Consumer & Personal Injury Litigators

Car dealer scams may involve undervalued trade-ins

When Pennsylvania consumers decide it is time to purchase a new vehicle, they often think that trading in their current vehicle will make a significant difference in the amount they will pay. Unfortunately, this rarely happens, and many car buyers do not even realize they have been ripped off. One of the most common car dealer scams involves undervaluing a customer’s trade-in.

After signing mountains of papers and driving a new vehicle off the lot, many new car owners may feel the final price seems much higher than expected. This is especially true if they did some research and learned the current used car market value on their trade-in. Nevertheless, they may proceed with the sale because they really don’t understand the process car dealers go through to appraise a trade in.

The amount a dealer offers a customer for a trade-in is almost always much lower than its actual value. Dealers may subtract the amount it may take to prepare the old car for resale, but any trade-in amount a customer accepts that is under the wholesale price is profit for the dealer. Dealers may try to distract the customer from the low trade-in value by throwing around many numbers at once or over emphasizing minor flaws in the vehicle. If the customer persuades the dealer to go higher on the trade-in, it is likely the price of the newer vehicle will go up.

Customers can usually get a much better deal by selling their old cars privately instead of trading them in to dealers. Those who are not easily intimidated by strong-armed sales tactics may have success negotiating for a higher trade-in price. However, Pennsylvania consumers do not have to accept that outright fraud is part of the game of buying a vehicle. Those who believe they have been victims of dealer scams may benefit from seeking legal advice from an attorney skilled in consumer protection.

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