Don’t get ripped off at the car dealership

Why do car dealers, as an industry, have a bad reputation? Because nobody likes to be ripped off, especially when making a big money purchase such as a car. As an industry, dealerships are known for the high-pressure sales tactics and tricks they use to get customers to spend much more on the car than they should have.

Thanks to the internet, before heading to the showroom consumers can do their homework by looking at online reviews of cars as well as using pricing tools like or the Kelley Blue Book. Shoppers can compare sticker prices, review extra features, and even buy their new vehicle online without ever having to set foot in a dealership.

If you like the idea of doing your car shopping in person, after doing your due diligence, you may feel pretty comfortable visiting a car dealership to purchase a new vehicle. Unfortunately, dealers still have some tricks up their sleeves that could end up costing you thousands of dollars more than you needed to spend.

Don’t get ripped off the next time you’re in the market for a new or used car. There are some common red flags that should alert you to the fact that you may want to take your business elsewhere. And remember that if you feel that you’ve been a victim of auto fraud or have been sold a defective vehicle, you have legal recourse under California’s lemon law.

It’s all about the money

The three main ways that dealerships make money off consumers involves:

  • The price of the vehicle
  • Financing
  • Trade-in

Dealers will manipulate these three sources of profit so that you may get a good deal on one of them while, at the same time, being scammed on the other two. To avoid this trap, negotiate each part of the sale separately.

For example, one common car dealership financing scam involves convincing you to finance your car for a longer term; this will drop your monthly payment, but you’ll end up paying more over the long run. Another is the spot delivery scam, commonly used on people with bad credit scores because they may not have other options for paying for the car. 

Extended warranties, dealer-installed options such as undercoating and paint sealers, and delivery fees are just more of the lies and deceptions that some dealers will use to swindle you when you’re buying a car. And, some of the tactics that dealers use are actually considered to be dealer fraud, such as charging customers for accessories that weren’t actually sold with the vehicle.

Is it too late?

No one wants to get scammed by a car dealer. There are laws in place to protect consumers from becoming the victims of car dealer fraud. If you’ve been the victim of a bad deal or you’ve purchased a bad car or “lemon,” call the Law Offices of Robert F. Brennan, auto fraud attorney in Los Angeles, to schedule a free legal consultation.

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