In any case, dealers will lie about damage or problems because they're under no obligation to tell the truth, and the consumer can't prove the dealership lied after the fact." So what can you do to at least try to get the most up-to-date, complete, and accurate information about the vehicle?
"While a CARFAX report can help, CARFAX reports are often incomplete.
I've seen CARFAX reports that are missing considerable information, to the point where it makes me doubt the quality of their service.
"The best way to protect yourself is to pay for an independent vehicle inspection and buy a CARFAX or Auto Check report," advises Lancaster.
"A good inspector can usually spot a vehicle with undisclosed damage, and CARFAX/Autocheck reports are usually good about indicating if a car is a manufacturer buy-back (AKA someone else's lemon)." If you choose to go this route, there are mobile used car inspection services in most medium-sized cities.
"The customer assumes that whatever you're showing them is the actual interest rate they qualified for, not realizing that the dealership has marked the interest rate up 2% to 3%" Lancaster explains. From personal experience, I can tell you that my husband has done this in the past, and it's always resulted in a smoother negotiation.