Ran My Credit Without Permission
I have good credit as do many of you who read this site. This good credit gives me certain benefits when looking for financing for things like purchasing a car. My good credit means I don’t have to worry about being approved and means I also don’t need to sit in a shady dealership where a finance guy sells me a higher interest rate to pad his commissions.
While some brands have promotional APR offers from time to time (mostly for new cars), the vast majority of the time it is better to secure your own auto financing when purchasing a car. Credit unions tend to have the best rates, but it’s fairly easy to shop around if your credit is solid.
Buying A Vehicle Is Terrible
Yesterday I purchased a used SUV for my reselling business. This vehicle will be used for business purposes and is titled in the business name. For this reason I secured a loan through Bank of America since business auto loans can be a bit messier and my business has a relationship with the bank.
When choosing a dealership, I decided to go with one of BofA’s partners. This meant that all I needed to do was provide my approval number and my social security number so the dealership could access my loan. Knowing how things can go, I made it clear with the dealership that they didn’t have permission to run my credit. They assured me they wouldn’t, but I even put it in writing. Thankfully I did.
About five minutes after I gave my information and the salesman walked away to process it, I received this from Credit Karma.
Credit Run With No Permission
I wasn’t happy, especially since this had been discussed and was even in writing. A few minutes later when the finance guy came over I asked why they had run my credit. He denied doing it, but after I showed the evidence he investigated and a few minutes later the manager walked over to apologize. He said that he had done it and missed the “no credit” writing. He then offered me an additional $100 off the car. I could have pushed for more, but I accepted. But we weren’t done.
Using Leverage to Keep Things Fair
Besides saving me $100 on the car price, the instant alert did two more things for me. First, I was able to make sure I have an original copy of the paper where I wrote out that they didn’t have my permission to run the credit. This should allow me to dispute the inquiry successfully. I’ll follow up on how that works out later, but hopefully I’ll be able to reverse the credit score ding.
The second area it helped me was in further negotiation when an unexpected charge came up. When negotiating the price before I went to the dealership, I specifically said I had wanted their $200 theft insurance charge removed. Unknown to me they lowered the price by that amount, but they kept that $200 in there to please their corporate overlords. I wasn’t having it.
A Finance Fight
As soon as I saw the paperwork for that policy, I insisted that they remove it from the contract thus lowering my price $200 more. To make a long story short, this lead to the now bitter finance guy to talk down to me as if I don’t understand basic math. He went on and on explaining how all dealerships have this charge. But I KNEW I didn’t have to pay it and I wouldn’t.
Instead of fighting I explained that I did understand and due to this and all of the other issues (them running my credit) I wouldn’t pay the $200. They cannot force you to purchase anything when buying a car anyway, so we were at an impasse. Thankfully the manager who had run my credit didn’t want any issues, so a quick call to the GM got the scam insurance taken off.
Take Care of Your Credit
While identity theft and other scam practices often get the headlines, simple mistakes like this can also have an effect on your credit. This is just a good reminder that you need to be proactive about knowing what is going on with your credit. From inquiries to new accounts, you should see it all. I use a variety of free services to accomplish this and there are paid services as well with a bit more flexibility. Either way, know your credit and who is doing what with it.
I really really don’t understand why buying a car has to be such an utterly ridiculous experience. Yes, there are some dealerships with set prices and generally better experiences, but they don’t always have the car you want. My two takeaways from this situation are that it still is an incredible pain to deal with shady car dealership practices and that I need to continually monitor my credit any time someone could potentially access it.
What do you think? Should I have pushed for more of a discount? Should I have pursued this further? Do you love dealing with car dealerships and their ridiculous tactics? Share your thoughts in the comments!