Key Indicators that a Car Dealership is Reputable


Choose Carefully to Get a Great Deal and a Pleasant Experience

Prices Match Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail

One of the easiest ways you can tell that a used car dealership may not be reputable is by comparing the prices of their vehicles for sale to estimates on Kelley Blue Book. A reputable used car dealer will offer vehicles at fair market value. If their prices exceed market value according to KBB, then purchasing from them definitely isn’t a good idea.

Sure, you can haggle the price down, but that adds a lot of stress to the car-buying process. And you still might not be able to convince the salesperson to lower the price enough to make it a good deal — and you shouldn’t have to haggle to get to market price, either.

Salespeople Do Not Pressure You Into a Vehicle You Don’t Want

At most car dealerships, salespeople earn a commission on every vehicle they sell. This means that they get more money in their pocket every time they make a sale, and the amount of money varies based on the purchase price of the vehicle.

It stands to reason that commissioned salespeople will pressure car shoppers into buying the most expensive vehicle on the lot because they have quite a bit to gain from doing so. But it also isn’t the most ethical of practices, and car dealerships that allow their salespeople to do it are not very reputable in the eyes of car buyers and the auto industry as a whole.

Avoid high-pressure salespeople by shopping for vehicles at a no-haggle dealership. These car dealerships sell vehicles at the lowest possible price, so you don’t have to make an offer and hope it’s accepted or wait for your salesperson to talk to their manager.

Dealership Financing Offers Reasonable Interest and Monthly Payments
Car shoppers with low credit scores may have difficulty securing an auto loan from a lender. Some people will opt to shop for a used car at a buy-here-pay-here dealership, which provides in-house financing and high interest rates, plus multiple car payments per month. If you are able to secure financing from an independent lender, it’s in your best interest to do so.

However, you can still get a car loan from an independent lender through the car dealership you visit (as long as it isn’t a buy-here-pay-here dealer). Rather than contacting multiple banks and credit unions to find the best loan terms and interest rates, the financial department at the car dealership can search for you and find you the best available loan, which usually requires one loan payment per month.

Car dealerships that do not offer this service and require you to solely finance through them will likely end in you paying thousands in interest and making a loan payment every time you receive a paycheck.

And while some buy-here-pay-here dealers are not trying to rip you off, there are many whose only concern is making the most money off of you. Be wary, and work to improve your credit score before buying your next vehicle.

Vehicles are Well-Maintained and Inspected Prior to Sale
If you’re in the market for a used car, the last thing you want to see when you step onto the lot are rows and rows of low-quality vehicles with damaged bodies and high mileage.

Reputable used car dealerships will carefully select the vehicle they sell and have certified mechanics look them over and make necessary repairs before they ever offer them for sale. This ensures they’re selling a quality product – which is what reputable companies do!

And a reputable car dealership will never balk when you ask to have your mechanic look over a vehicle you’re considering buying, either.

The Dealership’s Online Reviews are Good
The final way to determine whether you’ll have a good experience at a used car dealership is to read online reviews from other shoppers. These reviews will let you know nearly everything you need to know about what it’s like to buy a vehicle there.

A used car dealership with tons of negative reviews is likely one you should avoid. One with mostly positive reviews is a good bet, though!

If you still aren’t sure where to start shopping, ask your friends and family, “What is the best used car dealership near me?” They will likely be able to refer you to dealers they trust and have purchased from in the past.

You’re Ready to Shop
Now that you know how to identify a reputable used car dealer, you’re ready to begin your search for a new-to-you used vehicle on a car lot near you. One final bit of advice: Be sure to take a test drive and ask lots of questions about anything on the vehicle’s history report! Doing your due diligence will ensure you end up with a reliable vehicle that you can enjoy driving for years to come.