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9 Tips to Protect Yourself from Fraud When Buying a Car in Canada

9 Tips to Protect Yourself from Fraud When Buying a Car in Canada

During my time living in Canada, I've bought 3 new cars and 3 used ones. I've also tried to get a car loan twice but was turned down. So I've gained some experience that I'd like to share.

1. No Credit History? Don't Get Your Hopes Up!

For newcomers, it's nearly impossible to get a new car loan with reasonable interest rates. Financial managers might promise otherwise, but don't believe them. They're counting on your desperation after rejection to offer you a less favorable deal. In my case, having already rented a house in another city and needing to move, I had to buy a used car with cash.

2. Dealers Lie!

To play it safe, I bought my first car in Canada from a dealer, paying extra for "guarantees" that the vehicle wasn't damaged or repainted. However, when selling it later, I found out it had been in an accident.

3. Demand a Full Printout of the Offer

When visiting a dealer, they might scribble an offer on a scrap of paper. If they don't provide a full printout, simply go to another dealer.

4. Hidden Fees and Additional Options

When buying a car, they'll add numerous extra fees: delivery costs, dealership fees, etc. But the most frustrating are useless service packages, like free windshield washer fluid for a year at a four-figure price. Understand every number on the bill and ask if you can opt out of unnecessary options.

5. Don't Trust Verbal Promises!

They're worthless. I was promised over the phone that they'd remove the dealer's commission, which was confirmed in person, but it was "forgotten" in the contract. I didn't notice and lost about $600. When I realized, it was too late. The manager feigned surprise and said he never promised such a thing.

6. Check the Final Contract

In my case, they added several thousand to the car's price, claiming it was "by mistake." Carefully verify all amounts.

7. Errors in Documents Won't Be in Your Favor

Preliminary documents might have incorrect names (mine had Alex Alex). When I noticed the final contract amounts didn't match the preliminary ones, the financial manager claimed the first document was erroneous and invalid. By then, I had already paid the deposit...

8. Account for All Numbers in the Contract

Financial managers love to play with numbers. They might "adjust" figures so that your monthly payments remain as agreed, but the first payment could be higher or the buyout price at the end of the lease might increase by thousands.

9. Don't Like Something? Go to Another Dealer

If you're unhappy with negotiations or terms, try another dealer. They don't manufacture anything, they just resell, so you won't lose out. When I wanted to buy out my leased car, my dealer quoted about $1000 more than the contract stated. I went to another dealer who didn't charge anything extra.

If you have your own stories or advice, please share in the comments. It will be helpful for everyone, especially newcomers.

Alex Pavlenko, founder of immigrant.today

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