Most car dealers try to do the right thing, but unfortunately there are some who make use of a wide range of scams and tricks to dupe people into paying too much.
Common scams and tricks car buyers should be aware of include:
- The Bait and Switch — A dishonest dealer will advertise a super discounted new car for sale that does not actually exist. This ‘bait’ attracts potential buyers to visit the dealership, where the salesperson informs them the advertised vehicle is no longer available. The ‘switch’ occurs as the potential buyers are coaxed into looking at more expensive models the dealer has in stock.
- Dealers Offering Low Financing — When some car dealers in Australia advertise incredibly generous finance deals, the purchaser will find themselves buying the vehicle at full retail price. There certainly won’t be any discount on a new car which is purchased using the dealer’s finance. The dealer will naturally offset any loss brought on by his generous finance offer, so it is best to have your financing provided by a reliable third party and aim for a new car discount from the dealer.
- Demo Models — A dealer will advertise what looks like a discounted new car which is in fact a model that has been used for demonstration purposes. While the kilometres on the odometer may still be low, a potential buyer will need to be careful as the warranty may have already began, technically making them the second registered owner. Dealers can claim a demonstration bonus from manufacturers, allowing them to sell these vehicles at low prices.
- The Build Date — When buying a car, it’s wise to check that the build date is the same year as the compliance plate. For example, a car may have a ‘March 2013’ compliance plate, but it could have been made during the latter part of the previous year. This makes it a 2012 model, irrespective of what the salesperson may tell you.
- Odometer Fraud — Unscrupulous dealers can tamper with a car’s indicated kilometres by using inexpensive software and devices made for recalibrating defective odometers.