When signing a contract to purchase a new vehicle, buyers must always read the fine print, according to a warning issued Friday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
“In the Automobile Sale Scam, dealers include hidden terms and unnecessary add-ons to squeeze more money out of buyers,” a news release noted. “They know that at the end of a long day shopping, most people rarely read the fine print.”
Dealers may include extra, hidden costs in the sales contract without the buyer’s knowledge, according to the warning issued Friday. They may also attempt to sell the buyer an extended warranty on the vehicle, despite the fact that the majority of what it covers is already protected by the existing warranty or the buyer’s insurance.
In terms of financing, dealers sometimes try to convince customers to use the dealership’s loan agency. These loans may have a higher interest rate for a longer term. Although this appears to be a good deal because of low monthly payments, buyers end up paying more.
In response, LADA media staff offered the following tips:
- Read the contract carefully, and don’t let the dealer rush you.
- Get pre-approved for financing through your own bank or credit union.
- Check the terms and conditions of the extended warranty and compare them to the existing warranty and your insurance coverage.
Report fraud to the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222 or https://dcba.lacounty.gov.
Deputy District Attorney Jessie McGrath explains how the scam works in this video: https://da.lacounty.gov/community/fraud-alerts/tax-season-phishing-scam-seeks-to-hook-data.
The above information was shared with The Signal via a news release from the L.A. County D.A.’s Office.