RIP-OFF ALERT: Have you seen those ads for screaming deals on repossessed or government vehicles at car dealerships? Those cars may not be what they seem, according to The Cleveland Plains Dealer.
The newspaper reports there are firms that approach dealers with a marketing plan to drum up traffic that involves spreading the word about the sale of supposed repo or government vehicles. The only problem is the dealers don’t have repo or government cars on their lots. It’s all a big fat lie.
Now 10 states have compelled one particularly egregious marketer to change its advertising tactics when it comes to the business they do with dealerships. Those states include Ohio, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington.
This whole issue goes to a core problem with used car sales. Look at a used car declaration — that white sticker on the window at the dealership — and you’ll see boxes that say “with warranty” or “as is.” The wording that is featured below the checkboxes basically says the seller is allowed to lie to you about the condition of the car, in so many words.
Whenever you’re buying used, I have 2 key rules:
- You need to have that vehicle inspected by an independent mechanic of your choosing as a condition of purchase. Even if it’s a “certified vehicle.”
- Ask the seller for the vehicle identification number. If they’re reluctant to give it to you, that could indicate the vehicle is salvaged, a stolen ride or who knows what.