Archive for the ‘Car Dealer Tricks’ Category

Consumer Team: Wrecked Car Scam in DFW

(DALLAS-FT. WORTH, TEXAS – Consumer Team News)   When it comes to car buying in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Consumer Team radio host Pete Thomson says ‘buyer beware.’   The Consumer Team is airing a series of reports on car scams in Dallas-Ft. Worth.  According to Thomson, the ‘wrecked car scam’ is costing North Texas consumers significantly.   Thomson said, “It’s so easy for pros to hide issues with a car.  Unless you buy from a responsible source, a consumer can really get into trouble.”

The Consumer Team: Exposing the Wrecked Car Scam

The Consumer Team: Exposing the Wrecked Car Scam

Another problem, according to Thomson, is the fact that Carfax reports are not always accurate.  Thomson added, “Consumer Reports has done several investigations into the reporting services.  Bottom line is that you can’t always trust what you read.  The services like Carfax can miss major problems, and there are ways that the services can be gamed.   We believe it’s fine to check these services, but not based a purchase on them.”

Instead, Thomson says, consumers should find a local dealership that has a good reputation in the marketplace.  “Our choice on Consumer Team“, Thomson continued, “is Auto Locators of Texas.  Richard Walsh and his team do an excellent job of selling only high quality vehicles for a fair price.”

Thomson cited Walsh’s extensive experience in buying vehicles.  Thomson said, “Richard has been buying cars at auction since he was a teenager and he can spot problems.  Beyond that, before he sells a car, it’s given a complete inspection and servicing.   We believe Auto Locators of Texas is best practices for a pre-owned car dealership.”

The Consumer Team with Pete Thomson is broadcast Saturdays, 6-8 PM on CBS Radio’s 1080 KRLD in Dallas-Ft. Worth.  The Consumer Team is produced by McQ Media, Dallas, TX.

 

 

Why I Rarely Pick the “Lowest Price”

As consumers we are often hyper-focused on getting the lowest possible price on goods and services.   And that strategy generally works when you’re buying a commodity of some kind.  Televisions, cars, clothes and other consumer goods are commodities in the sense that they are mass produced and largely contain consistent quality.   In that kind of purchase, it makes sense to search for the lowest price.   However, when any kind of service is part of the purchase, going with the lowest bid can be hazardous to your consumer life.

Pete Thomson - The Consumer Team

Pete Thomson – The Consumer Team

Home repair and remodeling is one of the most dangerous categories for taking the lowest bid.  Because home improvement and home repair requires both supplies and specific labor skills, low bid contractors oftentimes will cut corners on product and service quality.   The roofing industry is a good example of this issue.  A low bid roofer can use existing or old materials on a home in such a way that the quality cut back is not easily detected by the homeowner.   Another less common tactic sometimes used is the co-mingling of customer funds to finish the current job at the expense of a future one.

Taking the lowest bid can sometimes result in increased liability for the consumers.  To lower overhead, low bid contractors often operated without proper liability and workman’s comp insurance.   If there’s property damage or injury connected with the job, it can come back to haunt the consumer in several unpleasant ways, the worst being exposure to lawsuits from injured or dead workers and their families.

Even the auto industry, which I listed as a commodity above, can have low price issues.  Low price tags can signal that there are hidden defects in the vehicle.   Flood and body damaged vehicles are the common reasons for a car to be bargain priced.  On a side note, don’t believe Carfax reports.   There are a number of ways to game this system.

As consumers, our challenge becomes finding the sweet spot between price and quality.  Here are several thoughts:

Multiple Bids:  On The Consumer Team our weekly mantra is ‘get a second opinion’.   On big purchases it’s advisable to get more than 2 bids.

Ask Questions:   Challenge your low bid contractor to show you proof of insurance and referrals from the last 30 days.   Never simply take the referral sheet they give you.  They’re simply not reliable and oftentimes not current.

BBB:   Forget Angie’s List and Yelp because they can be gamed.  The Better Business Bureau is the best way to see if consumers are mad at a company you are considering.

