How Instant Credit Alerts Saved Me Money & Potentially My Credit Score

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Ran My Credit Without Permission

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.

Ran My Credit Without Permission

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.

Ran My Credit Without Permission

 

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.

Ran My Credit Without Permission

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.

Conclusion

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!


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16 COMMENTS

  1. I paid cash for my new Honda last year. My local dealership still pulled both my credit and my spouses. They then tried to talk us into financing the car. This shouldn’t be allowed.

    • That is just nuts. Under no circumstances do I give my social security number at the doctor’s office or the car dealership or anywhere else that doesn’t actually need it to transact business.

  2. Yeah the finance guys at the back are the most freaking shady people on the planet. I was upsold on a whole bunch of stuff I don’t need, but was having none of it. At the end of the whole thing the finance guy was like I’m just doing it for your own good, and you’ll be sorry you didn’t take my advice. And yes they did talk down to me like I didn’t know my math. Sorry bruh – I’m Asian and can do my sums eyes closed.

  3. Wow, this is making me increasingly grateful that I have an (honest) relative in the car-sales business! :-O I still get my own financing (through our credit union), but at least I don’t have to worry about the high-pressure sales tactics or “upselling.”

      • That makes no sense and is illogical unless I’m missing something. You wanted it removed. They gave you a two hundred dollar credit instead, effectively making it free. You even admitted they lowered the price the cost of the insurance to make it free. You got more than you asked for, as you just wanted it removed.. They removed the cost and still have you the insurance.

        So why fight for another two hundred?

        “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.”

        • You think like the car dealer. I do not. I had specifically asked for that to be removed. They cannot force me to purchase an insurance policy I don’t want. Had they been smart they would have removed it. They decided to leave it there and it cost them an additional $200. I fully understand your point and that is the same point the dealer made, but I think about things a bit differently.

  4. Two years ago, I bought a car for my daughter at a Honda dealership. The finance guy sold me things I did not need that cost $6K over the purchase price. I could not reverse the transaction because it was signed, sealed and delivered. A year later, I bought a new pickup for the business at a Nissan dealership. I called the Honda finance guy and lectured him that he lost a sale from me due to his unscrupulous practice. He went dead silence. I paid cash in full for the pickup but the Nissan finance guy still pulled my credit because money laundering is a huge crime for the banks, real estate agencies and car dealerships. You must prove who you are and where you have money to buy things.

  5. Oh you definitely should have pushed for a better deal. At that point you owned them. My last new car I secured financing ahead of time and made the deal over the phone with a small deposit to show good faith. I told the sales guy to tell the finance guy to have the papers ready to sign and don’t waste my time trying to sell me extra stuff. Finance guy hated me but I was in and out in 1 hr. With my new ride. Game over

    • Not really. For $200 it was covering something like $3,000 if the car is stolen and under a very specific set of circumstances. Not something I need or want to pay for. There is a reason they try to add this to every deal. They make a huge commission.

  6. Never “fall in love” with an automobile and always be prepared to walk out of the car dealership. As the old timer’s used to say: “As long as the money is in your pocket, you are in the driver’s seat!”. Yes, I have walked out of car dealerships on more than one occasion when the numbers changed from the agreed upon deal.

    • Totally agreed and I have as well. In this case the entire thing was agreed to before I got there and my threat to walk out worked when it came to the insurance. I actually recommend that people negotiate as much as possible before going since they will often still try to play games and it’s best to be as far along in the process as possible before stepping foot inside.

  7. Shonuff: Possibly it’s because they charge you every year and it’s difficult to cancel? I wondered the same thing. Maybe Eileen’s car-sales relative knows.

  8. Kudos to you for being vigilant about his credit score and holding the dealership accountable for their shady business practices. Personally, I would have walked away from the deal given how the finance guy treated him. I don’t want to support a business that treats their customers like that.

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