When you’ve worked hard to save the money for a down payment on a new car or it’s time to trade in your vehicle for something more reliable, you’ll quickly discover that you have lots of options, and one of those is to purchase your vehicle from a car dealer. Unfortunately, the reputation that car salespeople have is not unwarranted. There are many honest car dealers, but, unless you’re working with someone you know and trust, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure that you don’t become the victim of a car dealer scam.
Know What You Want and What the Vehicle Offers
Take the time to learn all the different options available on the vehicle you want and ask questions to verify that the car you are interested in purchasing has the features you desire. If you give the salesperson the impression that you know very little about the car, you can easily become a victim of dealer fraud.
Verify Who Owns the Car
If you are purchasing from a dealer, the dealer should be holding title to the vehicle. If the dealer tells you that he’s acting as an agent or representative for the seller, who still has title, you should be wary.
Get the Real Price in Writing
It’s important to understand that the price in the window or on the advertisement is not necessarily the full price you will pay. Make certain to ask the dealer to include all potential costs, so that you know exactly what you’ll be paying. It’s helpful to compare prices elsewhere before you go to the dealer. If you have an idea of what the vehicle should cost before you go to the dealer, there’s less risk that you’ll be swindled.
Don’t Pay for the Car Until You Have the Keys
A dealer may ask you to pay in advance—don’t ever do that. It’s better to make a small deposit and pay the rest just before you drive out of the lot.
Get a Copy of All Documents
The dealer should have a written contract for the sale of the vehicle. You will also need to sign certain title and loan documents, if appropriate. Make certain you have copies. You also want to verify the information on any document. Take down the VIN number from the title document and compare it with the VIN plate under the front windshield. If it doesn’t match, don’t pay for the car.
Contact Our Office
At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges. Send us an e-mail or call us at 201-791-1333 or (201) 535-0323 to set up an appointment.