Car loan scams are more common than you think. Car dealerships, as well as, independent lenders can run a scam—but make it look so legit that you would think it is a normal, run-of-the-mill loan company. Scams are scary and dangerous, can ruin your credit, or overcharge you with exorbitant loan rates, fees, and high interest.
We at Credit Capitol want to help you understand what sort of scams to watch out for, in general. Because we are a legitimate lending agency, registered with the Better Business Bureau, we can inform you about some of the car loan scams we have seen take in some of our own customers, who came to us to get out of the scam they had gotten into.
If it is too good to be true, it probably is—that’s the best rule of thumb when considering a loan. A loan should be advantageous to you the borrower, but it should also benefit the lender—honest loans do help both parties in the loan agreement. A scam loan will make a too-good-to-be-true offer, which hides just how badly they will fleece you. Let’s look at a few common scams, and how they work.
Have you seen the advertisements from car dealerships, guaranteeing your loan approval? They often say “no one turned down, no one turned away” or something like that. Sure, those dealerships could deliver on such a promise—but at what cost?
Often the dealer has to work with near-predatory lenders, in order to get people with poor, or no, credit into a loan offer. That means high interest rates and high fees. It is best to avoid such dealerships because their main aim is to sell you a car at any cost—you want to choose an honest dealer that will put you behind the wheel of a car with honest loan terms.
You are given one set of terms, for a loan, and drive off the lot with your new car. Great!—until they call you a week later and tell you that your loan fell through and now you have to work with a new loan company to refinance the fallen-through loan. So you drove off, having originally budgeted for $275/month but now, with this “new financing” deal, you are paying $375. The dealership might even threaten repossession or calling the police on you if you don’t agree to the new terms.
How to avoid such car loan scams? Be sure that the loan offer has the phrase “subject to credit approval” in it so that you know you are not driving off the lot before all the paperwork is signed and the loan terms sealed.
A proper loan is structured in such a way that the loan origination fee comes out of the borrowed total. So, you borrow $25,000 and the loan origination fee is $400; you would have that fee as part of the total loan that is financed, and it becomes part of the repayment structure.
The “upfront fees” scam asks you to pay a loan origination fee upfront, before the loan is approved—or, even, in order to apply for the loan! This is a car loan scam! Do not continue to do business with any lender that seeks for you to pay loan fees separate from the loan itself. Think of the fees and interest as a package deal: you pay for all of it through structured, monthly payments.
Instead of getting you to see the whole picture—the monthly payment which breaks down the amount allocated to principal, the amount to interest and fees—this strategy pushes the idea that “I am only paying $250 a month” and gets you to overlook or ignore the added fees. So a $10 fee here or a $20 fee there—a fee added in order to authorize to make the monthly payment—adds up to hundreds upon hundreds of dollars over the life of the loan.
Avoid this by insisting to see all of the language about the payments in clear, precise terms. Honest lenders have nothing to hide.
You took out a loan you cannot pay for? Suddenly companies send you emails or make calls, telling you that they are a credit counseling service that can renegotiate the loan and save you money—but for a fee. It is too good to be true, so don’t do it! These companies scam you by charging you fees to do things with your loan that really cannot be done. You cannot renegotiate a car loan once the terms are set.
If you are in over your head, you really need a new loan with new terms, rates, and repayment plan, so you can use that loan to pay-off the troublesome one.
Remember, honest lenders have nothing to hide because they want to be reputable companies that do honest business. Always do business with lenders, like Credit Capitol, who are upfront and honest about the entire cost of a loan. Most honest lenders are listed with some kind of watchdog, like the Better Business Bureau. Be wary of any lender that wants to give you a too-good-to-be-true loan—they are scammers!