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Crime economics

Dealership car thieves

One of the Youtube shows that I enjoy watching is Lehto’s Law, a show where a Michigan lawyer answers legal questions from his subscribers. A video from last week referred back to a situation from years ago where a dealer was running a financing scam. It is apparently a widespread practice.

Looking back on it, the story is a familiar one. I myself have had a dealer call me the next day to tell me that they couldn’t reach a deal and wanted me to either return the car or bring in more cash. This video is worth a few minutes of your time.

Many businesses are shady, taking actions that they KNOW they are not legally permitted to take. They also know that few customers will call them on it, and even fewer will sue. For that reason, breaking the law becomes quite lucrative. Don’t be a sucker. Know your rights, fight for them.

3 replies on “Dealership car thieves”

One of my older aunts used to date a real shady used car salesman. He was a piece of work. Anyway, he’d talk at length about all the used car scams he worked. His bread and butter was taking a $1000 beater from the dealer auction and spending 3 or 4 days cleaning it up. Full detail job, plenty of tricks for hiding stains, covering up rotten seats, oil additives to stop the engine from smoking, etc. He’d have that beater looking half-way decent.

Then he’d list it for $4000 at a buy-here, pay-here site. Poor credit, no credit, no problem. Just $2000 down and easy monthly payments direct to the dealership.

Well, that first $2000 down completely covered his costs and time, plus a little profit. Any monthly payments were pure gravy. And the first time they missed a payment, re-po away. Then resell to the next sucker with the same deal. He admitted to selling the same car at least 6 or 7 times where he made maybe $15 grand or more on a $1000 beater.

In hindsight, he was one of the last analog conmen in the current digital age, getting by in a haze of cigarette smoke and drinking cheap bourbon, selling cars with a fake smile and gravelly voiced false assurance. I’m sure he’s pushing up daisies now.

Yup, had the dealership call me about not being able to finance me after all, in Cali and about 17 yrs ago. The dealership also used the “four square” which I now know is a red flag for abusive scammers.

In my case, it was a lease and I told them on the phone that THEY promised to get financing, they better do so. And I hung up.

Got a payment book in the mail after a short while.

And yeah, I know leases aren’t a great deal for some people. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good for others. In my case, I avoided financing Cali sales tax, I got a total cost that was only a little bit over the total cost of financing a sale, and I did in fact have bad credit that probably would have made traditional financing even more expensive. The added bonus is that in TX I’d have had to pay business personal property tax on that truck every year if I owned it. Saved MUCH MORE than the extra cost of the lease plus buyout.

Still have the truck and it still puts in a hard day’s work when needed.

n

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