As the year winds down, we’re all excited for the holidays and new beginnings coming with the new year. Anytime you turn on the TV or drive down the road, however, you’ll see car dealerships have the same thing in mind with all these buzzword sales going on.
Buying a car is stressful enough without all the bells and whistles that come with holiday sales. For every “sales-a-thon” and “truck month,” there are car lots trying to take advantage of people who aren’t aware of the real terms they’re agreeing to.
HB Law Partners urges caution whenever you are buying a car. These deals, as exciting as they may seem, can sometimes lead to a road best not taken, filled with deceptive practices and fraud.
Vehicle “Cash Back” Schemes
A common snare laid out during this season is the offer of cash back on your new vehicle purchase. You are handing over cash as a down payment and getting the keys, but the dealer is also handing you straight cash as a bonus to completing the purchase.
Imagine the scenario: a salesperson presents a deal where buying that new ride comes with the bonus of being able to pay off the credit card that just racked up charges for Christmas gifts. They offer you $1,000 cash back which is a tempting offer, but where is that $1,000 actually coming from?
Most of the time, the cash back is just additional financing on the vehicle. You’re essentially refinancing the negative equity in the vehicle upfront. A $15,000 vehicle is actually financed at $16,000, and that $1,000 ends up being a negative for you in the long run when you factor in the interest paid.
It’s important to read what you’re actually agreeing to. There are laws that require certain disclosures before an agreement is signed, but car dealerships are experts in weaving schemes that disclose just enough without letting you in on the secret.
“Everything Must Go” Schemes
Another common scheme this time of year is the “Everything Must Go” call to action. The dealer claims they don’t have enough room on the lot to bring in the 2024 models, so they want to get any 2023 and older vehicles shipped out.
Makes sense, right? Until you realize they’ve been selling 2024 models for months – cars are always sold a year in advance of the model year.
With an inventory shortage for most of 2023, we know these claims aren’t genuine this time of year. The supposed clear-out sale is often a mere illusion and a ploy to drive sales without offering genuine value in return. It’s a crafted narrative to urge you to invest in a vehicle that may not be the bargain they want you to believe.
Spotting and Avoiding Vehicle Fraud
So, what can you do about all this? Thankfully, Oklahoma has laws, rules, and regulations that govern how these transactions take place. Financial disclosures are a key element of any car sale in the Sooner State. One of your best bets is to ask for any financial disclosures well in advance of any purchase agreement. This affords you the time to comb through the details without the weight of a pressing sales pitch. And remember, not all that is signed is set in stone; certain terms may not be legally enforceable.
If you think you’ve been the target or victim of vehicle fraud in Norman or the surrounding areas, HB Law Partners is dedicated to doing right by you. Contact our team and we’ll fight back against bad businesses doing bad business.
HB Law Partners
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