The first mistake many car buyers make is going to a dealership without doing their homework. Choosing a reputable dealership is as important as choosing a quality vehicle, especially when it comes to used car sales. Take the time to check with the Better Business Bureau to see which dealerships in your area have any unresolved complaints. It is also a good idea to stop by your base legal assistance or JAG office to see if there are any dealers in your area that have a history of customer satisfaction problems.
Although many independent dealerships have fine reputations for customer service and treatment, it is important to know that they are not held to the same manufacturer customer satisfaction and used car quality standards as franchised dealerships. But, it is fair to expect that all car dealers will provide a large selection of quality vehicles in your price range and have a factory-trained or Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technician on staff.
Car lots with signs reading "No Credit, No Problem" or that advertise cars based on monthly payments should be avoided. These are red flags that tell you the cars are likely in poor condition and have either high mileage or undisclosed mechanical issues that will come back to haunt you. This type of dealership makes their money preying on lower income customers who can’t afford higher quality cars or have credit issues that make it impossible for them to finance cars any other way. In addition these “great deals” often come with high blue book prices, hidden charges and outrageous interest rates.
The trick is to be as careful when choosing the dealership as you are when choosing the make and model of car. A little homework and due diligence can save you thousands of dollars.