The premise is as simple as the promise:
‘Forget your past troubles. Don’t worry about your credit woes. We’re here to help. Everyone gets approved.”
This is the enticing bait offered up by Buy Here Pay Here dealers, and it’s easy to see why the tactic proves so successful. With the dealership stepping in as the lender, customers are no longer beholden to the standards and expectations of traditional lenders. Catering to the needs of the desperate, the disenfranchised and the under-served, BHPH dealerships are able to offer hope where there had previously been none. With guaranteed approval, vehicle ownership becomes a reality where it had previously felt impossible.
But from coast to coast, these types of dealerships have cultivated a wide-range of reputations, and they’re often indistinguishable from one another at face value. Pick any city. While it may house a reputable Buy Here Pay Here, Columbus Ohio might have a less-ethical competitor right around the corner. While many have helped credit-challenged customers to take positive steps towards healthy finances, others have been accused of preying upon them in a world where subprime lending remains the root of economic evil. All the while, the vast majority of dealerships probably exist somewhere in the middle, counting both satisfied and dissatisfied buyers among their customer base.
Sure, there are likely to be those dealerships that advertise with crazy, over the top antics and low production values:
Then again, we live in a world where a $100 purchase on fiverr.com could get the same dealership a professionally animated video like this:
That said, you can’t expect to judge a dealership based on the manner in which it markets themselves. Some reputable dealers are just having fun with off-beat marketing, while other less-reputable dealers rely on marketing to help them appear legitimate. So, where does this leave the customers who rely on BHPH dealers as a last-resort? How can they differentiate between ethical dealerships and those with a reputation of predatory lending? Ultimately, it comes down to the consumer’s willingness to be honest with themselves, and their ability to perform their due diligence.
This means understanding their budget, and what they can truly afford. It means a willingness to make concessions, understanding that they may not be eligible for their ‘dream vehicle’. Entering into a BHPH contract should only be done once you’ve fully explored every other option; and the agreement should only be entered into with a full understanding of all conditions, contractual obligations, and liability.
Bottom-line: not every BHPH dealer is interested in helping you, but not everyone is trying to screw you, either. So, do your homework BHPH customers, and you’ll be far more likely to buy with confidence, and be satisfied with your experience.