Beware Of Scary Car Dealers

Hey Cool Car Fans,

I try to warn my clients all the time that most car dealers have earned and deserve their bad reputation, especially when a client calls to tell me what a great “deal” they’ve found on their own. As The Cool Car Guy, I buy, sell, trade and lease vehicles for clients everyday and I still exercise extreme caution because I know how easy it is to get burned buying the wrong vehicle.

This past week for example, I was searching for a 2007 BMW 328xi for a client and I spotted one at the Denver Auction that was being offered by a local dealership. This “royal” dealership, quickly became a royal pain and I knew who they were, but I had never done business with them before. I pulled the dealership up on Google and found a few good reviews about the dealership from former “clients”, so they looked reputable.

I wrote to the owner and discovered he had the vehicle on display in a Walmart store, which immediately was a red flag for me. Why would you put a $23,000 high-line vehicle in a Walmart store that is located in a traditionally lower income part of Denver? He said he didn’t have room at his dealership, so I went along with it. I asked if he could get his vehicle back to his dealership and I would pick it up, show it to my client and that I wanted to get a mechanical inspection done on the car before buying it.

Normally, if I buy a vehicle through a dealer auction, I pay for a frame and mechanical inspection on the vehicle. If it doesn’t pass I can arbitrate with the seller or depending on the findings, return the vehicle. This provides protection for me and my client, so that we don’t get stuck with a problem vehicle a dealer just wants to pawn off on another dealer.

When I put in my request to see the vehicle, this was the response that I got back from this “reputable” dealer with their great Google reviews…


Yeah, right!   Not only could he not spell, but I’m willing to bet this vehicle has serious issues.  Somebody who doesn’t know any better is going to get burned when they buy that vehicle from this dealership. There is almost always a reason why a vehicle is being sold at discount, usually there are issues with the vehicle. To require an inspection before a major purchase is not an unreasonable request. If the dealer won’t allow you to get an inspection, my advice is not to do business with that dealer. It doesn’t matter how nice they are, what their reviews are, how long they have been in business or how great a deal their car is that they are selling.

There are just too many things that can go wrong with a vehicle, especially today, with cars being more complex than ever before. Your great “deal” could quickly become an expensive nightmare and I see it all the time. You are always better off paying a little more for the right vehicle than less for the wrong vehicle. No two used cars or trucks are the same.

The reality is that it is really hard to pay too much for a used car, if it is the “right” vehicle, because you have some protection with Kelly Blue Book and NADA.   If you end up paying $1,000 more than you planned and you keep the vehicle for five years, that’s only $200 more a year to drive a vehicle that isn’t going to cause you a great deal of problems.  I can tell you from experience that it’s worth it!  Where people get into trouble is when they want to buy vehicles for wholesale book and they fail to realize that reputable dealers will pay wholesale for the right vehicles for their inventory that they will recondition and sell retail. Shady dealers will buy the “junk” that good dealers don’t want, they don’t spend the money to properly recondition them and then they put them on Craigslist or other sites at a “great” price.

If you’re shopping on your own, you need to be aware of this, so you don’t get burned. I have a list of dealers that I refuse to buy from and some of them are popular in the Denver area, but I know how they do business. Just remember what you were taught when you were younger and you’ll avoid a great deal of pain – “You get what you pay for and there is no free lunch.”.

John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! or Twitter @coolcarguy