Horror Stories: Why Traditional Dealerships Are Better Than Private Sellers

If you’re seeking a car but you’re operating on a budget, it may be in your best interest to pursue a used vehicle. If you decide to purchase a vehicle through a private seller, you’re likely going to regret it, especially if you’re making that purchase online. There’s no way for you to inspect the vehicle, and you’ll be getting your first in-person view of the car when it’s finally delivered to your house. This means the buyers will have little understanding of the vehicle’s nuances and underlying issues. Of course, these car-buying issues aren’t limited to private sellers. If you’re purchasing a vehicle on a tight budget, you may be intrigued by the opportunities presented at a Buy Here-Pay Here dealership, although you’ll quickly learn that this wasn’t the best decision, either.

When it comes down to it, a traditional dealership is your best option when you’re purchasing a vehicle. As you’re about to learn, some customers made a huge mistake by avoiding these dealerships and found themselves in a bigger financial hole than anticipated. Read some of our car-buying horror stories below, and you’ll understand why it’s in your best interest to visit a used car dealer in Albany

This first story, via a reader on Jalopnik.com, explains why you should always investigate a potential purchase before spending the money. Cars are certainly flakey, and there’s no guaranteeing that the exterior’s quality will match the quality under the hood. When purchasing a used car, it’s especially important to give the vehicle a test drive, and you’re about to learn why…

“So I decided to buy a PT Cruiser GT over the internet, from out of state, sight-unseen. What could possibly go wrong?! I should have known, when they gave me an outstanding deal on my trade, again sight-unseen, that I would be in for trouble. It was an ’03, with ~50K miles, the Getrag 5-speed manual, and looked quite clean from the photos. Paid to have the car shipped out to me in Chicago from North Carolina, where they would pick up my clapped out SVT Contour and I would get a 30 day warranty. Go to take my first drive, feel for neutral, let out the clutch and it stalls. What the…? Turns out the bushings in the shift linkage were so bad, I was getting 4” of play while in gear. Strike one.

Drive it around the block, and everything else seems good. Car makes good power and doesn’t surge or miss. I’m thinking, OK this might be OK. Spend $30 or so on new shift link bushings. While the grizzled delivery man was loading up my old Contour, one of my neighbors walks by with her 13 year old daughter. Delivery man looks at me with a terrifying smile and says, “You’ve got some good looking neighbors….” Strike Two.

There was literally not enough soap in world to clean myself of that situation. Started looking closely at the car. Came across the tires, a brand that I had never heard of, Nankang’s. They were summer tires, and would do me no good in the coming winter, but whatever. Nothing I couldn’t fix with a new set. After driving, problem free for a entire 3 days, the car started to develop a horrible missing and backfire. Fantastic. Called up the dealer I bought it from, and told them they had to fix it, per the 30-day warranty. “What 30-day warranty?” the dealer says. Strike three.

This should have been my queue to have them come pick up the car. Finally after much shouting the dealer agreed that I could take it to my local Chrysler dealer for diagnosis, where I would be given a rental while it’s being fixed. Three days later, I got the call to come pick up the car. Get an entire 2 blocks, and the problem presents itself again. Strike four.

Turn around and drop the car back off and say the problem has not been fixed. Get a call the next day saying the car is NOW fixed. Pick up the car, and drive a block only to discover that in no way has the problem been rectified. Strike five. Storm into the service center and demand the service manager AND the tech that had been supposedly working on my car go out for a little drive. Obviously, they were quite surprised when the car would misfire horribly and backfire loudly. After 2 more days the car was finally fixed. Luckily I was not out any money for these repairs, and the dealer kept its word with the warranty. In some cases I am luckier than some, but this has completely changed my opinions on 1. buying cars online 2. buying cars sight-unseen. Local cars only from here on out.”


This next tale, via a poster over at InsideCarSecrets.com, details why those popular “Buy Here-Pay Here” dealerships aren’t always the best options for used cars. Many of these businesses are trustworthy, but there’s a solid handful out there that are solely looking to make money. Sure, they may agree to finance a vehicle for you, giving you an opportunity that isn’t available elsewhere. However, you’ll often find yourself in greater financial turmoil than if you had just visited a traditional used car dealership…

“I had just moved to Florida to start my journey exploring the world. When I moved it was the first time I had ever visited Florida….with $100 in my pockets….my huge suitcase and a mind full of questions such as: What are you doing here? Are you insane? Do you know anybody here?

I decided that I needed a car. The paycheck-to-paycheck life is not easy: I had rent, a credit card, phone and other expenses. So I got a second job in a shoe store. For seven dollars an hour I had to mess with feet, walk thirteen aisles to make sure a shoe was facing its box and even put up with sexual harassment. Well, that’s life! So I worked overnight in the warehouse of a bookstore and during the day in the shoe store. I saved some money got my driver’s license and started looking for a car.

