Know the Red Flags

September 16th, 2019 by

The back fenders of four used cars are shown at one of the used car dealerships in Corsicana, TX.
The universe has come a long way when it comes to used car dealerships. In today’s day and age, there is too much information available to the consumer for any reputable dealership to try to scam any of their customers out of money. To help alleviate some of your concerns when it comes to used car dealerships, we are going to review the two major opportunities where car dealers have the chance to pull one over on you and what you can do to make the best of the situation.

Take knowledge in the fact that you can tell the reputable dealers apart from the moment you walk into the door.

A dealership worth their salt will be clean and have plenty of employees ready to assist you with a smile as soon as you walk in the door. Examine some of the cars in the lot prior to walking in. Any vehicle that is in the front of their lot should be spotless, inside and out. If the dealership can’t be bothered to shine up their product, then they might not have your best interest at heart. If at any point during the car buying process, you feel uneasy, ask to take a step back for a moment. A reputable dealership will let you breathe while answering questions you may have. A shady dealership will attempt to pressure you into making a decision whether you’re ready or not.

Investigation and Purchase

The first place that a consumer can get ripped off at a shady dealership is with the product itself. While most dealerships will be completely honest with you about every facet of the vehicle, some salesman choose to hide behind “that’s impossible to know” and other various forms of doublespeak. Therefore, it is important for you to take every available option to educate yourself prior to making the purchase. If you walk into a dealership and you get the sense that no one there is ready to wait on you hand and foot, it is probably a good idea to take your business elsewhere. If they aren’t dropping everything to speak with you, then there is no telling how hard it will be to get follow-up information or maintenance when the time comes.

As previously stated, if you take a look at a car that interests you and it is clear that the car hasn’t been cleaned since the previous owner, red flags should start going off in your head. If they haven’t taken the time to make it shine, do you think that they also did the recommended oil change and air filter replacement?

Keep in mind that just because an otherwise clean vehicle has some body damage on it does not mean that the dealership is shady. Plenty of reputable dealers will be happy to sell you a well-used car if you are looking to save some money that way.

If the vehicle looks to be in good condition at first glance, take the time to review check the internet, the CarFax report, and call a mechanic to see if there is anything wrong with the vehicle.

First things first, check to see if there were any recalls on the vehicle in question. Go to Recalls on the NHTSA site and enter in the vehicles information to see what pops up. If any recalls pop-up, bring it up with the dealer. They should be able to provide you with proof that the maintenance was completed. You can also check websites like Car and Driver for in-depth articles, YouTube for full vehicle reviews, and Reddit to see what owners are saying about the vehicle.

If the salesman at the dealership is trying to pressure you while you are doing research, you should take that as a sign that the salesperson is more interested in putting you into any car rather than the right car for your situation.

The final point of contention when it comes to purchasing a vehicle is the price. Remember that as the purchaser, you the leverage. Once again, consult the internet to determine if you are getting a fair price on the vehicle. A reputable dealer will take all of the facts that you bring to the table and try to work with you. A shady dealer will start to play with the numbers in the hope to confuse you. They might match that price you saw elsewhere, but to do so, they might try to convince you that you need to increase your interest rate or triple your down payment or have you purchase an additional warranty. If they start rattling off confusing numbers, ask them to slow down and if they can provide you with paperwork that allows you to see all of the facts and figures. A reputable dealer wants to get you into the right car at the right price so that you’ll come back to them in five-to-ten years. A shady dealer will get you into a car and hope to never hear from you again.

The Finance Arm Wrestle

Only walk into the finance office if you are 100% that you will be happy with your purchase. All of your non-finance related questions should have been answered by now. There are three things that should be offered to you by a reputable dealership. The first is an appropriate interest rate, the second is an extended warranty if applicable, and finally, they will offer gap protection.

Research appropriate interest rates for your credit score and history. Interest rates are in constant flux, so there is no “one size fits all.” Finally, if you are investing a fairly valuable car that will depreciate when you drive it off of the lot, gap protection will ensure that you’re not on the hook should your car get totaled before you are able to put any equity into it. The finance office should be exactly like the rest of your experience at the dealership. Cool, calm, collective, not rushed, and all of your questions should be answered honestly.

Research, and Walk In

Just like anything in life, you can make the process smoother and with less regret when you do your research. Your local dealership could be less than credible, but that is highly unlikely. Most dealerships want to have a lifelong relationship with you and will go above and beyond to make sure you have everything that you need. Research what you’re looking for and give your local dealer a call. They are a great wealth of information and loved to be utilized by the community. Hopefully, when walk in, you are greeted with a smile and room to breathe.

If you are in the Corsicana, TX, area, there’s no need to worry about finding a reputable dealership. Here at Frank Kent Country, our wonderful staff will help you take care of everything you need. We offer haggle-free pricing on all our vehicles, and an amazing selection ranging from Buick’s to Toyota’s. Our finance department will work with you to get the financial plan you deserve, and our service department is here for you when you need it. So trust us with helping you find your dream car, we work to help you.