Very few people enjoy the process of buying a new or used car from a dealer. ("Let me check with my sales manager." "How much can you afford per month? I'll make it work.") But while those tactics are obvious and annoying, some dealers will run schemes that are downright illegal just to close the sale. Over at Jalopnik, professional car shopper Tom McParland reveals some of those activities as reported by two consumer protection attorneys. Here's one thing attorney Steve Lehto says to watch out for:
Dealers that curbstone. They have a hard time moving the car off their lot so they advertise it on craigslist and pretend it is a private sale. (This may be legal in some states but it certainly is shady). The key? Beware of a private seller claiming they have a dealer doing the paperwork as a favor.
And attorney Daniel Whitney calls out these dealership tricks:
Inflating income and deflating monthly rent on the credit application.
Finance managers are notorious for inflating income so a consumer will qualify for a car that they cannot afford. At the same time, they decrease the consumer's monthly rent for the same reason. I have seen many consumers with credit applications that say they pay no rent because they "live with family," who also are stated as making double or triple their actual monthly salary…
The dealership steals the GAP (guaranteed auto protection) and/or extended warranty money.
The fraud here is simple. The customer pays for GAP and an extended warranty, but the dealership never pays the premiums. The fraud comes to light when either an accident occurs, and the customer wants to make a GAP claim, or there is a mechanical issue and the customer makes a warranty claim. The customer then finds out that no premium was ever received.