Used car purchase scam stories. If you're bored

Not spam. I thought it an interesting read, and not the click next to continue aggravation

My bad bought a Ranchero, co worker, found out he had painted masking tap over rust holes. I trusted him because he was a co-worker. Got some money back and wrecked it later.


Those are good stories … lol … unfortunately that sort of stuff is not unexpected. It’s just one of the problem w/ capitalism is all. Capitalism is a good thing imo, alternative is worse, but still have to accept some downsides.

I’ve only purchased a car from a dealership once, Corolla, had no problems at all. Two sales-folks involved, I warned them several times during the process to not try to pull anything, and when the final paperwork came to me, it was exactly as I expected. They told me they were considering adding some rust-proofing and sound-proofing, various other add-ons, but the main salesman, he said he talked the other one out of that idea based on what I had said, figured I walk , which was true … lol …

My only adverse dealership experience, walking my dog one day, dog sniffs on patch of grass in devil-strip in front of dealership. Salesman (presumably) yells to me from 50 yards away “Get you G.D. Dog off our lawn!!!”. I yell back “OK, but I’ll never buy a car here!”. Salesman, even louder than before “Good! We don’t want your business!!” … lol … Being a forthright person, I’ve kept my part of that agreement to the letter.

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The switched Minivan’s sounds a little like what brought down the Huling Bros dealerships in Seattle years ago, customer had over $100,000 stolen by a group of salesmen who decided to take advantage of a mentally ill man. The Huling family did repay the victim for his losses and the money was put in trust, the dealership had just been sold when the story broke and the dealership closed later on.
Part of the story from the Seattle Times
e Automotive Companies of Spokane gave notice to its employees in a letter Wednesday that it had made “an extremely difficult decision” to shut down and lay off about 160 employees unless a new owner could be found by Oct. 7.

Ryan Gee, president of Gee Auto, said the dealerships never recovered from a scandal involving fraud and theft that surfaced two weeks after he bought the dealerships from Steven Huling last January.

On Jan. 19, police arrested three former Huling employees for allegedly scheming to steal $100,000 from an obviously mentally ill man, a plan hatched by a then-sales manager.

Gee said Huling was required to disclose anything that could affect the value of the $5.3 million sale. But Gee said he first learned of the pending arrests on Jan. 18 in a “vague” voicemail left by Huling, and only learned of the full details from news accounts. Gee said he hasn’t talked to Huling since, although he has tried to get answers.

“As you can imagine, I’m extraordinary frustrated by the lack of disclosure,” said Gee in an interview from Spokane. “We know for certain he knew.”

Huling said today that the lack of disclosure was due to a lack of information. “This was never brought to my attention until after the sale,” he said.

Huling said that the Gee family is “putting their spin on this because they have some problems that have nothing to do with this.”

Gee said business at the West Seattle dealerships is down 50 percent from a year ago, at a loss of about $300,000 a month. Gee said he planned to file a lawsuit against Huling next week for breaching their contract, which includes a provision in which Huling vouched that his company had operated in a law-abiding manner. The contract also required Huling to disclose any pending liabilities that could devalue the company.

Gee had planned to keep the Huling name on the dealerships for nine months, but immediately changed the name after the arrests.

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To understand why business had dropped, Gee said his company commissioned a survey of West Seattle residents. About 90 percent of the respondents said they knew of the criminal allegations at Huling, Gee said.

“Even though we made significant efforts to differentiate ourselves from the former Huling name, the impact of this event and stigma associated with it, we weren’t able to recover from,” said Gee. “It was incredibly significant in the consumer’s mind, that such a horrific act would happen. The stigma attached to the business is something that has continued to linger, and has had enormous detrimental impact to us.”

Huling said that Gee came in with a different business model than the one that worked for his dealership for 60 years, adding that floundering business “has been something that is their problem.”

“I think that it’s really important to note that when we sold the dealership, we never sold the Huling name,” he said. “It looks like the commitment was never there on their part.”

Huling’s former sales manager Adrian G. Dillard and two other former salesmen are scheduled for trial in October for charges of theft, fraud and money laundering.

The scandal originated in July 2006, when a 59-year-old customer who had a history of mental illness came into Huling Brothers wearing feces-stained pants and seeking to buy a truck. The man paid $30,000 for a vehicle, and told a salesman he had far more money back at his apartment, according to police reports. The next day, Dillard and five underlyings practically tripped over each other to be the first to steal the remaining cash; Dillard and another salesman, Ted Coxwell, succeeded, according to a Washington State Patrol report.

After being beaten to the cash by co-workers, another salesman, Paul Rimbey, managed to steal the man’s new $30,000 truck by getting him to sign over ownership while the man was in Harborview Medical Center’s psychiatric ward, according to charging papers

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Capitalism is good. Unbridled Capitalism ISN’T. There definitely a need for consumer protection. One of the best consumer protection laws ever passed was the Lemon Law. Personally I think it could be a little tougher, but it put a stop to what manufacturers were doing to consumers. Capitalism was UNABLE or UNWILING to correct these problems


The single most common scam, and the hardest to check is done at financing. You pick out the vehicle, come to agreeable terms on price and interest rate on the loan. You leave thinking you got a fair or even very good deal.

What happens is that when you sign the paperwork for the vehicle at a good price and for a loan at a low interest rate, the paperwork sent to the bank is not what you signed. All those extras you declined like paint protection, extended warranty etc were added to the paperwork. The bank finances a loan somewhat higher than you agreed to. You don’t notice this because the monthly payment is about what you expected.

