It’s tax refund season, and it seems many companies have a few ideas about what you should do with the extra cash you might be getting. If you have been anywhere near a TV or radio in the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen or heard the ads to buy a car with your tax refund. Sure, we’re still technically in winter, but as spring temperatures near, more people are considering buying a vehicle.
In 2017, Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific received 1,521 complaints on new- and used-car dealers regarding guarantee or warranty issues, problems with the product or service, and advertising or sales issues.
Before you hit cruise control on your new or used-car purchase, BBB offers the following tips for car shoppers:
Search for sales ahead of time. Check out dealers’ websites and online advertisements, as there are specific discounts being offered for some holidays and times of year. Don’t be afraid to comparison shop and check prices on the same vehicles at different locations. If an offer sounds too good to be true, think twice.
Do your homework. Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure to do your homework to find out exactly what you’re looking for, how much you can afford and the type of customer incentives being offered. BBB offers consumers the Accredited Business Directory to find reputable dealerships in your area.
Research the manufacturer as well as the dealer. More than 28 million cars were recalled in 2017. Especially if you’re in the market for a used vehicle, it’s important to be familiar with the history of your desired car’s make and model. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers resources for safety problems. Their tool using a car’s VIN number allows you to look up a vehicle’s safety recalls over the past 15 years including recalls that are incomplete.
Stand your ground. If a dealer offered something in an advertisement but that vehicle is no longer available, make sure what they do offer in its place is comparable.
Don’t hesitate to negotiate. Don’t lose your motivation to drive away with a deal just because it’s a busy time to car shop. If you’ve done your research, you’ll be ready to “talk shop.” Stay calm and be confident. The dealer still wants to move inventory, and they need you to make the sale.