Some shady auto dealers are known to fake financial docs to get customers approved for loans they can’t afford. They refer to senior citizens as “people with oxygen tanks” and even straight up steal money from their ATM account. So, good thing that they can afford good lobbyists, because in the final hours they succeeded in making it so the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau doesn’t apply to them. [More]
For those without the temperament or time to engage in the scrum that is negotiating with a used car dealer, Carsala will do it for you. The site boasts a team of professional negotiators who will contact an average of twenty dealers and work to get you the best price possible. No more getting befuddled by the Four-Square or “Oh, I’m sorry, I really want to make this work but my manager in the back will only agree to…” The pros at Carsala charge a commission of 20% of the difference between Blue Book value and the final price. And, unlike some other car shopping sites, they don’t take kickbacks. Handy! Or you can just use their free tools to check out how a price you’re quoted compares to others in the area, and whether the car you want really fits your budget. [More]
The sorry state of the economy the past couple of years has actually led to higher prices for used cars, writes Kiplinger. That’s because more people started buying used cars, which tightened the supply while also reducing the number of fresh trade-ins. It may be a couple of years before prices drop again, but Kiplinger has some suggestions for saving money if you plan on buying a used car this year. [More]
Some car dealerships and lenders have equipped cars with devices that disable the ignition or make the horn honk nonstop when payments are late. We wrote about this last year, but didn’t realize that the interface has fantastic potential for pranks. And that’s how a laid-off car dealership employee was allegedly able to disable the ignitions of more than 100 cars purchased from the dealership. Or set off their horns in the middle of the night. [More]
Former used car salesman Alan Slone grew a little Jimminy Cricket in his ear and decided to spill his guts on a classic dealership technique used to addle your mind and empty your wallet. It’s called “The Four Square” and the object of the game is to make you lose. Here’s how it works, and how to beat it. [More]
There is a rare breed of individual who enjoys shopping for a new car. Likening it to one of our last remaining instances of socially acceptable bare-knuckle-boxing, Rob Gruhl is one such person. He shares his tips for not getting screwed at the dealership in this fun and lively and short presentation. [More]
The Washington Post notes that although Saturn dealerships have until this time next year to close, many will be saying goodbye sooner due to low inventory, and that’s partly why now is a good time to buy a Saturn. That is, if you don’t plan on reselling it in a couple of years.
When Patrick Dunn’s auto dealership in New Jersey went out of business a few months ago, something weird happened to “40 or 50″ customers who had bought cars from him, writes Bob Braun at NJ.com. The company Dunn had taken out business loans with, Automotive Finance Corporation (AFC), went to Arkansas and asked for reposession of the cars in New Jersey. The Arkansas department of motor vehicles assumed AFC meant for unsold cars on the lot, so they granted the request—and now AFC says it owns titles to cars that people are already driving and paying for.
Edmunds.com, the car info website, is asking people who participated in the short-lived Cash for Clunkers program to contact them if something went wrong. Although they can’t fix any problems, they’re trying to collect data on consumers who are being asked to pay back the government rebate after already being approved, which was forbidden under the rules of the program, so they can present the data to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The logo at Mark Muller’s dealership is… an old west caricature pointing two pistols at those who pass by. He said it’s a nod to what he calls “big city” ways. “We really are different than the big city dealers.”
Know your financial obligations: Though you let your car get voluntarily repossessed, you’re still responsible for the unpaid balance on the loan, plus any storage and transportation fees, plus interest charges. [Bankrate]
Before you drop off your car at your local dealership for any sort of repairs, make sure you’re clear on the chain of liability should anything happen to it—especially right now, when dealerships can barely afford those flappy air things, much less tires. A woman in Charlotte, NC was left with around $1,000 in damages when the tires and wheels were stolen from the 2005 Audi she’d left with the dealership over the weekend.
To add insult to injury, Chrysler and GM will NOT be buying back vehicle inventory from dealerships that recently received closing notices. Maybe we have two new candidates for Worst Company in America next year! On the other hand, maybe this is good news for consumers. Large inventories + need for quick cash = SALE!
The automotive bloodbath continues today as GM plans to eliminate up to 1,200 dealerships. The dealers could start getting notification as soon as Friday.
Mark Calisi, 47, who owns Eagle Auto-Mall in Riverhead, New York, says he was “devastated” to learn that his dealership would be closed. He said Chrysler accounts for a third of his business, which also sells Volvo, Mazda and Kia, and that on Thursday he had to sack 30 of his 100 employees.
The Today show recently aired a terrifically entertaining exposé of US Fidelis, one of the biggest companies behind the auto warranty racket that you’ve probably encountered via junk mail, telemarketing, or even on TV. They start by looking at an individual who spent $3,180 on one of their auto warranties only to be left stranded when her car overheated and they refused to pay.
Here’s a weird symptom of the disease that’s killing the auto industry — empty car dealerships, some of which are still open for business.