Tips to avoid becoming a victim of dealer fraud

Selling vehicles is a difficult job, especially now that consumers can use the internet to research what they want and even make purchases online. While many reputable car salespeople in California find creative and practical ways to entice people to make a purchase, others use more underhanded tactics. Consumers on the hunt for a new or used vehicle would benefit from knowing some common examples of dealer fraud and how to avoid getting ripped off at the car lot.

One of the first factors a car shopper looks for is low mileage. A consumer may be willing to pay more for a car with lower mileage than one of the same make and model with a higher odometer reading. Deceptive car dealers have numerous ways to reverse the odometer to read a lower mileage, so consumers would be wise to check the original title and any service records on the vehicle. Carfax reports are not always updated in a timely manner, so it is always a good idea to get the opinion of a trusted independent mechanic.

Some consumers who have had bad experiences with high-pressure and untrustworthy car dealers recommend having a friend along when visiting a car lot. Dealers may be less likely to use their tactics when a customer is not alone. It is also a good idea for a potential customer to hold on to his or her car keys. A dealer may ask for them so a mechanic can look over the customer's vehicle, but it is often a ploy to trap the customer there and push the consumer into making an ill-advised purchase.

While the discomfort one may feel under the pressure of a car dealer may prompt a consumer to buy a car just to get away, this is often the wrong move. A customer has the power to end the sale and walk away if the situation seems wrong. However, when California car buyers are duped by dealer fraud, having an attorney to fight for their rights can make all the difference.

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