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Buying a new or used car can be a daunting task, especially since there are still some unscrupulous dealers and sellers out there. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of people that will scam buyers for the sake of getting just a little more money from the deal or a lot more money altogether. So that you don’t get swindled on your next car purchase, here are seven signs that you’re about to get a really bad car deal.

1. The salesperson is rushing the process

A car salesperson and a customer on a Ford dealer car lot.
A car salesperson and a customer on a Ford dealer car lot. | Getty Images

It’s no secret that some pushy salespeople like to throw high-pressure sales tactics at you in order to get you to buy a car. They’ll tell you that the car will be “gone by today” or that the sale is only good until the end of the month. According to Reader’s Digest, these are just ploys to get you to buy as soon as possible. So if you need time to make up your mind and not fall into a terrible car deal on a whim, just walk away.

2. A Carfax report is not included

When shopping for a car, it’s recommended to always check out the Carfax vehicle history report beforehand. While these reports aren’t perfect, they can at least clue you into the vehicle’s history by showing you any repairs or maintenance that’s been done to the car. If a salesperson won’t show you the Carfax, then something fishy could be going on and it’s probably better to skip that particular car altogether.

3. The car has rust that’s painted over

 A vehicle with a rust hole in the wheel well is parked in the market square.
A vehicle with a rust hole in the wheel well is parked in the market square. | (Daniel Schäfer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

When you’re checking out a used car, be sure to do a thorough inspection of it. If you live in a state where is snows, then rusty fenders or body panels are common, so be sure to check around and underneath the car for any signs. If you do see any, then it could be a sign of neglect which can cause you issues in the future.

4. The salesperson keeps pushing extended warranties

When purchasing a car, it’s not uncommon for the salesperson or finance manager to try and sell you an extended warranty for it. Truthfully, they’re just doing their job, but if they ask you more than once and begin pushing, then feel free to refuse or even walk away from the deal. No one should be harassing you to purchase a product that you don’t want or possibly even need.

5. The salesperson keeps negotiating the monthly payment instead of the price

 An employee at a Mercedes-Benz car dealership
An employee at a Mercedes-Benz car dealership. | (Dmitry Rogulin\TASS via Getty Images)

Sitting across from the salesperson to talk about the pricing for the car is never fun. However, when you need to get down to business, you always want to talk about the selling price of the car, not the monthly payment. Autotrader notes that the monthly payment can be deceiving as dealers can hide extra charges or products in it without you even knowing. Instead, negotiate on the actual out-the-door price of the car since that’s the total amount that you’ll be paying.

6. The price of the car is not in line with the current market

Another sign that you could be getting a bad deal is if the sales price of the car that you’re interested in is out of line with the current market. In order to see if it is, then be sure to check out sites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds and take note of what the car should be selling for compared to others in the market.

7. The seller wants you to use a specific escrow company

online car shopping on a laptop
Shopping for a used car online. | (Classen/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

This last tip mainly refers to when you buy a car from a private seller on Craigslist or your local classifieds. Reader’s Digest reports that many sellers will attempt to scam buyers by posting legit-looking ads complete with many pictures of the car to show it’s in good condition and has a clean title. However, the listing will typically only include an email address to contact the seller and not a phone number.

After the buyer inquires, the seller – or scammer – will respond with a fake story about how they’re a pilot, for example, and that they need to sell the car due to relocating, which is why it’s such a good deal. They will then proceed to tell any buyers to wire money to a specific escrow company, which is usually fake, and then keep the money with no car in return.

If you come across a private car seller with a fishy story behind the car they’re selling, or if the deal sounds too good to be true, just walk away altogether.

Don’t fall for a bad car deal

There’s a lot to pay attention to when buying a new or used car in order to ensure that you’re not getting a bad deal. As long as you use your instincts, and following the aforementioned tips, you should be able to navigate your way into a fair, if not good, car deal.   


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