The auto industry and their dealers are rife with scams and fraud and the potential buyer needs to be armed with the knowledge of how these scams work and how to avoid them. There are many dealers that run reputable businesses and can get buyers into a vehicle without using fraudulent means, but there are always those individuals or companies that are looking for ways to take consumers for a ride. The state of California, San Diego and Los Angeles in southern California in particular, is home to many of these scam artists. Even smaller states like Oklahoma have their share of fraud cases and attorneys there are as busy as lawyers in the larger California market. If you are fortunate, you won’t be a victim of one of these disreputable dealers, but it is wise to be aware of potential scams before you head to the dealer. Here are some tips on dealing with auto fraud.

People with bad credit are often the victim of fraud at dealerships. They are easy prey, often due to the fact that they believe they cannot get financing. The worst offenses usually occur in the finance office, where the potential buyer often lets their guard down. One way to lessen the chance of being scammed is to show up with no trade and to have your financing done through your bank, with a bank draft in hand.

One of the most common frauds committed by car dealers and one that attorneys see frequently brought to them is the advertising fee scam. Dealers slip into the contract an advertising fee. Often times the advertising fee is on the factory invoice.

Dealers add in a second advertising “fee” which becomes pure profit for them. The way to avoid it is to simply ask that it be taken off the contract. If the dealer tells you that the factory doesn’t charge them an advertising fee, have them show you the invoice. If there is no fee on the invoice, which is unlikely, it is okay for the dealer to charge between 1% and 3% of the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price or MSRP for an advertising fee. If it does not appear on the invoice, then the fee is completely negotiable. If it does appear on the invoice, then that is a case of dealer cost and is not negotiable.

If you feel you are the victim of auto fraud, the best way of dealing with it is to contact a lawyer and learn what your options and rights are. If you have a good case, a lawyer will have no problem presenting your grievance to the court.

Do some homework before you start shopping for a used vehicle. Think about what your needs are, what your driving habits are, and what your budget is. You can learn about vehicle models, options, and prices by reading dealership ads in the newspaper as well as reading the classifieds.

There is also a host of information about used cars on the Internet. Enter the words USED CAR as keywords for searching and you will find information such as how to buy a used car, how to conduct a pre-purchase inspection, ads for cars available for sale, as well as other information.

Your local library and book stores are another source of good information. They have publications that compare car models, options, and costs; as well as offer information about frequency-of-repair records, safety tests, and mileage.

Once you’ve narrowed your car choices, research the frequency of repair and the maintenance costs on those models in auto-related consumer magazines.

When you find a vehicle you are seriously interested in, considering using one of the vehicle history services available online to find out what that vehicle’s history is. Some of the services available include an odometer check to help you make sure the mileage on the vehicle is accurate; checking the registration to find out if the vehicle was a rental, a lease, private party, or fleet vehicle; a title check; as well as finding out if the vehicle is a lemon, was in a major accident, was a salvage vehicle, or was ever reported stolen.

There is typically a fee for these services, but spending a little money to find out the exact history of the vehicle can save you serious money and headaches down the road. In order to use one of these services, you will need the VIN from the vehicle.

Enter the keywords VEHICLE HISTORY in an Internet search engine such as Google or Yahoo.

For financing you have two choices. One is to pay in full at the time of purchase. The other option is to finance over time. If you finance, the total cost of the vehicle increases because you are also paying for the cost of credit which includes interest and other loan costs. If you are going to finance, consider how much money you can put down on the car, your monthly payment, the length of the loan, and the annual percentage rate. Keep in mind that annual percentage rates are typically higher on used vehicles. The loan period is typically shorter on a used vehicle as well.

Dealers and lenders offer a variety of loan terms and payments schedules. Shop around. Compare offers.

Negotiate the best deal you can. Be very careful about advertisements that offer financing to first time buyers and to people with bad credit. They typically require a big down payment and have a high annual percentage interest rate. If you agree to financing that carries a high interest rate, you might be taking a big risk. If you decide to sell the car before the loan is paid in full, the amount you receive from the sale of the vehicle may be far less than the amount you need to pay off the loan. If the car is repossessed or declared a total loss because of an accident, you could be obligated to pay a considerable amount to repay the loan even after the proceeds from the sale of the car or the insurance payment have been deducted.

If you decide to finance, make sure you understand the following aspects of the loan agreement before you sign any documents:

1) the exact price you are paying for the vehicle, not just what the monthly payments are
2) the amount of your finance charges (the exact dollar around the credit will cost you)
3) the annual percentage rate (APR)
4) the number of monthly payments and the amount of each monthly payment
5) the total cost of the vehicle (including tax, title, registration, finance costs, etc.)

Used cars are sold through numerous types of outlets: franchise dealers, independent dealers, rental car companies, leasing companies, used car superstores, private party sales and the Internet. Check with family and friends for recommendations on where to buy a vehicle. It is also a good idea to call your local Better Business Bureau and/or the State Attorney General office to find out if any unresolved complaints are on file about a particular dealer before you decide to do business with them.

There is a lot of hype in ads you will see. Some dealers are attracting customers with no-haggle prices, factory certified used cars and better warranties. Consider the dealer’s reputation when evaluating these ads.

By law, dealers are not required to give used car buyers a three day right to cancel. The right to return a car in a few days for a refund exists only if the dealer grants this privilege to buyers. Before you purchase from a dealer, ask about the return policy. Get the return policy in writing and read it carefully to be sure you understand it.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Used Car Rule requires dealers to post a Buyers Guide in every used car they offer for sale. This includes light-duty vans, light-duty trucks, demonstrators, and program cars.Demonstrator vehicles are new vehicles that have not been owned, leased, or used as rentals, but they have been driven by the dealer staff. Program cars are low-mileage, current-model-year vehicles returned from short-term leases or rentals.

Buyers Guides do not have to be posted on motorcycles and most recreational vehicles.

Anyone who sells less than six cars a year does not have to post a Buyers Guide.

The Buyers Guide must tell you the following:
1) whether the vehicle is being sold “as is” or with a warranty
2) what percentage of the repair costs a dealer will pay under the warranty
3) that spoken promises are difficult to enforce
4) to get all promises in writing
5) to keep the Buyer’s Guide for reference after the sale
6) the major mechanical and electrical systems on the car, including some of the
major problems you should look out for
7) to ask to have the car inspected by an independent mechanic before you buy.

When you buy a used car from a dealer, get the original Buyers Guide that was posted in the vehicle, or a copy. The Guide has to reflect any negotiated changes in the warranty coverage. It also becomes part of your sales contract and overrides any contrary provisions. For example, if
the Buyers Guide says the car comes with a warranty and the contract says the car is sold “as is,” the dealer must give you the warranty described in the Guide.

When the dealer offers a vehicle “as is,” the box next to the “As Is – No Warranty” disclosure on the Buyers Guide must be
checked. If the box is checked but the dealer promises to repair the vehicle or cancel the sale if you’re not satisfied, make sure the promise is written on the Buyers Guide.

Some states, do not allow “as is” sales for many used vehicles and some states require different disclosures than those on the Buyers Guide. Check with you state Attorney General office to find out what the laws are in your state.

Nowadays, life can be pretty hard. Everything is increasing with prices escalating out of site! This makes us all targets of potential scams and frauds.

With all these swindlers and scammers lurking just about anywhere, it is best to always be on guard and to know the things to be avoided in order to prevent the probability of being a victim of frauds and swindles.

Consequently, people who are buying used cars should also be aware of the different fraudulent activities being employed by unscrupulous people in order to have the best buy of used cars.

Moreover, people who are aware that the cars they have bought are stolen, chances are, they will be held liable.

Here are some things to avoid when buying used cars:

1. Used car buyers should avoid any transactions that are “too good to be true.” This will only make the matter worst if the buyer will believe that the deal is the best-used car deal ever.

2. Buyers should avoid buying used cars from sellers that do not provide a permanent address or the actual place of work of the phone number given.

3. It is important for a buyer to check on the VIN or the vehicle identification number plate. It must be securely fastened onto the used car’s dashboard, with no rivets that are loosened. Loosened rivets would mean that the VIN plate does not fit or it has been previously removed.

4. Also, the buyer should also avoid buying used cars that have VIN plates that are touched up, its paint is newly retouched, and the numbers look as if they are not the original “factory numbers.”

VIN plates can be easily swapped by a thief and use those that are taken from a destroyed vehicle.

