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Cash for Clunkers Scam Alert

July 2, 2009

Cash for Clunkers ScamsThe "cash for clunkers" program which was recently passed is officially set to go into effect on July 23 and last thru November 1, 2009.

The program will give consumers a voucher of up to $4,500 towards the purchase of a new car as long as the trade-in meets certain mpg requirements.

Before you get all excited, there's a couple warnings you should know about so you don't get duped.

Many dealers are excited about this program and some are jumping the gun in order to lure buyers early. Although the bill states vehicles purchased after July 1, 2009 are eligible, the details haven't been ironed out and finalized yet.

The official start date for the program is July 23rd. DO NOT do a cash for clunkers deal before July 23rd unless the dealer is willing to give you cash on the spot. If a dealer claims you will get reimbursed on July 23rd, simply walk away or you could find yourself in a legal loop-hole and out of pocket.

Another more serious scam to watch out for are sites claiming to be a part of the government program. They ask that you fill out personal information including address and social security numbers in order to "register" for the program.

This is pure fraud. DO NOT SUBMIT any personal information in regards to the cash for clunkers program. The only official government site related to the program is at

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar, Edmunds, and 1-800 Car Show 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.

California Residents - Important:

There is a new online car buying service called Roadster, available only to California residents, which I highly recommend you try - especially if you hate the stress of haggling with a car salesman. They provide an expert concierge who negotiates the price of the car and delivers it to your home with zero hassle - you never have to interact with a dealership. Here is my in-depth review of Roadster and why I recommend it.

- Gregg Fidan

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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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