The auto industry is essential for the U.S. economy, and it is also a popular target for scammers. There are many different types of auto scams. Whether you are a customer, dealer, or manufacturer, it is necessary to be aware of the most common scams to avoid them.
This article covers the most common yet stealthy scams in the industry. You will also learn to avoid such scams when they pop up around you during a transaction, in a dealership, or online.
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1. Price Hike During Purchase
You see a car advert online with a price. You call or email the dealership and negotiate it down a little. However, when purchasing the car, the price has mysteriously gone up by a few hundred or even a thousand dollars.
The dealership may try to increase the price of the car by introducing new costs, expenses, and fees. They will also try to wear you down by telling you that other customers are interested in it and that you need to act quickly.
This scam is common among dealerships to make a quick profit. The best way to avoid this scam is to get the price of the car in writing before you go to the dealership. This way, you can hold them accountable if they try to increase the price.
If you are at the dealership and they try to increase the price, be firm and remind them of the originally agreed-upon price. If they continue to insist on the higher price, report them to the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission. You can also buy your dream vehicle from states with the fewest auto-related scam in 2022.
2. Financing Fraud
Most people buy cars on loans. Your credit report is essential in ascertaining your affordability and loan terms. Car dealerships are aware of this and may use it to scam you.
The dealer could check your credit score without your consent. Afterward, they will tell you that your credit report is too poor for a low-interest loan and try to sell you a high-interest car loan.
They will also try to extend your loan terms to increase the total interest payable on the loan. Both scenarios indicate how they are working hard to extort you as much as possible.
It is prudent to have your credit score and report when going to the car dealership. That way, you can confirm what the dealer is telling you. It is also essential to understand all the terms before signing any paperwork. Do not allow the dealer to extend your loan terms without your consent.
3. Repair Shops Stealing Car Parts
Have you ever taken a car for repair, and the mechanic says they had to replace a part? It is likely that the mechanic stole the old part and replaced it with a used or damaged one. You later start having problems with the same part they “repaired.”
This scam is among unethical mechanics who want to make a quick buck. They will find valuable car parts they can sell and replace them with used or counterfeit ones. You may not be aware of this method of stealing, and you may not bother to ask.
The best way to avoid this scam is by taking your car to a reputable repair shop. Do not let the mechanic change any part without you inspecting it. Also, carry the old replaced parts when leaving the repair shop. You can also hire a private mechanic to come and inspect your car at home and do all necessary repairs in your presence.
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4. The Fake Test Drive
You are at a dealership, and the salesperson asks if you want to take the car for a test drive. You agree, and they hand you the keys. They tell you to have fun and bring it back in an hour. You return after an hour, and the salesperson asks how you liked the car. They then tell you it is not for sale and try to sell you a different one.
This scam is for wasting your time and getting you emotionally attached to a car you cannot have. The salesperson hopes you will get so attached to it to be willing to pay any price. You can avoid this scam by staying firm. Leave if they cannot sell you the one you took for a test drive. Never come back to the same dealership whatsoever.
5. The Fake Car Ad
Sometimes, you will come across an advertisement for a car online, in print, or on television that is too good to be true. The vehicle is listed for half the market value, and it looks almost brand new.
When you visit the shop, the car is different from what you saw. They tell you there was a mix-up and show you another overpriced vehicle. The goal is to get you to purchase an overpriced car out of frustration.
Avoid this scam by calling the dealer and verifying the advertised car’s authenticity. Ask about the vehicle specs and price before committing to purchasing it.
Buying a car is a significant investment. It is essential to watch for scams that could cost you more money. Avoiding auto scams will also save you from high insurance premiums.