5. As much as possible, it would be better to avoid buying a used car that is freshly painted. There are instances wherein the stolen car’s identity is being changed through changing its paint color.

6. Used car buyers should avoid buying cars from a seller that cannot present the car’s “insurance policy.” This could mean that the car is stolen or the seller is not the true owner of the car.

It is extremely important for the buyers to take note of these things before buying a used car. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!

Flooded Vehicle – is considered, a vehicle that was damaged by water level raised to seating level. Most flood damaged cars, trucks and SUVs are sent to a salvage yard, but some are cleaned up and put into the auto market where they’ll be bought by unsuspecting buyers who think they’re getting a great deal.

Flooded water leaves long lasting damage. Electrical and mechanical components will probably fail early. Mold and mildew can also create a serious problem. Any remaining warranty is voided. While buying a used car be on the lookout for these cars even if you don’t live in a flooded area, because dishonest people move them around. Here are some tips and points to detect flooded vehicles.

I) Get a Vehicle History Report
Enter the vehicle’s VIN number to get a history report. Carfax does a great job of researching a vehicle’s background, but a clean slate is not a 100% guarantee that the car or truck hasn’t suffered water damage. You can also contact CarSnaps and ask them for advice or request a vehicle background report.

II) Look for Moisture.
Look for moisture within the lights. Check the glove compartment, console and trunk and inspect them for any sign of dampness moisture or the dirt that looks like a leftover from a flood. Look under the hood for accumulated dirt or signs of rust. Check under the seats for signs of moisture.

III) Take a deep Sniff
This can really help in detecting flooded vehicles. Do you smell a sour, mildewy-like odor? Soaked seats, carpeting and other components are difficult to dry in a hurry, so there’s plenty of time for mold and mildew to grow, especially if the flood occurred in a hot and humid location.

IV) Look for Mismatched Interior Components
Does the carpeting look brand new or mismatched or too new for the vehicle? Do seat covers seem out of place with the carpeting? Components that don’t match-up might have been changed in a hurry after the vehicle was pulled from flood waters.

V) Request free advice from CarSnaps
Contact CarSnaps.com and request free advice from their qualified technicians who are there to help and it is free so there is nothing to lose.

VI) Let Your Technician Examine the Vehicle
Take the vehicle to a technician if possible and ask for a thorough examination. Experienced auto technicians see evidence of flood damage more often than most individuals do, so they know exactly what to look for.

VII) Turn it On and Go for a Drive
Turn the car on and check every electrical system possible, including the exterior and interior lights, the gauges, the clock and the audio system and the dash lights that display air bag and seat belt information. Go for a drive and test electrical components again to make sure they work correctly. 90% of the time you will be able to suspect an electrical problem with flooded vehicle unless it is repaired or electrical parts are not damaged which is very rare though.

Flooded vehicles should be avoided as much as possible even if seller tell you about the manufacturer warranty because warranty voids when a car goes through a flood. If you suspect a flooded vehicle walk away from it. Flooded vehicles are not worth the hassle they provide.

When you’re going in for your next car purchase keep your eyes peeled for the following scams.

1. The VIN# Window Etching Scam – Some dealers will charge you $300-$900 for window VIN# etching and tell you that you have to pay the money to get the loan because the bank insists on it. Don’t go for it.

Some dealers might tell you that the etching is free but will add on the etch money to your monthly payments to make up for it. Anytime a dealer says something is free, get it in writing and check your monthly fee. The best way to avoid this scam is to force the dealer to put it in writing if they say that the etching is free or simply etch the car yourself.

You can get an etch-it-yourself kit from http://www.CarEtch.com for $30 or just don’t buy the car. Remember a lender doesn’t require that you purchase any extras on a car. All the lender cares about is that you can make your regular payments on time.

2. The Financing Scam – You trade in your old car in and the finance manager signs you up at the agreed interest rate and gives you the car. After a week or two passes and he/she calls saying that you didn’t qualify for the interest rates that they gave you when the deal was made.

Every new purchase has a clause in the contract that usually states that the deal is “subject to loan approval.” This gives the finance manager an opening to get more money out of you. All that this clause means in the contract is that the deal is not finished yet even if you already have possession of the car and have signed the contract. The dealer can then charge you $1000 more in finance fees and up your monthly payments by $50. This scam is generally pulled on people with bad credit because it is more believable.

