For all those still playing devil’s advocate against shopping at new car dealerships — it’s time to stop. Are there still unscrupulous dealerships out there? Yes, yes there are. But in 2016, it’s exceedingly hard for dealerships and automakers to get away with shady business dealings. Don’t believe me? I think the recently resolved VW scandal is proof. How? Simple – because it demonstrated that there are a lot more rules and regulations that both dealerships and automakers need to follow. Which are, obviously, checked up on. Most of the angry ranting you hear or see online from unsatisfied consumers is because they don’t take the time to go through the car buying process correctly. Therefore, when they get stuck with something they don’t want — which was laid out in the contract — they get angry.
Let’s take a look at how the VW scandal was resolved, and delve deeper into the idea that consumers are just as much to blame for their own misfortune. Ultimately, showing that it’s perfectly fine to shop at a car dealership in 2016, thanks to all the checks and balances in place nowadays.
VW “Dieselgate” Scandal Resolved
Volkswagen finally decided to stop messing around and take steps towards repairing its reputation. The federal judge formally approved a $14.7-billion settlement following the automaker’s emissions-cheating case, effectively becoming the largest settlement for an auto scandal in U.S. history.
More importantly, it finally lets Volkswagen begin to help the 475,000 U.S. owners of VW’s and Audis that are equipped with a 2.0-liter diesel engine. They can now either bring their vehicles back and have them modified or bought back, with cash compensation reaching heights of $10,000 each. Leases that were signed by owners can have them terminated with no charge, and VW must also give close to $5-billion in support of environmental programs that are oriented towards reducing emissions and promoting zero-emissions vehicles.
Consumers are being compensated, with environmental programs simultaneously funded. Justice was served.
Consumer Responsibility at Car Dealerships
While this is great news for those consumers, it’s even better news for the rest of us. Why? Because, for all those who preach that automakers and car dealerships are never held accountable for their actions, this resolved scandal is irrefutable proof that, in fact, they are.
It also means that 2016 is a safer time than ever to buy from a new or used dealership. The rules and regulations set in place are obviously working. But, it’s also important to note that not all the responsibility falls on the car dealership. While you shouldn’t have to double and triple check everything before you make a car purchase, it’s still your responsibility to ensure what you’re buying is what you want.
Don’t just glaze over the contract and sign on the dotted line. If you aren’t aware that some dealerships might try and add a few things here and there to bump up the price of the car, then you’ve been living under a rock. Check for any extra add-ons like rust prevention, protection packages for the upholstery or paint, or door guards. These all need to be legally presented to you, and you are allowed to say no and save some extra money. Furthermore, the dealership is required by law to tell you what makes up the total price of the vehicle. All you need to do is ask.
With the way it’s laid out, you’re almost shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t read the contract carefully or ask questions. While I’m well aware consumers had no way of knowing about the emissions issues in their Volkswagen models, I simply used that as proof to show that automakers and dealerships are being held accountable for their actions.