Like most of normal society, I hate used car salesmen. This genre of human is all about sizing you up and playing "hardball" -- as you dance the used car tango. Fortunately for me, I got to seek vengeance on used car salesmen by being cast on a new Spike TV show called, Car Lot Cowboys. Think of Car Lot Cowboys like Kitchen Nightmares.. But instead of restaurants, it's used car dealerships in need of an ass-kicking. For the show, I got to go undercover into a dealership to help measure these sharks' ability to deal with customers.
You can read about the entire used car adventure in this month's issue of Penthouse.
Trying to find a excellent used car is harder than searching for a budget furnished apartment in San Francisco. Want to be avoid being taken for a ride at the used car lot? Here are 5 used car scams to look out for:
-- The "As Is" Wrecked Car Scam
One of the oldest scams in the book: The dealer patches up a totaled vehicle and sells it "as is." When the car goes down the crapper he hides behind the "as is" clause.
Avoid the Scam: Never buy a used car from a dealer "as is" without a 30-day warranty.
-- The Lowered Loan Payment Scam
The dealer calls you up and says he's lowered the monthly payment on your loan -- all you have to do is resign. Sounds great, doesn't it? What he really did was INCREASE the APR and hide the fact by spreading out your loan from, say, 48 months to 72 months.
Avoid the Scam: Be sure to have them send over the terms for you to review.
-- Bogus Warranties
The dealer tries to slip in extended-warranty coverage while you're going over the paperwork. Or you're told that the bank requires the extended warranty in order as part of the loan.
Avoid the Scam: Be leery of "required" warranty coverage. If the dealer insists, ask him to put it in writing -- that should make him back off.
-- Bait and Switch
The deal on their website seems too good to be true. You get to the lot and they say the car has already been sold -- but they have a similar vehicle at a higher price. Bait and switch!
Avoid the Scam: Be cautious of any ad where there's only one specific vehicle listed at an amazing given price. Call the dealership ahead of time and verify the price and availability of the vehicle -- this will at least minimize your chances of being screwed.
-The Trade-In Scam
You trade in your old car that you still owe money on via a loan. The dealer says he'll pay off the loan as part of the trade in. Months later you're shocked to hear the dealer didn't pay off your old car loan as promised. With the car loan still in your name, you're still responsible for the payments.
Avoid the Scam: Pay off your old loan before purchasing another vehicle. Get in writing that the dealer will pay off your car loan within 10 days.
Click to Penthouse Magazine to read the entire Car Lot Cowboy story.
Photos courtesy of Spike TV
Follow Harmon Leon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/harmonleon