It’s safe to say that many of us are not car buying pros. For some people, a trip to the dealership can feel like an intimidating venture, but it doesn’t need to. That’s because you can arm yourself with the knowledge of some sticky situations others have encountered in the past.

Don’t Drive Off

For car buyers with bad credit, special finance dealers can be your biggest ally. They partner with subprime lenders who are able to work with people in challenging credit situations. Occasionally, however, consumers may come across dealers who don’t have their best interest at heart. This can leave them frustrated and confused, especially when dealers aren’t completely transparent about the car buying process.

Sometimes, these dealers can do things that aren't strictly above board, and consumers need to know what to watch for. One example of this is “yo-yo” financing. This happens when a customer signs the paperwork and drives off the lot with a vehicle, only to have the dealer call later to say the financing fell through. The dealer will then ask for more money down, so the deal can get approved with another lender.

Unfortunately, in states that allow spot delivery, this is perfectly legal, and all too common. In states that don’t allow spot delivery, dealers who practice these tactics need to be avoided. Borrowers should never take delivery of a vehicle until the financing has been approved. If the contract says “subject to approval,” it’s always best to wait.

Watch the Wording

signing a car sales contractThe key to avoiding a number of tricky situations is to read the fine print. This will help ensure that consumers know exactly what they're getting into when purchasing a car. Often, things are folded into, or left out of, a contract that could result in buyer’s remorse down the road.

One thing to be noted here is that something you discussed with the dealer is only valid if it’s in writing and added to your purchase agreement. Otherwise, statements made by salespeople aren't enforceable.

If you think a dealer has somehow defrauded you, you may only have a short amount of time to take action. A little known part of the Uniform Commercial Code (the body of laws that govern commercial transactions in the US) allows dealers to shorten the statute of limitations on claims against them. In most states, the time to file typically runs out after four years. Under this clause, however, a consumer only has one year to file a claim.

Of course, that's assuming there was no arbitration clause in your contract. In many cases, dealers will include binding arbitration clauses into a purchase agreement that state that a consumer has no right to sue, even if it’s justified.

Get What You Paid For

Another thing to watch for is unknown add-ons. Any dealer worth their salt won’t try to slip things past you, but watch out for those who may. These additional items you could end up paying for typically show up below the selling price of the car, but above the bottom line in a purchase agreement. So, be thorough when reading and going over the details before you sign and ask the dealer to remove any items that are unwanted or haven’t been discussed.

When buying a used car, consumers need to check purchase agreements for an “As Is” sale. Most states allow as is sales, and this is often how most used cars are sold. It’s important to pay close attention to the buyer’s guide to see what items are and are not covered, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. In these cases, as soon as the vehicle is driven off the lot, it’s your issue – even if it breaks down on the same block.

Making Quality Choices

Remember, these are worst-case scenarios. Most dealers know that fair, honest service leads to customer loyalty. If you’re shopping for your next vehicle, Auto Credit Express can point you toward a dealer in your area.

We work with an extensive network of special finance dealers across the country that have the lending resources available to help people with bad credit, no credit, or even bankruptcy. Let us be your guide, just fill out our obligation-free auto loan request form to get started today!