Bad Car Dealers

Dear Lauren,

            In three weeks I turn sixteen! I’ve had my permit for a while now, and when I finally make it to sixteen and six months I’ll be able to get my own license and drive around by myself. I’m so excited that I no longer have to get dropped off and picked up by my parents, and I’m mostly excited that I won’t have to take the bus to school anymore!

            Two years ago I made a deal with my parents that if I saved up enough money, they would split the price of a used car with me. I’ve spent those last two years working two jobs, tutoring for extra cash, and babysitting. I’ve finally saved a couple thousand dollars, and I think I know exactly which type of car I am looking for. I found this posting online for a used car at a dealership that is several states over. The price is perfect, the car looks to be in good shape, and the man I spoke to on the phone seemed like he knew what he was talking about. I’ve heard way too many stories from my friends about shady car dealerships, getting ripped off, and losing hard earned money. I’ve read up on buying a used car online, and what I read the most was that research is the most important part of buying a used car.

Car salesman tricks

car salesman tricks

            Unfortunately, there is nothing online about this website. There are no reviews, no photos, and no evaluations done on the business. I’m really scared that the salesman is going to rip me off, but I really want this car. I’ve heard that car salesmen are very good at tricking you into paying more and getting less. My father and I are going to see the car on Sunday, and I was wondering if you had any tips for someone in my situation.



Tips for buying a car from a dealership

car from dealership

Dear “NEW DRVR,”

            Anytime you go about buying a car, there are risks involved. Buying a new car is obviously ideal, but many people do not have that luxury and have to look into buying a used car for their transportation needs. Used cars are cheaper, but also have the possibility of breaking down faster. I personally think that all new drivers should purchase used cars, because those who are new to the road often get scratches and dents on their car.

            In my opinion, I believe that it would be extremely dangerous to risk spending all of your hard earned money, as well as your parents, on a car from a dealership that has no online presence. Any reputable dealership will have tons of online reviews, both good and bad. Going to a place to purchase a car that has no reviews can lead to you getting ripped off. If you don’t believe me, listen to what happened to my brother.

How dealers rip you off

dealers rip you off

            When my brother was younger, he saved up over a thousand dollars to buy a new car. My parents told him that they would match whatever he saved and put that towards whatever car he wanted to purchase. In the months leading up to my brother getting his license, he searched just about every car website you can think of to find the perfect car. The first time he thought he found a car, he drove over three hours to meet a man in a public pool parking lot. Joined by my parents, he was shocked to see what the car really looked like.

            The website photo said the car was in poor condition, and that that is why the price was so low. In the photos on the website, the several dents on both the front and back bumper were not showing. The roof of the car was peeling back on the inside, which led to the car being full of dust and insertable foam. Instead of a gear shift, there was a giant plastic skull that was to be used to change the gears. Every seat in the car was covered with cigarette burns, and the smell of smoke seemed to be permanent. There was also no radio, heat, or air conditioning.

            Needless to say, that trip was a complete bust. Six hours of driving wasted and both my parents and my brother were extremely disappointed. This ‘dealer’ was trying to rip off my brother and parents with a car that might not have even made its way back to our house. He used words like, “broken in,” and “passed down,” to make it seem like the car had a more homey presence, when instead it was a piece of trash.

            The next time my brother tried to buy a car, it was even worse. He went on craigslist and found a really nice, freshly painted, relatively new car. When he met up with the man to buy it, he informed us he was selling it for his friend that is in prison. It was all around a sketchy situation. But my brother was determined to get that car, so he gave the man thousands of dollars in cash, and went on his way. The next day my dad took the car to get checked out, and they said the car was so broken and dangerous that it needed to be hauled away immediately. My brother lost his money and had no way of getting it back.

            A year later, my parents decided it was time to try again. This time they went to a real, reputable dealership, with tons of reviews and an actual location. He ended up spending more, but getting an actual car that will last him for years to come. So my advice is to cancel on the guy you are going to see now, and look into more local, well-known dealerships.

Best of Luck,



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