drive the car or truck like you would if you owned it. If you have a long commute to work, take your test drive out on the highway. If you want a tough, durable truck, take it up a hill or, better yet, a mountain to check out how the vehicle handles the added burden.
Also, focus on the vehicle’s main features. How do the brakes feel? How long does it take to go from zero to 50 miles per hour? Is the dashboard clean, useful and elegant? What’s the gas mileage like?
Mastering the new vehicle test drive is half art, half science. Take the tips above with you to the drive and you can vastly increase your odds of buyingthe car or truck you’ll love over the
In all probability, most people you know own a car, and most of them could share their car-buying experience and advice with you. Additionally, there’s almost unlimited amounts of buyer tips on the internet, but following is some interesting insight from an ex-dealership manager, including 2 must-do’s and 4 things to avoid:
1) Know what you want. Check dealer sites for features and price quotes, then use online resources such a Edmunds.com to compare models based on what makes more sense to you and your lifestyle. Things like capacity, gas mileage, safety rating, acceleration, mileage, emissions, etc., should all be considered in your decision.
2) Do Your Pricing Research. Whether you’re shopping for a new or used car, be sure to know the following information and have it with you when you go to a dealership:
A) The list price of the car you want
B) Your Credit Score
C) The lowest financing rate you can get from the bank
D) How long you will need the car (financing vs. lease)
E) The trade-in value of your old car ( the Kelly Blue Book is a good resource – www.kbb.com)
1) Don’t buy accessories or service plans from the dealership when signing your contract. It will just add to the financing cost.
2) Don’t buy this year’s model toward the end of the year when the next year’s models are being released. Your car will immediately lose value.
3) Shop toward the end of the month or quarter when dealers may be more willing to negotiate with you to hit their target sales.
4) Never give a written commitment until you see all the numbers in the contract that you’ll sign.
The more informed you are about what you want, the less likely you’ll be to have buyer’s remorse.
READ MORE: http://www.squiddo.com/car-buyer-tips
Like many of us, if you’ve held off on purchasing a new car, October may be the time to get a great deal. October has some of the best new car deals we’ve seen all year, and deals are available on all brands. In addition, dealer incentives from September have rolled into October, and with the model year-end approaching, dealers may be even more inclined to negotiate.
According to TrueCar.com, transaction prices have dropped for the 4th straight month this year, and this trend for 2011 autos is expected to continue through the end of the year.
Here are some of the best deals on 2011 models in October according to US News:
Mazda CX-7 — 0% financing for up to 60 months AND $500 back
Honda Fit — 0.9% financing for 24-36 months
Hyundai Elantra — 1.9% financing for up to 236 months in most regions
Buick Regal — 0% financing for up to 60 months OR $1,000 cash back
GMC Sierra — 0% financing for up to 60 months AND $1,000 APR cash OR $4,505 cash back
Chevrolet Traverse — 0% financing for up to 60 months AND $1,000 APR cash OR $2,000 back
Nissan Maxima – 0% financing for 36 months; 0.9% financing for 60 months; 1.9% financing for 72 months OR $3,000 cash back
So if you’re thinking about buying a new auto, October is definitely a good time to do it.