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How to Stay Safe from Shady Car Dealerships

How to Stay Safe from Shady Car Dealerships

In 2016 alone, Americans purchased approximately 17.6 million cars and trucks. Unfortunately, many of those purchases came at the expense of honest, hard-working families who had the misfortune of tangling with the wrong dealership. Most dealerships are fairly reputable and many are fully committed to their customers, but the reality is that unscrupulous dealerships are also looking to take advantage of unknowing clientele.

Thankfully, you can avoid getting yourself into a costly car-buying experience by educating yourself on what to look for in a dealership, both the good and the bad. This helpful guide outlines strategies for choosing a helpful, considerate dealer as well as spotting a shady salesman from a mile away. Keep on reading to learn the ins and outs of evaluating a car dealership.

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Red Flags

Some of the most obvious signs of a bad auto dealership are, well, obvious. High-pressure sales tactics, for example, have been ruled as a universal no-no. Likewise, it should go without saying that a huge discrepancy between the vehicles advertised online and the vehicles available in real life is a huge clue that a dealer is bad news. This section focuses on some of the more subtle and less well known red flag associated with less than desirable auto dealerships.

Unprofessional Car Repair Shop 

Car dealerships often host in-house repair shops. This allows them to tune up vehicles that come into their possession and serves as a means to maximize the car’s value and ensure the safety of the customer. With that in mind, a dealership with an understaffed car shop or one staffed by technicians lacking certifications is going to be taking the safety of the customer for granted. Avoid these car dealerships like the plague or risk putting yourself or your family in a vehicle that may not have received adequate service.

Stiff Arbitration Clause Demand

If a dealer asks you to sign arbitration documentation when you buy a car, then they are basically asking you to forfeit your right to bring legal action against the dealership if they sell you a dangerous or malfunctioning vehicle. If you think this sounds like a potential scheme to pass a lemon off to some unsuspecting car buyer, you may not be too far from the truth. This also speaks to the importance of reading everything a car dealership asks you to sign. Keep clear of any dealership (or business for that matter) that pressures you to limit your own rights as a consumer.

Long Waits With Few Explanations 

One of the preferred psychological power moves of unscrupulous car dealerships is making customers sit and wait. The longer a person sits without getting an answer, the more frustrated they are likely to become and more willing to capitulate in negotiations, if only to get out the door and back to their regular lives. If you visit a dealership and notice people sitting and waiting while groups of employees stand huddled to the side you may want to take note of how long they end up waiting. More often than not poor service at a car dealership isn’t an accident.

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Green Flags 

Most signs of a bad car dealership are clear as day to anyone looking for them. Thankfully, so are indicators that a dealership is respectable and puts the customers first. Keep an eye out for these business practices so you can feel confident that you are getting the respect you deserve as a customer. Working with a reliable dealership will help you feel safer and secure in your new vehicle as well.

Consistently Transparent Service 

The old cliché that an innocent man has nothing to hide is actually a pretty accurate statement with regard to a car dealership. The very best in the business will go out of their way to make sure that customers understand every step of the car buying process. They will also maintain a friendly, helpful attitude when customers ask clarification questions or want to know more details about things like dealership fees. The right dealer will honor your savvy as a customer rather than treat it as an obstacle to a bigger sale.

Extended Consumer Satisfaction History 

Don’t ignore online reviews when it comes to car dealerships. It’s true that no business is perfect and that sometimes entitled customers might exaggerate their experience. That’s why it’s worth sorting through a few pages of reviews and looking for patterns, scenarios or employees that are mentioned independently by multiple reviewers over several years. If all the signs are consistently pointing toward the same problem, there’s likely some truth to the issue.

Helpful Financing Options 

The car buying process always ends up being a bit more expensive than one might predict. That’s why the best car dealerships do their best to leverage their reputation and get the best deals financing for their customers. A reputable dealership known for making solid deals will have the best opportunities to get preferred rates from financers, and this insider advantage could make the difference of thousands of dollars. Any dealership with a strong, reputable financing team is definitely one you should keep on your list of prospective places to buy a car.

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Make Your Best Judgement Even Better 

Investing in a car is a big step. Make sure that you’re taking that step in the right direction, and do your diligent research before handing your hard earned income over.

This guest post was submitted by Chris from USA Auto AZ.

Chris Weatherall works as a content writer for USA Auto in Mesa, AZ. When he isn’t writing blog posts, Chris is probably spending time with his adorable kids or watching very cool anime. A true car and motorcycle enthusiast, Chris currently drives a 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat and a 2017 Yamaha R1.

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