How to avoid, resolve new car purchase issues
For the past 10 years, new car auto dealers have been among the most complained about industries at Better Business Bureau. From selling practices to repair issues, the purchase of a new car may be accompanied by consumer confusion that can lead to unmet expectations.
To help consumers navigate the process of purchasing a new car, BBB provides helpful tips to avoid issues, as well as resources to resolve issues that may arise.
In 2012, BBB of Central, Northern and Western Arizona received more than 1,100 complaints against new car auto dealers. Nationwide, BBB received more than 33,100 complaints, most dealing with sales practice and repair issues.
Locally, complaint distribution is as follows:
• Selling practice — 22 percent
• Customer service issues — 18 percent
• Repair issues — 12 percent
• Contract issues — 11 percent
• Advertising issues — 10 percent
• Other, such as service, refunds/exchanges. warranties, product, billing and delivery issues — 27 percent.
“Most complaints on selling practices allege a salesperson overpromised and underdelivered,” said Matthew Fehling, BBB president/CEO. “Consumers should be aware that just because a salesperson says it, doesn't mean it will be included in the written contract.”
BBB shares tips from Consumer Guide Automotive on how to prevent issues when purchasing a new car and handle them, if and when they arise.
• Check the dealer's BBB Business Review at www.arizonabbb.org.
• Always test drive the vehicle – no exceptions – and make sure it's the exact vehicle you'll be buying.
• Take delivery in the daytime to ensure you are aware of scratches and blemishes.
• Match the title and all other documents to the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) atop the dashboard and the information on the sticker to ensure you get the vehicle paid for.
• Insist that all problems are fixed before you drive away. Why should you have to come back to take care of something that's not your fault?
• Ensure you have copies of all documents, including the bill of sale, warranty papers, vehicle registration, financing agreements, etc.
• Know where to go and whom to contact if service is needed.
• Don't sign the contract until you're satisfied that everything you're paying for is accounted for and operating to your satisfaction. Ensure all verbal promises are included in the final contract.
• Start with the dealer first.
• If the dealer can't solve your problem, contact the manufacturer's district or regional representative, who will work with the dealer to solve the problem. Look for contact information in your owner's manual.
• File complaint with BBB at www.bbb.org/complain, if you can't get a resolution to your problem.
• Consider mediation or arbitration. While some automakers mediate consumer disputes internally, others allow dissatisfied owners the ability to seek resolution from an independent third party.
• Keep a paper trail. Keep documentation and receipts for any repairs on the car.
For a list of government agencies and consumer groups that help with auto related problems, visit bit.ly/Resources4AutoIssues.
BBB Auto Line offers dispute resolution services on Lemon Law complaints. For more information, visit www.bbb.org/us/auto-line-lemon-law.
Better Business Bureau has a Yuma office at 350 W. 16th St., Suite 205. Yuma County Director Janet Torricellas can be reached at 919-7940 or email@example.com.