Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips and Reviews

Used Car Dealerships Horror Stories

Have you heard the one about…? Yes, there are a lot of businesses out there that deserve to be the butt of many jokes. Used car dealerships rank pretty high. Horror stories about sales, deals, and outright fraud have become legendary.

 

What you see is what you get

This used car dealership horror story can be filed under “Don’t trust the ad.” A car shopper was looking for a nice pre-owned vehicle on Craigslist. Little did he know that some used car dealerships actually list their cars as a private party so they don’t have to offer a dealer warranty. But when he saw an ad for a pre-owned Toyota being described as mint and then compared the photos, he was dumbstruck. He could swear that he saw dents on the front driver’s side tire and back rear bumper. When he actually spoke to the Craigslist advertiser, he learned that he was a used car dealer, not a private seller. The dealer, though, had no problem with the dents and didn’t deny that they were there. He didn’t even have a problem with listing the car as “mint” even though it obviously wasn’t. Feeling misled, this consumer took his wallet elsewhere.

 

The hail damaged truck

Here’s a story for anyone who drives away from a dealership without checking the vehicle inside and out. A customer purchased a Ford F-150 demo vehicle from a dealership after negotiating with management for four hours. It’s too bad that he didn’t spend that time analyzing the truck. After knocking down a deal that made him happy, he drove away without having the dealer wash or detail the truck. The salesman claimed that there was no time to do it. Now that’s a whopper of a lie! The next day, the new owner began washing the truck only to find extensive hail damage. We all know where this tale of woe is going. The dealership’s management pretended they knew nothing about the damage and then began to ignore his calls. The solution? Never leave without checking out everything—and we mean everything—on your new vehicle purchase.

 

“New” wrecked car

Have you heard about the dealership that sold a wrecked car as new? Yes, that happened to a couple that purchased a beautiful new Honda Accord from their local dealership. Or so they thought. When the car started to make squeaking noises, they grew suspicious. But how could this be? The couple had done their due diligence by receiving a clean CarFax report prior to buying the car. They went even further and had a local body shop inspect the Honda and then to a different Honda dealer to compare vehicle stickers. What they learned was that numerous parts had been replaced, such as the front bumper, front grille, rear bumper, and trunk lid. But rather than having the VIN printed on these parts, there was a different number instead. That was a red flag. Finally, with all of their proof, they confronted the original Honda dealership. Their suspicion was confirmed. An ex-general manager at the dealership had taken the car for a spin and wrecked the front and back. Whether it’s true or not, the sales force thought that the car was not going to be put back on the lot for sale. Well, it was.

 

A real lemon of a vehicle

Sometimes you just can’t win….until the end. A Dallas car shopper purchased a pre-owned Chevy Blazer with nearly 30,000 miles from a used car dealership. Even the Carfax report gave it a perfect rating. But that’s when the problems began. She couldn’t drive the truck home because it overheated and the water pump wouldn’t work. When she told the dealership’s general manager that she wanted her money back as stated in the three-day, no questions asked money-back policy, he denied her request. Instead, he promised to fix everything on the car and even threw in a free rental car. After trying to repair the driver’s door, running lights, overheated engine, radiator, hoses, and heater, the buyer had had enough; she filed a claim with the state and the used car dealership is providing her with an entire refund, including taxes and fees. She’s still trying to learn how the dealer switched the VIN so that even the Carfax report did not correctly list all of the problems with the car.

 

Love at last sight

Sometimes you shouldn’t let your heart steer your wallet. That’s the outcome for a middle-aged guy who fell in love with a 1999 VW Passat Turbo at a so-called reputable used car dealership. He thought he had made a good deal when he paid 60% of the car’s book value. It was later that he discovered how ill-treated the car had been kept at the dealership. It had only three good tires; the fourth had been slashed and stored in the trunk. To get a good sale photo, the dealership had actually switched the wheels around to make it appear that there were four good matched tires. At that point, the dealership did even more damage to the car due to its inept service staff. It was at that point that they saw a sucker enter the door, fall in love with the vehicle, and quickly got him to take possession of this pre-owned vehicle.

 

Do you even work here?

This used car dealership horror story sounds the least likely to be believed, but it’s true. A young guy went to a local dealership to buy a pre-owned white Pontiac Grand Am turbo. One of the sales reps asked for $700 in cash to show the finance manager that he was serious. After waiting a few minutes that turned into 30, he begins to search for the sales rep. Who would think that someone could be that audacious? The so-called sales rep was really a thief pretending to work at the dealership. He stole one of their trucks and took the kid’s money. Nice way to end the story: the dealership did give the kid his money back.