How to watch out for illegal practices when buying a car

Buying a car is an exciting event: a culmination of finding the right vehicle at the right price. Although it may take some time, shopping and signing for the car should be a positive experience.

Unfortunately, some dealerships care more about making a buck than about following consumer protection laws. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich offers advice to consumers on how to avoid falling for shady practices when buying a vehicle.

Be suspicious of advertising

Deceptive advertising is one of the most common violations of consumer rights. Always read the fine print on ads and know exactly what the deal is and who qualifies for it. Dealerships rely on grand claims to get people in, so the likelihood of getting a great rebate or a prize is very slim.

Prepare before you go

Before you start looking, do your research on local auto companies to find out their reputation. Check out their reviews and BBB rating. Also, do research on the car you are interested in to know the price range and if it fits your budget. See if you can pre-qualify for a loan with your bank or credit union, as it may be a better than financing through the dealer.

Know your rights

Sales associates are there to make sales, not be your friend. You do not owe them anything regardless of how nice they are or what free things they offer. You have the right to walk away from the deal at any time. You have the right to shop around before buying anything, including extended warranties and accessories. You have the right to read through and understand all documents before signing. Avoid the following red flags:

  • Signing blank documents
  • Handing over your car keys if you want to trade in your old car
  • Not getting prices and promises in writing
  • Receiving threats that you have to take the car to the dealer for the warranty to last (this is false)

When it comes to buying a car, proceed with caution and take your time. Brush off any pressure you feel to buy before you are ready.

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  • State Bar of Arizona
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