A combination of progressive consumer protection law and new technologies could have you better positioned to buy a vehicle in future years. A press release Thursday details a move by Missouri state officials to sign into law Missouri Senate Bill SB132, a law governing the sale of extended warranties and similar contracts for vehicles. Bill SB132 provides for more consumer access to refunds for these types of warranty products and clarity of terms prior to sale. The bill, which was written in collaboration with the U.S. Services Contract Industry Council, is anticipated to help consumers nationwide who are contemplating adding an extended warranty at the dealership. It can be hard for the average car buyer to figure out whether or not a specific warranty is worth getting, and dealers often use this item to push up the final transaction price for vehicles. SB132 takes consumers a step further toward being able to limit this kind of price increase by getting more information about warranty products up front; this bill is slated to go into effect Jan. 1 of 2012.
Another new innovation in the auto sales industry is an application for hand-held devices like smartphones that allows users to scan the bar code section of a vehicle’s VIN number. This tool, created specifically for the iPhone by AutoTrader.com, takes the customer to information about similar vehicles available elsewhere.
Using items like the AutoTrader.com app can be great for comparison shopping, which is important for hedging against higher transaction prices. VIN number lookup tools can also potentially help buyers to catch some types of VIN hacking or deceptive use of these serial numbers for re-tagging stolen or previously damaged vehicles.
Take advantage of the latest gear and the newest data when you go to the dealer’s lot, and you could save yourself a lot of money. Understanding the ins and outs of the warranty process and using comparison shopping to lower model prices are both good strategies. Another important one is for those who need to take out financing for a vehicle. Getting the lowest interest rates for financing and avoiding high up front fees is critical for this and any kind of lending. Whether you finance at the dealership or with a third party, keep a close eye on any charges that get folded into your bill, and assess interest rates against what the manufacturer is offering, to keep your sale price and overall auto loan debt low.