Your Purchasing Rights

First and foremost, you have the right to be happy and enjoy the purchasing process. Automotive dealers are always trying to make a profit. And, why blame them, if companies did not make money then none of us would have a job. But, with that being said, we as the buyers should be treated fairly and with ethical standards.

So let's take a look at a short list of some of the things some dealers still do, so we do not fall prey to their tactics.

  • Do not let them prejudge - Just to set the record straight, the act of prejudging is not typically a process put in place by the Dealer, himself/herself, this is usually just something that happens in the mind of that salesperson you run into.

    We all deserve the right to be treated fairly, regardless of how we look or what we drove up in. If you feel you are being subjected to the process of prejudging, get up and leave!

    By the way it is completely unethical and it is typically illegal to be required to have your credit pulled just to be able to test drive a car! The reason why we say typically, is that there could be a requirement from the dealer's insurance company to prove capability to purchase; but this is usually only seen on those really expensive cars.
  • Do not let them hide anything from you - Do not fall prey to a dealer or its salesperson avoiding questions or attempting to change the subject. We are not going to go in further with this statement, cause you know when someone is hiding something. Just get up and leave!
  • Control your keys - When it come time to have your trade-in evaluated, walk around your vehicle with the appraiser (typically the Used Car Manager) and once he has but a value on your vehicle ask for your keys back before you start negotiations.

    Oh this brings up a very good point to be aware of.

    Have you ever heard a statement from a dealer that goes a little like this, "Bring in your trade right now, we have a buyer on site right now to give you the most money for your trade." Straight up this statement is a fabrication of the truth. There is ALWAYS a buyer for your trade at the dealership, and that buyer is the Dealer and if needed the Dealer has a network of wholesalers to call that will put a bid on your trade over the phone.
  • Payment Packing - This is the practice of providing you with a payment quote on your purchase, but the payment is actually higher than what it really is.

    This is illegal. This is deemed as a "deceptive practice" and as an "unfair trade practice" and you are protected by law against these practices.

    When negotiating a car deal, regardless of if the dealer has pulled your credit yet or not, if the dealer gives you what the payment will be on a vehicle, you have the right to see the finance amount, interest rate, and term period they used to come up with that payment.
  • Understanding what you are signing up for - You need to know every aspect of what you are signing up for. What your payment is without any finance products, what the rate for your loan is, what the term period of your loan is, what are your finance product options, and what are the requirements (if any, for i.e., references, pay stub, etc).

    Dealers cannot tell you that you have to buy a certain product or they cannot finance you.

    When discussing your loan and the dealer has elected for you to include a finance product, any statement that includes "the bank requires" is false! Also, the dealer can not elect anything for you!

  • You need to know the true benefits of the finance products you are buying and if the ones offered are the only ones the dealership offers. This is important because some dealers will still try and make up your mind for you.

    For i.e., you are purchasing a 7 year old vehicle with 125,000 miles on it and the dealership does have an extended service plan available to protect the engine and transmission. But because the cost is say $1,800 dollars, the dealership's Business Manager decides to NOT to offer it to you.

    In this case you did not know it was available. And then lets say the transmission blows up 2 months and 5,000 miles after you purchased the car. What are you going to do? Replace the transmission, right?

    Here is the reality on that example. You are going to spend your hard earned money to replace the transmission. You are going to be mad at the dealership and probably call them yelling and screaming. BUT, before you get all worked up, HERE IS A SECRET, in today's courts the dealership is typically going to be liable to repair your transmission or reimburse you for the repair. WHY, because they used a discriminatory practice by not offering you the product and giving you the right to decline it. Every time we have seen this situation, the question arises why did they (the Dealership) not offer the product option on your purchase, yet the Dealer offered the product on other similar car purchases?

    The moral to this story is, know your rights and all your options.

    And, let's keep the Dealer in honest!

There are so many issues with dealership practices, that we see daily, it would literally create a novel and you would stop reading. So, we highlighted what we feel are the biggest issues at this time. Take the ASK A.B.E. educational course and enjoy becoming a master at purchasing a car!

What do you do if your feel that you have been the subject of unlawful practices by a dealer? Visit our Legal Resources section and contact the appropriate listed government agency to report the claim. ALSO, please Contact Us so we may beware of the claim against that dealer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have to sign an Arbitration Agreement?
If you are purchasing a car at a dealership that uses an Arbitration Agreement, then if they make one customer sign it, then all customers have to sign one. A dealership does have the right to refuse you the right to purchase a vehicle from them if you do not sign the Arbitration Agreement. And, in some states an Arbitration Agreement is a requirement by state law.

Now with that being said, you are NOT truly giving up your rights. All you are doing is agreeing that you will go to Arbitration first, if an issue arises between you and the dealership in regards to your purchase.

Can I give me child my car to use as a trade-in and save on taxes?
Yes and No. This all depends on your state's tax rules. But typically in most state's you can gift your vehicle to immediate family, which they can trade-in and lower the tax liability. Please see your local tax office for more information.

Now, if you do live in an area where this is allowed by law, you have every right to do so, even if the dealer does not want to fill out the extra paperwork.

I am rebuilding my credit and the dealer said I have to have GAP and a Service Contract, do I have to?
No you do not! Just as you do not have to purchase the car.

Here is why you were told that, it has to do with the dealers profit on the sale. In the secondary and sub-prime finance markets, dealers can pay hugh fees to get your loan purchased by a certain lender, and in cases like you mentioned, sometimes if a finance product or 2 are added to the loan, the dealers fees can decrease. Visit our Finance Options section to learn more.


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