Commentary

July 3, 2014

Buy used cars with confidence

Staff Sgt. Rochelle L. Schwarz
U.S. Air Force Warfare Center Office of the Staff Judge Advocate

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — As we bustle into summer and permanent change of station season, please be wary of used car dealership scams. Scams can be difficult to identify and can finically impact an individual for several years. Below are helpful tips to avoid auto dealer fraud:

Research ahead of time. Always research the dealership and the vehicle ahead of time. In the end, researching will save you time and money. There are several resources available to ensure there are no undisclosed defects that may surface after purchasing a vehicle. While some of these services cost more, these up-front costs could save you hundreds of dollars on the back end.

Be skeptical of “as is.” Purchasing a vehicle “as is” means the buyer agrees to purchase the vehicle in its current condition, regardless of any defects. Typically a dealership sells a car “as is” when the dealer bought the car at auction and cannot warranty against any defects. Further, buyers should never purchase a car without reviewing the vehicle’s title first. A vehicle’s title shows legal proof who the rightful owner of the vehicle is, and a dealer will never have a valid reason to withhold title documents from a buyer. It is extremely crucial to complete all sales and financing paperwork before leaving the dealership with the vehicle. Finally, request copies of all documents signed prior to leaving the dealership.

1st Lt. John M. Cane, U.S. Air Warfare Center chief of legal assistance, stated, “If you are unclear about the terms or services offered in the contract, please come see someone in [the Legal] office or speak to a knowledgeable person about this subject.”

Never agree to additional, unwanted services or warranties. Extended warranties can be beneficial, but some warranties are not required when purchasing a used car. Be very cautious of statements by car salesman obligating a buyer to purchase extra services that are normally optional, and never agree to additional services or fees unless you believe they are necessary to enjoy the new vehicle.

High interest rates. It is extremely important to educate yourself about financing when you are shopping for a car. You must understand, the loan is another product the dealership is trying to sell. Don’t be fooled into thinking they are doing you any favors so that you can drive off in a new car. Car loan terms have recently increased to as much as five or even six years because people think a lower monthly payment is a good thing. Watch out for 72 or 84 month loans; you will pay too much interest. You can often get better interest rates from different lending sources before you walk into the dealership.

Beware of guaranteed auto protection insurance. GAP insurance covers the difference between the actual cash value of a vehicle and the balance still owed on the financing. GAP insurance is voluntary and it is illegal for a dealership to force a buyer to purchase.

Personal identifying information. Credit checks are essential to purchasing a vehicle if the buyer chooses to finance through the dealership, but a salesman has no right to run a credit check if the buyer chooses to finance elsewhere. It is very rare that a dealership can offer a buyer a better interest rate than a credit union or bank. Only release sensitive financial information when necessary to complete the purchase. Typically, the average interest rate for a used car is less than eight percent so keep that in mind when shopping for interest rates.

Don’t be afraid to say “no” and walk away. Buyers always have the right to say “no” and walk away. By using this simple tactic, a salesman may drop the price or include incentives to close the deal. Be wary of the classic salesman’s pitch, “today only;” the deal will likely still be there when the buyer returns the next day after thoroughly doing research on the vehicle.

Advance fee loans. Advance fee loan scams prey on consumers who may be under financial duress and may be seeking quick and easy loan approval and funding. The scam typically involves the lender making false promises to arrange for a loan in return for fees paid upfront by the loan applicant. Normally people with bad credit are targeted. The scam starts with “bad credit no problem,” loans available by applying online or calling [a telephone number].” The consumer is told they are qualified, but must send a fee to process the application; pay a security deposit; pay for insurance; etc. Protect yourself and thoroughly investigate loan offers.

Nevada buyer law. Buyer beware: Nevada has a no return policy or grace period on used vehicle sales, so be sure to read the contracts and agreements carefully before signing. Do not sign a contract or document with blank spaces in it.

1st Lt. Cane added, “We have seen an increase in used car scams and unfortunately our office can offer limited assistance as consumers have very few options once they drive off the lot.”

If you have any further questions, contact the Nellis Legal office at (702) 652-5407.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Just American: A century of Black life

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) — Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted Harvard-trained historian Carter Woodson....
 
 

Don’t underestimate importance of sacrifices

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — As I was reviewing some enlisted performance reports and decorations, I started contemplating a huge event in my life that occurred almost 20 years ago. In April 1995, I asked my then girlfriend Tiffani, a fellow Airman at the time, to be my wife, for better or worse. We...
 
 

I wanted to die

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — Two months ago, I wanted to die. Allow me to clarify — I was not suicidal on that dark, August night when I hit rock bottom. I did not want to take a razor to my wrists. I did not want to swallow a bottle of pills. I did not want to...
 

 

What I’ve learned, an Airman’s perspective

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D.  — When I raised my right hand and swore to defend my country, I wanted to travel the world and continue my education. I managed to accomplish the first, spending the first two years of my enlistment at Kadena Air Base, Japan, and Osan Air Base, South Korea, but my ever-changing...
 
 

Air Force Medicine: A vision for future

WASHINGTON  — The United States Air Force’s core missions are air and space superiority, ISR (intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance), rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control. These are almost identical (but in different terms) to the missions the Air Force had in 1947. But we now do these missions in three domains: Air, space...
 
 

I really shouldn’t be here

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. — A couple of feet and a half a second. These may seem like insignificant measurements; but when combined with fatigue, a couple of feet almost cost me my career, and that half a second almost ended my life. There was a time when I was an enlisted aircraft electrical...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin