Always ask questions and remain skeptical when car shopping…
A news story out of the Raleigh, North Carolina area of a woman suing a car dealership for a private party sale at first sounds confusing. However, as you dig through the details what you get is a nice warning of some of the shady practices used car lots might engage in to sell a problem vehicle.
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According to the local report, a woman found a supposed private party Toyota Solara for sale. When she met up with the seller, that man had her follow him to a car dealership but insisted she was buying the vehicle from him, not the dealer. That’s a red flag.
What’s more, the Toyota had a salvage title, something the seller explained away as only minor damage. That’s another red flag. It sounds like the woman allowed herself to be pressured into the sale when she should’ve just walked away. Anytime a deal has red flags like who’s actually selling the vehicle to you, a salvage title, or unexplained damage, it might be best to just find something else.
We could ask everyone to share stories of shady dealership practices they’re experienced firsthand and would have enough material to fill a whole series of articles. There are so many jokes, etc. out there about scummy used car salesmen it’s just become part of popular culture. Yet it seems there are still plenty of members of society who don’t understand they need to stay on guard when interacting with dealers.
To be fair, you still need to stay frosty when buying from a private party. Not only are there curbside dealers and car flippers out there, some private parties are pretty deceptive and know how to cover up big problems in a vehicle.
Your best defense is always to ask plenty of questions and don’t let anyone rush you into buying a car. Dealers will try creating urgency by shoving a sales contract in your face, offering a big discount if you buy right then, or saying someone else is coming to see the vehicle shortly. Buy the car at your pace, not the seller’s.
If you do find out the car you’ve purchased has serious problems which weren’t disclosed before, you can do what this woman did and talk to an attorney. She was successful in her lawsuit and now has the money to fix all the issues with the Toyota. But it’s better to just avoid these problematic vehicles whenever possible by watching for the red flags.
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