Dealer Fraud: Signs of a Bad Deal

I have written in the past about dealers trying offer the best deal - the best deal for them not for you. Based on a couple of recent calls, I think it's a good time to review -- because this is one of the most common forms of dealer fraud.

Dealers love to "arrange" financing. That's their term. In fact, what really is going on is that the dealer is not only the seller but the original creditor. Once you sign the finance agreement, the dealer sells it to a bank for a large lump sum payment.

Dealer wants to get you to sign the largest contract possible that a bank will buy - given your credit profile, payment history, income, down payment and the value of the value.

Behind the scenes, dealers are trying to find out from banks the very most that the banks will approve. Then they will use this information in deciding how much they will charge for the vehicle.

Dealers will also try to pack as many "after-market products" as possible to consume any additional amounts that banks have approved. GAP insurance. Credit Insurance. Window Etching. Rust Proofing. And on and on.

There are a couple of things to look out for. GAP insurance. If a dealer is trying to sell you GAP insurance, that should be a real red flag. GAP insurance, after all, is used to cover the difference between what you owe and what an insurance company may pay in the event of a total loss.

GAP insurance only comes into play if you owe more than the vehicle is worth. That's about as good a sign of a bad deal as any.

Also, you must learn to accept a bank rejection as good information. It means more often than not that the dealer was trying to get you to sign a bad deal.

Banks are very sophisticated. They've invested a lot of time and money, and have hired a lot of very smart bean-counters to develop formulas to help them distinguish between good and bad deals.

If the bank thinks it's a bad deal, then it probably is.

If you think you have been the victim of dealer fraud, then contact a qualified attorney right way. You have to know and understand your rights before you can vindicate them.

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