Your Credit Rights
First and foremost, you have the right to have your credit information protected by a dealership and in fact this is a federal regulation under the Privacy Act. For more information on your privacy rights.
Second, you have the right to have your credit information be a true reflection of your credit history. To view your credit prior to arriving at a dealership there are many free and paid subscription options available to you.
The three major credit bureaus:
- Equifax - www.equifax.com. P.O. Box 740241. Atlanta, GA 30374-0241.
- Experian - www.experian.com. P.O. Box 2104. Allen, TX 75013-0949.
- TransUnion - www.transunion.com. P.O. Box 1000. Chester, PA 19022.
Here is what we suggest to help protect your credit information and its accuracy, when it comes time to provide this information to a dealer:
- Complete the credit application yourself. DO NOT let your salesperson complete the application and then you sign it.
- When completing the application, make sure to remember that what you state on this application will be one of the factors the bank will consider when reviewing your application for credit. (For i.e., Income - this is your gross income not your take home amount.)
- Once you have completed your credit application ASK to have the Business Manger (F&I Manager) to come out and introduce himself/herself so that you may hand it directly to him/her. This will give you the time to explain anything you may need to before your credit is run and it will start to create a comfort level between you and the "dreaded" person in that small back office.
- PLEASE NOTE: At the time of completing your credit application, a properly run dealership will also have you review and sign both a Privacy Notice and an FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) Notice; its a list of primary banks the dealership uses.
Do you know what Risk Based Pricing is? Well your dealership should and should provide you with a copy. The Risk Based Pricing Notice (also sometimes referred to as a credit score disclosure), simply put, is a look into how your credit score compares to the rest of the consumer market. The proper process for a dealer is to provide you a copy of this when you have reviewed and signed your financing contract. Also, it is the best practice of a dealership to provide a copy of this disclosure to every one who applys for credit, regardless of the fact they purchase a car or not. Learn more about Risk Based Pricing.
Here's another thing you may or may not know. At the very beginning of an automotive purchase transaction the dealership is actually the lender. What this means is that until a bank or financial institution provides payment to the dealership for your contract the dealership is your lender. This gives rise to the reason why many dealerships use what is called a "Spot Delivery" form; also known as a conditional delivery form. With this being said, if a dealership does not provide you credit or if the credit terms offered were not accepted by you, then the dealership MUST provide you with an Adverse Action Letter. This Letter is a denial of credit based upon submitted terms. Notice this: If the dealership pulls credit and you do not take delivery, regardless of the reason, then you are to receive this notice. Most dealers do not follow this rule 100% of the time. Either the dealer will mail you this notice or they will submitted it to a bank to get a denial to have the bank send this notice. Be Aware!
Since we have brought up the Adverse Action Letter, NEVER let a salesperson or anyone at the dealership tell you that you do not qualify for a vehicle, until after they have submitted you to a bank. Remember, they do not work for the bank!