I called every dealer and everybody turned me down, because of my $600 down payment and no credit history. They wanted $3,000.00 down payments, co-signers, references, even the name of my unborn great-grandchildren! I was so desperate I would take anything. So I called this place I heard on the radio – Ugly Duckling Used Car Dealership, also known as Drivetime. They pre-approved me over the phone, so I went there with my savings and my hopes.

They treated me like a queen. Offering drinks, complementing me, I felt like a superstar in a luxurious spa in Los Angeles. They accepted my down payment and I was thrilled. They started showing me cars, the first one the most beautiful and spacious, then they showed me the not so nice ones, that’s how they get us! Of course I went for the first one, it had a sticker with the words low mileage on it. Huh? I know about low mileage, about the same that I know about open heart surgery, absolutely nothing.

They sold me a 1992 Pontiac Grand AM with 80,000 miles on it for $8,000 (And yes, I mean U.S. dollars), and that’s not all, with the low interest rate of 29% everything added up to more than $12,000!

I was so ignorant, I’m sorry; I meant that I was so dumb, that I didn’t even bother to check the value of the car in the blue book. I was trapped in the dealership for 6 endless hours, my hand was hurting from all the papers I had to sign: checks, insurance, an agreement of not to sue, papers that I didn’t even understand and the contract, which I now believe that if I had signed a contract with Lucifer I could have got a better deal.

Two days after the deal of a lifetime, the engine started having problems, they took the car and made repairs. A month later the brakes were working like a fast food employee after five hours of overtime, so they took the car again and made repairs. I didn’t care, as long as I had the car it was fine. They gave me the car back and everything went fine for the next couple of days, not so good were my personal finances.

The shoe business was not going so well so the management laid off half of the employees, myself included. I prayed everyday to find a second job, so that I can afford the easy biweekly payments of $200. I did it all. I worked as customer service clerk, operator, I even went as low as I have ever been, I was a dreadful telemarketer.

One beautiful day at 7:45 AM I was driving towards work, when a 70 year old looking man hit my car with his 1970 truck. The poor man got out of the car nervous and apologizing. I told him: Hey, stuff happens, without knowing that it was the beginning of the end for me.

I contacted the guy’s insurance company, within a couple of days after placing the claim I received the outrageous news that the car was totaled. WHAT? She replied: When the repairs of a car exceed its value the car is considered totaled. The nice lady with her angelical voice proceeded to tell me the value of the car. $2,936! I sat down with my mouth open and after a half hour of hallucinations and criminal thoughts, I called back the nice lady of the insurance company and told her what I owed on the car.

She got in contact with Ugly Duckling and explained the situation. Ugly Duckling took the money from the insurance and wanted to charge me the difference, which was more that $5500. I knew that it was not right. What was I supposed to do? I consulted with an attorney who charged me $112, he asked me about Gap Insurance. What does the clothing store have to do with this? He then proceeded to explain how gap insurance is essential when buying a car in one of these places. Then he told me it was my fault for signing the contract and that I have to learn from this experience, he wasn’t surprised, according to him he has cases like that every week.”


This final example from CarThrottle.com explains why you shouldn’t trust everything on the internet. While the first story highlighted the issues you could run into without giving a vehicle a proper test run, this tale essentially explains why you should give a targeted vehicle an in-person inspection. You never know what kind of issue may be hiding under the surface…

“My friend once bought a used Proton on a local trading website. He got it for around MYR35,000(about $10,000). The car’s fine. Still handle good, done about 80,000km only exception is the smell that came from the air-con. One day we decided to figure out what made the foul smell. Turns out he had cockroaches living in the air-con vents.”

When it comes down to it, it’s best to just avoid these private sellers and opt for a traditional used-car dealership, like DePaula in Albany, New York. The business offers up-front pricing, meaning you’ll never be surprised about a specific charge. The dealership even provides low financing, so if you have a struggling credit report, you’re not stuck having to pursue the services at a Buy Here-Pay Here dealership. Beyond the financial aspect, this dealership also sells dependable vehicles, which (as you’ve learned) isn’t always the case with some used-car sellers. Plus, if you do run into issues with your recently-purchased used car, DePaula’s knowledgable service department will get your car operating in tip-top shape.

happy couple dealer

Sure, a random online dealer may be looking to sell that specific used car for less, but is it truly worth the risk? At DePaula, you’ll be encouraged to give your targeted vehicle a thorough look-over, and the salespeople will even allow you take out the vehicle out for a test drive. The assurance that you’re purchasing a dependable, trustworthy vehicle is enough for us to suggest that you avoid those online, private sellers and head straight DePaula for your used car needs, guaranteed.


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