But you are actually paying maybe $20 a month more than you should. The salesman and finance officer at the dealership split the difference between what you agreed to pay and what the bank actually paid. You would only notice if you have a financial calculator or a financial program on your computer. You can’t do this in your head.

Interesting. I can see how it might hard to spot. But wondering, is there any way a car purchaser can prevent this from occurring in the first place?

Used car purchase in 2020, dealer 5.6%, credit union 2.6% We cant match that they said, so I will bring you a check, no add ons or hassles,

Yeah, maybe best way is to obtain your own loan, bank gives you a cashier’s check in exact amount original paperwork specs, and you take check to dealership.


Back in 2006, I bought a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander that had been a “program car”. I went to my credit union, withdrew the funds from my savings account and had a cashier’s check made out to the dealership. A couple days later, I was told that I had to supply my social security number. I questioned it, but apparently when a transaction involving cash or a cashier’s check is involved, the purchaser needs to supply bis or her social security number.
However, four years later, I bought a new Toyota Sienna with a price twice that of the Uplander. The dealer said a personal check was fine, so I wrote a check on the spot. Seven years later, I bought a 2017 Sienna from the same Toyota dealership and paid with a personal check. In neither purchase of the Siennas did I have to give my social security number.
I have never been scammed by a dealership. I was driving an 8 year old 1965 Rambler and found a 1971 Ford Maverick Grabber at a Dodge dealer about 50 miles from home. I asked the price and it was $2495. I said that I had a 1965 Rambler to trade in and the price dropped to $2200. The sales manager looked out the window at my Rambler and said that I could have the Maverick for $2000 with the provision that I not leave the Rambler on the lot. I then requested that I take the Maverick back home and have my mechanic check it over and how much should I leave as a deposit. The dealer said “nothing”. Take the car home and bring it back tomorrow. That is exactly what I did. The Maverick checked out o.k. and I bought it and took both cars home and sold the Rambler for $250.
I had a similar experience with a used car dealer in my home town. In the fall of 1995, we had to replace a car. The dealer had a 1993 Oldsmobile 88 on the lot priced at $14,995. When I asked about the trade-in for my 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass, the price dropped to $14,500 with the trade or $14,200 if I bought the 1993 Oldsmobile straight out. I bought the 1993: Oldsmobile and kept my 1978 Cutlass. However, this dealer did try to scam me a couple of years later. The dealer had an MG Midget on the lot that needed body work and a clutch. I stopped in to see the MG. It was a family owned business and the two sons were tied up with customers. Their mother, who was the manager said that might just give me the MG if I could get in the car. I am 6’2" tall. She gave me the keys and I got in the MG and started the engine. She came tearing out the showroom and said, “Unless you are able to get out of the car, you have to buy it”. I almost had to buy the MG. I was in my mid 50s at the time and didn’t realize I wasn’t as agile as I was in my 30s when I drove an MG Midget.

You may have signed for a rate with one finance agency, but this might not be accepted. The dealer works with a half dozen finance agencies, some that will finance high risk buyers. You may not agree with the credit offer presented but you can always bring your own money.

Sure! Just pay cash if no low-cost financing is available.

@George_San_Jose1 has the best answer, finance through your bank beforehand. I did find out today that KBB has a payment calculator. You could go to KBB on your smart phone and use it right there in the dealership and catch them red handed if they try that.

That is a scam used on people with bad credit. Within a few minutes of talking to a salesman, they will have run a credit check on you. If you have bad credit, they will write up the paperwork with a favorable interest rate and it will look like you are approved. Then comes the scam. They will tell you that it takes one day for all the paperwork for the bank to come through, but you can go ahead and drive your new car home.

This is especially effective if you traded in a vehicle because they now own your vehicle. If you don’t take the new one home, you will have to “walk” home as you have no transportation. Once that vehicle leaves the lot, the contract is consummated on the dealer’s part. You show up the next day to finish the paperwork and you find your 2% loan is now 24%. You have taken delivery so now you have to pay.

BTW, even if the dealer could have gotten you a loan at say 6%, just not the 2% promised, he will still go for the highest because he gets more money from it.

Never drive it off the lot after the test drive until ALL the paperwork is finished and approved.

Still best to pre-finance it through your bank though, or pay cash.

Edit: this scam is less likely to be used at a new car dealership because they want to protect their reputation. It is more commonly found on the corner used car lots without dealer affiliation.

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I have seen buyers return the filthy car 3 months later because they did not qualify for the loan they applied for, then drive off in their trade-in.

I’m sure there is more to that story. They may have negotiated a settlement or had a real smart lawyer who found a technical glitch in the paperwork, but common law says that once one party has invested in a contract, it becomes enforcable.

Poor people with bad credit don’t need a lawyer. The car goes through recon and detail again, perhaps a $1500 loss, dealer moves on with business.

I don’t think I’ve ever been scammed. I knew exactly what I was getting just about. I bought my first car when I was 17. They advertised the 60 Morris minor for $175, stored in the weeds across the tracks. I said I would take it. The guys at the desk conferred and said they would take $150 for it. When I wrote the check they said to make it for $125. I don’t know who scammed who but they got rid of a piece of junk and I got an education and a summer project. I was more concerned with how it looked than how it ran and sold it for break even before classes started. No way it would have made the 200 mile trip.