You can avoid this scam by not financing the car with the dealer if you know that you have bad credit. You are better off going to a credit union and financing the car yourself. When you buy a new car the deal should be made on the price of the car, not on the monthly payments.

3. The Credit Score Scam – This is desperation in action. This is when the finance manager tells you that your credit score is lower than it really is so that they can get you for higher interest rates. This scam is pulled on everyone; good or bad credit. This scam is easy to avoid. Just get your own copy of your credit report from Equifax.com, and bring it with you.

It’s pretty hard to lie to you about your credit score if you have your own copy of it. If your paper and theirs doesn’t say the same thing, you might want to shop elsewhere because that dealership is sleazy. Don’t hesitate to let them know it too because it’ll be nice to watch them try to back out of that one.

4. The Forced Warranty Scam – This is when the finance manager tells you that you are not eligible for the loan by the bank unless you pay an extra $2000 for a 2-3 year extended warranty. It’s hard to believe they even try this. Why would the bank trust you to pay a $22,000 loan for the car, but they will not trust you to pay for a $20,000 loan?? That’s just insane.

You can avoid this scam by forcing them to put it in writing that you “have” to pay the extended warranty in order to get the loan. Just let them know you’d like to check with the contract your local State’s Attorney’s office for validity and they’ll drop the extended warranty in a heartbeat.

5. The Dealer Preparation Scam – Unfortunately, this is legal and very much common practice. I still refer to it as a scam because it is just another way to get more money from you for nothing. The dealer will tell you that you have to pay an extra $500 to cover the labor costs of the dealership’s 5-point inspection.

This alleged check up that you are paying so much money for, is for the dealership to remove plastic from the seats, vacuum the car, maybe, and make sure all of the fuses and fluids are ready to go. When factories deliver the new cars to the dealerships the cost of delivery and preparation is already covered, so basically you are paying the dealership for work that they haven’t really done.

You can avoid this scam by simply asking the dealership to add an extra $500 credit to the deal to make sure you do not have to pay the money. If they refuse, the choice is yours. If you think it’s fine buy the car, if not; try another dealer that will remove the dealer preparation costs.

If you can avoid these 5 car dealership scams when buying your next new car, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

Auto and car theft is a crime. In truth, the term “motor vehicle theft” could actually be used to refer to instances where automobiles, buses, motorcycles, snowmobiles, trucks, and other similar means of transportation are stolen. You see, this crime is actually punishable as a felony. This is primarily because this kind of situation causes extreme emotional and economic distress to its victim and to the society as well.

Many automobiles and cars are being stolen every minute. And it could be reflected in the various terms and phrases that has arisen and created to refer to it. Carjacking is one term and it means stealing a vehicle while it is still occupied by the owner or the driver. Another one is joyriding and it refers to stealing a motor vehicle and then later on abandoning it.

Of course, there have been ways and actions that the authorities have come up with to assist consumers and customers with ways to ward off any attempts at stealing their vehicles. In the United States, it is required that motor vehicles have vehicle identification numbers (VIN) and they must be registered with a vehicle licensing authority. If a vehicle has a VIN, it makes reselling a stolen vehicle very hard.

As per statistics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) claims that a motor vehicle is actually stolen every 25 seconds in the United States and the chances of recovering them dwindle to something much lower than 50 percent.

According to Larry Gamache of Carfax, “Car thieves go into car lots to find vehicles that match the cars they steal. They’ll take off the VIN plate and put it on one they just stole. Then they’ll sell it to someone who has no idea it’s a stolen vehicle.”

With that, it is important to note the VIN of your vehicle before you purchase a car. Try checking the VIN number on the dashboard and compare it with the car’s title documents. You can check it out for discrepancies. And if you find any, it means that something sure is wrong. Gamache also adds, “You should also match that number in other places, including under the hood and at the door jamb on the driver’s side.

Then check that vehicle ID number to make sure it matches in all three spots.”

Stealing cars could be rampant however it does not mean that you have to keep your vehicle looking bad and not maintained. You can find quality and impressive Ford Excursion parts and other Ford parts at Ford Parts and Ford Auto Parts. Its collection of Ford parts will surely give your vehicle a boost in performance for all parts have undergone strict quality control measures.