Brick & Mortar is Good:   Call me old fashioned, but I like companies that have a physical location in their community.   “Chuck in a Truck” and “Pete in a Pick up” can disappear easily.

Become an Expert:   Before putting installing wood flooring in my home, I attempted to learn about both the art and science of hardwood floors.  As I really learned about the materials and labor issues in the field, I was much more able to understand the quality of the companies giving me bids.   It also made me value, much more, the quality I was receiving from a middle of the pack bid that I eventually selected.

Don’t Be Afraid to “Pay for Excellence”:    I learned this lesson over 15 years ago when shopping for wood flooring for a new home.  As a result of getting 4 bids, I was able to learn about the important factors to consider relative to high-end hardwood floors with a plywood subfloor. Even though I had several aggressive ‘low bids’ for the project, I selected the second highest bid because of the company’s reputation in the marketplace.  The floors turned out great and continue to be one of the best features of my home.

Be Smart With Money:  I don’t like companies that require me to pay for supplies up front.   If they don’t have enough nails and glue to start the job, there’s something wrong.   I also only release money in stages of completion during the job.  And I always leave at least 20% at the end for final inspection and approval of the job.  In some cases, paying by credit card can offer consumers an additional layer of protection because contractors can be pursued through the credit card company.

The expression “If something seems to good to be true, it usually is” is very appropriate for low bids.   Keep both hands on your wallet and ask questions and you won’t be disappointed.

Pete Thomson

The Consumer Team

Editor’s Note:  The Consumer Team with Pete Thomson is broadcast Saturdays from 5-7 PM Central on 1080 KRLD Radio.   The Consumer Team combines interviews with leading consumer advocacy journalists with information on ‘best in class’ businesses from North Texas.  The Consumer Team is produced by McQ Media, Dallas, Texas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consumer Team Radio: Best Time to Buy Products; Car Dealer Tricks & Tracking Teen Drivers

(DALLAS-FT. WORTH, TX)    Saturday, June 21, 2014, The Consumer Team will help you improve your consumer life.  Saturday’s program, broadcast from 5-7PM on 1080 KRLD Radio, will feature several informative feature segments:

The Consumer Team - Saturdays 5-7 PM on 1080 KRLD Radio

The Consumer Team – Saturdays 5-7 PM on 1080 KRLD Radio

When To Save On Purchases:   Mandy Walker with Consumer Reports will talk about when products go on sale.  From January through December, we’ll tell you when different products will be at their lowest prices.

Retirement Planning:  Don’t Go It Alone!   Jim Poe from Texas Retirement Specialists will be the guest for a discussion on why consumers do better when they work with a competent retirement planner.

Car Dealer Tricks:   We’ll talk with Richard Walsh of Auto Locators of Texas about the slick tactics that dealers use to confuse us and increase their profit from a sale.   As you’ll learn from Richard, you can take control of the transaction!

Tracking Teen Drivers:  Ernie Sprance will report on new technology that’s allowing parents to closely monitor their teenage drivers.   Speed, location and even mechanical issues can now be monitored with several cost effective high-tech tools.

To listen live, go to http://player.radio.com/listen/station/krld-newsradio-1080.   The Consumer Team with Pete Thomson is produced by McQ Media, Dallas, Texas.

Consumer Team Interviews Mike Quincy on Best Cars

(Dallas-Ft. Worth)   Consumer Team host Pete Thomson calls the Consumer Reports annual auto issue the best source of automobile information available anywhere.   Mike Quincy, a key contributor to the CR auto issue will join Thomson for a series of interviews for the next 3 weeks on The Consumer Team, Saturday from 5-7PM on 1080 KRLD.

Commenting on the special Consumer Team automotive broadcasts, Thomson said, “Mike Quincy is one of the country’s top authorities on cars.  He’s a big contributor to Consumer Report’s annual auto issue and we’re delighted to have him on the broadcast.   Our listeners will be able to get some great information from our series of automotive interviews.”

