Cars are expensive, so consumers often look to the only expert at hand when they’re purchasing for advice: their car dealer.
See the problem? The person you may be trusting for information about a vehicle has an invested interest in making that sale to you, so their honesty may be tested by their desire to make an income.
Here are some of the most common lies you may hear from your car dealer:
1. A clean Carfax report means the car has never been in an accident
Actually, all it means is that there was never any insurance claim on the car. Minor accidents and small repairs don’t show up.
2. The Carfax system is unavailable or returned nothing
This is a huge red flag. The odds are high that there’s something on that Carfax that the dealer doesn’t want you to see.
3. It doesn’t matter what you put under your income or work history
It absolutely does matter. If your car dealer tells you to change the months you’ve been with your current employer to years or has you “round up” your income by a few thousand, that’s a sure sign that they’re playing loose and free with the lending rules. If you play along, you’re complicit in that wrongdoing.
4. You get free lifetime service or a big cash signing bonus for buying
Your “free service” may depend on you buying a vehicle service contract as part of your loan — or the promise may be void the first time you don’t make it in for a 3,000 mile oil change. That cash you were promised turns out to be a reduction on the final price of the vehicle (something you likely could have gotten just by negotiating) — not actual cash.
Car dealerships are completely aware that most consumers don’t know enough about the automobile industry and financing to know when they’re being cheated. If you think that your good nature has been abused by a dealership, find out what rights you have to fight back.