Consumer Protection

Car Buying Tips


Research before going to a dealership:

  • Determine how much you can afford to finance and spend on monthly payments.
  • Get a copy of your credit report so you are aware of what creditors will see. A free copy of your credit report is available at AnnualCreditReport.com. Errors or accurate negative information can impact your ability to get credit and your finance rate if you get credit.
  • If you have a trade-in vehicle, know how much it is worth.
  • Know the value of the vehicle you are purchasing. Information can be found in auto buying guides, the Internet, your bank and other sources.
  • Unless you are fortunate enough to be able to pay cash, remember that you are shopping for two things — a car and financing. Shop for each separately. Compare current finance rates being offered by contacting various banks, credit unions or other lenders. Compare bank quotes and dealer quotes and know any limitations on the rate, such as if the rate is only available on late-model cars.

When visiting a dealership:

  • Stay within the price range you can afford.
  • Shop for financing with the dealer only after you have explored other financing options.
  • Consider carefully whether the transaction is best for your budget and transportation needs.
  • Consider whether you will need additional products, such as gap insurance, extended service contracts or credit insurance. If you do not want these products, do not sign for them. If you decide you do, you can shop for them just like you shop for financing.
  • Do not feel pressured to make a decision. Ask to take the paperwork home to review.
  • Always check a vehicle’s history before buying it.
  • Read the contract carefully before you sign. Do not sign it if it contains any blank spaces.
  • Take a copy of the contract and all documents you signed with you when you leave.
  • If you decide to consider dealer financing, get copies of the financing documents before you sign so that you can comparison shop for financing from other sources.
  • If the financing terms change after you take the car home, you have the right to walk away from the deal without penalty. Yo-yo sales** are illegal in Arkansas.
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