Are you in the market for a used car? Shopping for one can be fun and exciting — but don’t let the thrill overshadow your common sense. Not all used car salesmen are creepy guys in cheap throwback suits. Many are well-dressed women or classically groomed gentlemen with creepy sales tactics. Regardless, the main objective they all have is to sell you a car. Pay close attention to these five shady dealings that used car salesmen may try with you.
Expensive Extended Warranties
Many used car dealerships will tempt you with an extended warranty costing a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, but they aren’t worth a penny. The warranties typically have ridiculous coverage limitations. Review any warranty information you receive carefully. A warranty is needed — but not a limited one. That would indicate that the dealership will pay for only part of your repair costs.
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Shortened Statute of Limitations
Are you familiar with the Uniform Commercial Code? Probably not. A part of it lets used car dealerships reduce the statute of limitations down to one year on any claim you make against them. If you learn that you were defrauded in some way by the dealership and a year has passed, you are out of luck if your agreement has that clause. Most states allow four years to file such a claim.
Spoken Statements Are Unenforceable
This tactic seems like a no-brainer, but it can still trip you up. Most purchase agreements currently used by car dealers specify that verbal statements made by the salesperson are null and void unless written into said agreement. This declaration is further enforced by your signature on it. Any and everything that your sales rep orally communicated to you can be refuted, so be sure to compare their words with the fine print on your paperwork.
Non-Compliance With Used Car Rule
All used cars sold at a dealership should come with a Buyers Guide. It spells out whether or not the vehicle is being sold with a warranty or “as is.” According to the Federal Trade Commission, this is an essential component of the Used Car Rule that pre-owned car sellers should comply with. Most states permit “as is” sales, and the Buyers Guide lists all of the repair issues that the car may have. Don’t be tricked into not receiving or reading the guide beforehand. Know what maintenance you will be responsible for at the time of purchase.
Supplemental life or disability insurance, fabric protection, rust proofing, marked-up interest rates — these are all senseless elements that can be thrown onto your bill of sale. Your head is in the clouds while the sales rep is rushing you through the paperwork. Some of the shady add-ons are placed below the total cost of the car but still above the signature line. There is nothing wrong with refusing to sign or asking clarifying questions. Stand up and head for the door. If the dealer wants your business, they will adhere to your wishes.
Keep your eyes open for these common scams that used car dealers will pull on you. Read and re-read your purchase agreement.