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Car Rebate Scams and How to Avoid Them

Sometimes manufacturers offer rebates and incentives that are not advertised.

These are usually "loyalty" discounts given to current owners of the same brand, or they can be military/college grad discounts, or even conquest cash - given to those who currently own a competing brand.

There are some rebates that are offered for a limited time in small geographical areas, often times near a car show.

It's odd that manufacturers offer these types of incentives without promoting them, and as a result, consumers and even some dealers don't realize all the rebates that are available.

Some manufacturers are better than others in providing dealers with accurate incentives information. Ford, in particular, has a really good system that informs all dealers on a timely basis.

It's not uncommon for some people to qualify for 3 or more rebates on one vehicle - the problem is knowing which ones you qualify for in the first place.

Some dealers take advantage of this lack of information, and will attempt to keep some of these rebates for themselves. It's easy for them to get away with it because manufacturers don't audit every single sale.

Sometimes dealers will honestly fail to recognize you qualify for a special rebate, which is not that uncommon.

What you need to do to prevent being ripped off is to review the manufacturer's web site and find out which incentives you qualify for. But that's not all, because even the manufacturer's site will sometimes have missing information.

A better way is to ask several local dealers which incentives you qualify for. You should get the same answers from each dealer, but you may find that one dealer has more accurate info than the rest and will alert you to one you may have missed.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan


Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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