Even though many people can afford a new car, they choose to buy a used vehicle for a variety of reasons. Some people buy used vehicles of about a year or two old; they are still in like new condition but the major portion of the depreciation has already occurred. When it’s time to buy that car, they tend to shop at used car dealers.
This type of dealership has really managed to gain a tough reputation over the years. Even movies and television shows make fun of used car salespeople and portray them as stupid, lazy, or downright criminals. They also have reputations for trying to sell vehicles that should be sent to be crushed long ago. Consumers are always filing complaints about how they were allegedly done wrong at one of their local dealers.
How much of all this is true? Some. No matter how shady some of these people might be, the majority of the onus falls on the customer to understand exactly what he’s buying and what he’s being charged. Unless you have a dealer who is purposely committing fraud, your entire deal should be plainly outlined in the paperwork given to you sign.
If you had promises made to you, make sure they are in writing. Forget the gentleman’s handshake or “don’t worry about a thing, I’ll take care of you” speeches. Don’t sign anything unless everything you had agreed to is indeed in writing. If not, you were instrumental in causing your own problem.
One issue that keeps coming up when it comes to consumer complaints is the type of financing available for used cars. This can’t always be blamed on just used car dealerships. Used cars have always had higher interest rates associated with the loans no matter how good your credit is. Why? Used cars are the ones that are defaulted on more frequently. This goes back decades when used cars were really old clunkers, and if people financed them, they would usually just die and people would stop paying for them. Even though the car industry has changed, the finance industry hasn’t kept up with the times.
Another problem consumers have is that it’s hard to get specific information about the cars on many lots. Some dealerships sell any car they can. They can’t be expected to know everything about every car on the lot. And, these cars usually don’t get turned in with the original owners manual so if you find a car you’re interested in, it’s up to you to learn all about it.
In these cases, do research before even making a down payment. If you have a laptop with a wireless data plan, bring it with you! Let the salesman know you are going to check out the car, the pricing, financing alternatives, and a CarFax history report.
Then, take it for a long test drive. If possible, have an auto mechanic look at the odometer and rule out tampering. This isn’t limited to old cars; many new cars that were leases are still prime candidates. Some cars are turned in just because of their high mileage. Make sure you aren’t buying one.