What Types Of Auto Scams Do I Need To Be Aware Of?

I would imagine that most auto dealers are completely honest.

However, there are a significant number who give the industry a bad name through the use of a variety of scams. Therefore, you should keep your wits about you, even if you believe that a dealer that you are in negotiation with has a spotless reputation.


After property, a new car is likely to be one of the biggest purchases you are ever likely to make.

It is, perhaps, unsurprising then to realise that car dealers have spent many years coming up with new strategies designed to get more than a fair price for the autos they sell.

Here are a few of the more common auto scams that you may be faced with when looking for that new car –


Also known as YOYO selling, this scam is probably the one most used by less than honest dealers.

What happens is that the dealer will appear to quite happily agree to all of your terms and will allow you to drive away in the vehicle you have purchased.

A little while later, however, they will call to say that there has been a problem and that the terms haven’t really been approved.

Upon you return to the dealership they will then re-write the whole deal, and it will end up being a far less favourable proposition than when you originally made your purchase.

The end cost will be much higher, and the dealer may also couple this scam with the ‘risky credit rating scam’, detailed below.

The best way to avoid this scam is to ensure that all aspects of the deal have been finalised before you drive away.

Make sure that any financing is in place and confirmed and that all paperwork has been duly completed.


In this scam the dealer will imply that your credit rating is less than perfect and poses a risk.

Of course he offers to take a chance – by offering credit at a higher interest rate.

Naturally, the dealer will profit from this higher rate of interest.

The best means of defending yourself from this type of scam is to either shop around and compare the credit deals on offer, or to be prepared by checking your own credit rating in advance.


Many people shopping for a new vehicle will use their existing one to offset part of the cost by trading it in.

Dealers are prepared for this and so will use a variety of methods to undervalue the trade-in.

This includes simply undervaluing the vehicle in the first place or suggesting that there will be a lot of expense necessary in order for them to re-sell it.

The best solution to avoid getting ripped off in this instance is to have a good idea of your car’s trade-in value before you present it to a dealer.


There are many auto scams to be aware of though, luckily, they are perpetrated by a small number of dubious dealers.

If you apply common sense then you should be safe in your search for a new, cheap auto.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. Another scam that’s prevalent around here is the “mandatory service fee” on used cars. You bargain for the car and start doing the paperwork, then this fee is tacked on – $250 to $600. Supposedly for transport, cleanup etc. They claim that the government makes them tack it on to every car buyer if they’ve ever charged even one buyer those fees. Bull frokkie.

    • Nice addition to the list Mike, I’d forgotten about that one.

      Being a Brit, can I assume that ‘Bull frokkie’ means something rather unpleasant?

  2. True – you do work non-standard hours. I wouldn’t be thrilled about taking public transportation home at that time of day.

    If it only takes 10 mins to drive to work, it sounds like it is close enough to walk or ride a bicycle. Again, there is the same problem with getting home in the middle of the night.

    I also live really close to work so half the time I just walk.

    • It’s around 8 miles so walking is out of the question. I don’t really fancy cycling either as there have been several fatal incidents on my route involving cyclists over the last few years.

  3. If you live anywhere at all with adequate public transportation, this type of scam can be avoided by not purchasing a car.

    I have never owned a car and hope that I never do. Philadelphia also has a great car share program.


    • Hmmmm… where I live public transport is sporadic, dirty, expensive and completely unreliable.

      To get to work by car takes 10 minutes. If I have to take the bus then it takes between an hour and an hour and a half.

      At the time I finish I would have to run to stand any chance of getting the last regular bus home. If I miss that then it’s the night bus which takes approxiamately three and a half hours to get somewhere close to where I live 🙁


  1. […] You Know How To Avoid An Auto Credit Rating Scam?Auto ScamsWhat Everybody Needs To Know About Auto Repair ScamsWhy Is Adobe’s Auto Updater Causing Fear […]

Speak Your Mind