Their goal is to fleece you out of as much of your money as possible, leaving your wallet and finances bleeding on the floor and still have you initially leave with a smile on your face. But that's not really their fault, it's yours. They're in business to make money, and the more the better. The way they approach you, the questions they ask, and the offers they make are all designed to see how much they think they can make from you and then make sure they drain you of every possible drop. But ask yourself, why would you enter that arena unprepared? Would go go into a lion's cage with out a gun, skydive without a parachute, or race a car without at least seatbelt?
Although buying a car usually isn't a life and death matter - however, it can be if you don't check crash test results before you buy a vehicle, but that's a story for a different day - buying a car can have deadly effects on your pocketbook. Unless you're wealthy, and can afford to lose thousands of dollars, you need to be prepared before you enter any dealers property.
Sure there are some consumer protection laws out there designed to protect you, but dealers try to legally, and some illegally, avoid those protections. Here's a few tips and scams to avoid:
1. CO-SIGNING FOR SOMEONE.
Don't do this unless you're sure the person on whose behalf you're co-signing can afford the loan, and that you can afford to pay it, if they default. If someone needs a co-signer they either have no, or bad credit. So what makes you think they'll pay the debt this time? Many end up defaulting, so ask yourself whether you can afford the pay this loan if they do, and whether that person is important enough to you that you're will ing to take on that debt for them. Also, be aware that the law requires the finance company to give a notice to a co-signer warning them to the risks; however, finance companies and dealers know the information in that notice can scare off a potential cosigner and ruin the deal, so now some dealers/finance companies are listing the co-signer as a "co-buyer". A notice s not required to be given to a co-buyer.
2. BUY HERE-PAY HERE
I understand that many people have bad credit, especially after the mortgage/foreclosure crisis. As a result, some people think they can only obtain a vehicle from such a place. You should try every other alternative, before you go this route. Usually, these places require from $1,000.00 and up for a down payment. That down-payment is usually the amount the dealer paid for the vehicle, maybe even more. Once you pay the down-payment, they put you on a weekly payment plan, which sounds cheap: $50, $75, $100/week, but you ave to look at the monthly cost and the fact some months have five weeks. You also have to consider how long you have to me these payments, before the vehicle is yours and whether that total amount is far in excess of the vehicle's value. Buy Here-Pay Here places are like the Rent A Centers and Aaron's of car buying, preying on the poor.
But there's something even worse with some Buy Here - Pay Here dealers. The vehicle you're paying for is already used and most people don't do their own Carfax or other verification check on them, or some dealers provide a fraudulent Car Fax - same type of vehicle but different VIN#. So, while you're paying for this vehicle, the dealer retains the Title and, unless you demand to see the Title before you sign the contract, you won't be aware of it's status, and some dealers are selling Salvaged vehicles without the buyer knowing. The dealer is counting on the odds that you won't make all the payments, and they'll repossess and resell the vehicle, without you ever knowing that you were paying for a Salvaged vehicles. Is that illegal? Sure, but they now that many of the people who go through Buy Here-Pay Here don't make all the payments. I've also seen this where the buyers don't speak or read English, and the dealer speaks their language and, as a result are comfortable with him/her and trust the dealer. Of course the dealer doesn't tell them in their language, or any other, about the status of the vehicles's title, or puts in in English in the contract, knowing they won't be able to read it.
3. THERE IS NO LAW THAT ALLOWS YOU TO RETURN A VEHICLE WITHIN 3 DAYS
I'm not sure where this Urban Legend originated, but it seems to
be a common belief among people. In New Jersey and to my knowledge, most States, no such law exists. Some dealers are now offering this, but it's not the law and not required. Also, if the dealer does offer this, read the terms!!! They may limit the reasons why you can return it, or charge you for it's use during those days , etc... Never take the dealers word on anything. If t's not in writing, it doesn't exist!
The bottom line is that only you can protect yourself, so do your research and don't be a victim. There are all types of websites, where you can learn about what you should pay, dealers tricks, options to avoid, financing, etc... I've provided a link below to one site that seems somewhat informative.http://www.realcartips.com/guide/