Saturday

Car Sales Fraud Rising

New car sales are slowing down and that can mean an increase in fraudulent practices in the used car department, just to keep the money flowing.

For the first time ever, the US automakers are predicted to drop to less than a 50% share of the market in US new car and truck sales by the end of the year. On top of that, sales figures are dropping for virtually all makes but particularly for the Big Three. That's why the rebate and incentive game is back big time at your local dealer. It's also why you need to be more careful now than ever.

The newest ripoff is the tire care package that some dealers are packing into your monthly payment, sometimes without the buyer even knowing it. The tire care package is really not much more than just a scam for paying your dealer now for tires that you might (or might not) need in the future. Frankly, you're better off keeping that money in your own bank account!

We're getting more complaints about negative equity scams too. That's where the dealer says your trade in vehicle is not worth what you owe on it "but don't worry, we'll pay off your trade in anyway" they say. What they don't tell you is that they are jacking up the price of the car they're selling you too. Effectively, you are just transferring some of your old loan over onto the newer vehicle. Deeper in debt and away you go! Read more about it and how to avoid it by clicking here.

Another common ripoff is the Gap Insurance Game. That's where the dealer sells you a high priced guarantee that if your car is stolen or wrecked and your own insurance won't pay it off, then they'll put money toward the payoff too. Some people praise it, but some people say it's just another way car dealers try to take your money. After all, if that car was worth what they sold it to you for, then how come your own insurance company doesn't think so?

Historically, what we've seen is that car dealers are out to get your money one way or the other. If the service department is making money for repairs, then the sales department doesn't feel as much pressure to pull a fast one on customers. And if the sales department is selling lots of iron, then the service department might not tell you that you need that brake job sooner rather than later.

When the money stream goes down in both departments, look out. That's when car dealers are at their worst.

Don't waste your money. Be smart and be careful. And if you get ripped off anyway, then email or call us. Sueing dishonest car dealers is what we do for consumers every day.