Kylie Evans

4 Tips to Avoid Common Dodge Wheelchair Van Rip-Offs and Fraud

Written by Kylie Evans. Filed in Dodge Handicap Van Buyers Guide

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Buying a used Caravan, Grand Caravan or Sprinter should be a happy occasion. You’re about to put a great mobility vehicle in your driveway! You don’t want the event ruined by an unscrupulous dealer and, unfortunately, there are people out there who will be more than happy to take advantage of you as you buy a Dodge wheelchair van.

Here are three common scams, along with tips you can use to keep yourself safe.

1. Odometer Fraud Is More Common Than You Think

Odometer Fraud

Odometer Fraud

This is a long-running trick that remains a real problem. The seller “rolls back” the odometer to decrease the vehicles apparent mileage, thus increasing its apparent value. Here are three ways to keep yourself safe from this trick.

Look for obvious evidence

Numbers that don’t line up right, digital readings that feature an asterisk or error sign, or scuffs and scratches in the area can all be signs of tampering.

Consider the vehicle in context

You can tell a great deal about a vehicle’s likely mileage by looking at things other than the odometer. Why would a Grand Caravan with only 30,000 miles have new shocks or springs? Why would a low-mileage Sprinter have excessive interior wear? If the evidence and the odometer don’t seem to match up, there could be a problem.

Look at all paperwork

Old title and registration forms may state mileage figures that raise red flags about the odometer reading. Service records may also give you a clue about the real mileage of the Dodge wheelchair van you’re considering for purchase.

2. Hiding Flood Damage

water damaged dodge caravan

Water damaged Dodge wheelchair van

Vehicles that have been subjected to flood damage wear out faster and experience more problems than others experience. They also have a tendency to experience electrical problems and to rust prematurely. Mold can be a problem. Frankly, there’s never a good reason to purchase a flood-damaged Dodge wheelchair van. That’s why some unscrupulous dealers will try to disguise the vehicle’s history. Here are three ways to avoid purchasing a wheelchair van that’s been involved in a flood.

First, do a thorough inspection

Check under the seats, in the glove box and in the trunk for signs of water damage. Check the upholstery and carpet for discoloration. If they’ve been replaced, find out why. Test with your nose, too. The lingering smell of mold and mildew is hard for even the trickiest rip-off artist to disguise completely.

Second, get a full vehicle report

A CARFAX, for instance, will usually report any known flood history. They even have a free report that will tell you if a Dodge wheelchair van was registered in an area hit by a natural disaster.

Third, check the wires

When electrical wires are submerged and then dry, their insulation becomes dry and brittle. The wiring should be flexible and easily pliable.

3. Sales Rip-Offs

scams

Beware Of Dealer Price Scams

Most mobility dealers will do their best to get you into a high-quality used Dodge wheelchair van. However, there are a few that will try to take advantage of you. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim and trust only NMEDA mobility dealers.

First, don’t get hit with additional dealer markups

Your dealer may attempt to pad the bill with “ADM”. If you didn’t sign on for the “extras” they’re offering or think that the numbers appear inflated, don’t sign off on the deal. Those numbers aren’t carved in stone. You can negotiate.

Second, never accept spot delivery. That’s when the dealer lets you take the vehicle before the final paperwork is signed. They then call you to let you know that the financing didn’t work out as planned and try to get you back on the lot to sign off on a more expensive deal. Wait until the contracts for your Dodge wheelchair van purchase are signed before the vehicle leaves the lot.

Third, do the math! Look over everything carefully. Are you getting full credit for your trade-in? Is your down payment properly recorded? Does the price on the statement match the one you were promised? You don’t want to sign a contract until you’re sure everything is in order.

4. Additional Resources

Take advantage of the many online resources available to help you avoid scams as you purchase a Dodge wheelchair van. Here are a few you may want to visit:

The Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov) supplies a great deal of information and advice about the above-listed scams and other unfair and illegal auto sales practices. It’s a wonderful place to learn about consumer protection and to file reports of misconduct.

The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) is a good place to report Internet-based activity that isn’t on the “up and up.”

The Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org/us/Consumer-Complaints/) accepts online complaints about inappropriate business practices.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (www.nicb.org) keeps a record of vehicles that have been titled for salvage or that have been reported as stolen and unrecovered. They also maintain a public database of vehicles involved in floods. Check to be sure the Dodge wheelchair van you’re considering isn’t one of them!

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About Kylie Evans

Kylie Evans

Kylie understands from her life experiences that people who have a spinal cord injury are a true cross-section of humanity. Kylie provides excellent advice from her life experience with disabled people.

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