Both American and Canadian online car sellers including those with poor credit or needing auto loans will benefit from the termination of an internet car sales scam by a company that called itself the Enterprise Auto Group
What we know
One way consumers including those with bad credit can tell if an automotive-related program is legitimate is if the company or business involved asks for a fee up front to perform the service – including applying for auto loans.
We are aware of this here at Auto Credit Express because for the past twenty years we've been helping car buyers with credit issues looking for online car loans find those new car dealers that can give them their best opportunities for car loan approvals.
One thing we've learned during the past two decades is the fact that, as the saying goes, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
It also follows that if a company asks you to pay up front in order to provide a service, chances are it's a form of an "advance fee" scam.
Internet car sales scams
We were reminded of this last year when our company's web site was listed as a lending source for Canadian car buyers. We immediately suspected that the web site, www.enterpriseautogroup.com, might be fraudulent for two reasons:
1. For one, our company, Auto Credit Express, is not a lender. The we receive are forwarded to car dealers throughout the United States and Canada who are signed up with a broad range of lenders for practically all credit situations.
2. Secondly, as much as we like our northern neighbors, Auto Credit Express is based in the United States and, as such, could never be licensed as a lender in Canada.
Former Enterprise Auto Group scam
Not to be confused with another company of the same name that's based in New York and has a BBB rating of A-plus, the company behind the website enterpriseautogroup.com, was a mystery to us.
After a bit of research, we determined the following about Enterprise Auto Group:
Strike one - There was no physical address for this business listed on their web site. There is, in fact, no reason any legitimate business would do this. Although the area code for the fax number was in the Las Vegas, Nevada area, modern technology meant the physical location could be anywhere in the world.
Strike two – when calling the toll free number listed on the site, all we got was a voicemail recording where we could've left a message
Strike three – the web site was private – meaning the owner or owners of the site did not want anyone knowing who they were or where they could've been contacted. Instead, they hid behind a company that requires a court order before this information could be released.
How the scam worked
As if this wasn't enough to raise suspicions, from what we could gather this is how their scam worked.
1. Enterprise Auto Group employees "scouted" web sites such as AutoTrader here in the U.S. or Kijiji in Canada looking for seller phone numbers.
2. They contacted the sellers with this pitch: they (Enterprise) either had a list of buyers looking for the year, make and model of the vehicle the individual was selling or they'd initiate "an advertising campaign to help sell your vehicle as soon as possible."
3. For an upfront sellers fee of $399.99 they guaranteed to sell a car in anywhere from 7 to 21 days. For an additional "guarantee" fee of $99.99, they
stated they would refund the original sellers fee of $399 if the vehicle wasn't sold within that time or if the seller wasn't completely satisfied with their service at any time.
In most cases (there was only one instance of a seller being satisfied with this service – which led us to believe it may have been posted by someone that worked for EAG), sellers who anted up the money never sold their cars through this service and never got any of their money back.
Where to report scammers
As of this writing, the Enterprise Auto Group shut down this web site and at least this particular entity is no longer in business. But if you think you've been taken in by a car sales scammer, report it to the FTC. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP.
As we see it
As we stated previously, it's always important to remember that if any kind of deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
On the other hand, it's also important to remember that Auto Credit Express really does help people that have experienced difficulties with their auto credit find those new car dealers that can offer them their best chances for approved car loans.
So if you find yourself in this situation and you're ready to reestablish your car credit, you can begin now by filling out our online car loan application.