Monday, July 8, 2013

Buying A Used Car - STEP 1

STEP 1 - Research Your Car Dealer

Are you in the market for a used car?  If so, it is extremely important to research your local car dealers before settling on where to make your purchase.  Choosing a dishonest dealer can result in a significantly increased purchase price, or the purchase of a vehicle with undisclosed damage.  Since a motor vehicle purchase is such a major purchase, an inflated purchase price or a wrecked car can really hit you in the pocket book if you did not see it coming.  Where do you start? 
Your first step should be to consult online reviews of local car dealerships before purchasing a car.  One way to do this is to Google the dealership and see if there are any Google+ reviews.  But, where you see negative reviews, be weary of similarly worded positive reviews that crop up around the same time-- there is nothing stopping a car dealership from posting "bogus" positive reviews in response to negative ones.

Another easy way to research a local car dealer is to go online to the Common Pleas Court for the County in which the dealer is located.  Not all, but many, have online dockets and allow you to search for cases by party name.  While there are always two sides to every story, lawsuits against a car dealership can me a serious red flag.  For a link to courts in Ohio, click here.  
You may also want to turn to your friends on Facebook.  Find out if any of them have purchased a vehicle at a particular dealership and what their experience was like.  These Facebook "reviews" can be even more reliable, when you know the person that they are coming from.

Finally, simply type the name of the dealership into Google or Bing and see what else comes up.  However, keep in mind that a large car dealer is more likely to have an online reputation management company "cleaning up" their online reputation than a small car lot.  So, certainly keep that into perspective.

Once you settle on one or two car dealers that you feel comfortable with, you will be ready to select some vehicles.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

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