According to Thomson, the interviews will cover areas where consumers are the most exposed to bad decisions.   He added, “One of the biggest mistakes that consumers make is buying a car that has received bad ratings.  On our interviews with Consumer Reports, we’ll review their top picks for new 2014 vehicles and their top-rated used cars too.  Beyond that, we’ll discuss how to use Consumer Reports’ website as a resource when buying a car.”

Thomson said that he considers the Consumer Reports research and data very objective.   He added, “Consumer Reports is the gold standard when it comes to consumer research.  First, they accept no advertising.  Beyond that, they buy every vehicle that they test.   As a result, the research data is very objective.”

Thomson and The Consumer Team have been critical of car business, especially the tactics of dealerships.   Thomson said, “The deck is stacked against the consumer when it comes to buying a car.   If a consumer goes into a car dealership without preparation, they can really be hurt financially.   On The Consumer Team our goal is to help our listeners be prepared.  With the proper preparation, consumers can come out of the process in one piece and with a good car to boot.”

The Consumer Team, one of the most listened to locally produced consumer advocacy talk radio programs in nation, airs weekly on CBS Radio’s 1080 KRLD, Dallas-Ft. Worth.  The Consumer Team is produced by McQ Media, Dallas, TX.

 

Consumer Team: Hybrids Not Worth the Cost

(DALLAS-FT. WORTH, TX)   For consumers thinking about buying a hybrid vehicle, The Consumer Team radio program recommends that you reconsider your decision.  “Hybrids aren’t worth the additional cost”, commented Pete Thomson host of The Consumer Team, heard Saturdays 5-7PM on 1080 KRLD Radio.   Thomson added, “Based on our research, we believe that hybrids aren’t quite ready for the mass market.”

Hybrids:  Not a good deal yet, according to The Consumer Team

Hybrids: Not a good deal yet, according to The Consumer Team

The Consumer Team recently aired a segment discussing the costs of hybrid ownership.  Joining Thomson was Consumer Team automotive expert, Richard Walsh.   Walsh, a veteran of the auto industry and owner of Auto Locators of Texas, cited specific math on the payoff for hybrid technology.   Thomson said, “The time required to break even on the extra cost of a hybrid just doesn’t make sense for consumers.   In many cases, we’re seeing a 7 year period to reach break-even, which is longer than many people keep a car.”    Adding to the overall cost of owning a hybrid are higher maintenance costs.   Thomson added, “We’re finding that local, independent mechanics are not comfortable working on hybrids, which means that consumers are required to use franchise dealership service departments, which are more expensive.”

Will hybrids make sense someday?   “Absolutely,” Thomson said, “But right now, consumers who are trying to save on fuel costs are better off buying a high MPG gas powered vehicle which can get over 35 MPG.   That’s good mileage but without having to incur the additional costs of a hybrid.”

Thomson has been critical of the automobile industry on The Consumer Team.  He said, “Several surveys have shown that consumers don’t like the car industry.  They don’t like the tactics, tricks and lack of transparency.  It is because of these problems that we are so excited to have Richard Walsh of Auto Locators of Texas on The Consumer Team.   Auto Locators of Texas offers outstanding pre-owned vehicles at fair prices in an environment that people find very refreshing.   They’re an outstanding addition to The Consumer Team.”

For more information on The Consumer Team, go to http://www.myconsumerteam.com   The Consumer Team is produced by McQ Media, Dallas, Texas.

 

Consumer Team Endorses Auto Locators of Texas

(DALLAS-FT. WORTH, TX)   The Consumer Team today announced the endorsement of Auto Locators of Texas, a Plano based company that sells pre-owned vehicles.   Consumer Team host Pete Thomson announced that Richard Walsh, owner of Auto Locators of Texas, will become a regular on-air contributor to The Consumer Team.

Auto Locators of Texas - Consumer Team Certified

Auto Locators of Texas – Consumer Team Certified

Pete Thomson said that the addition of Auto Locators of Texas to The Consumer Team is the result of an extensive search for a car retailer whose values were consistent with his program.   Thomson stated, “We believe there are significant issues with the majority of car dealers that often prevent consumers from getting a fair deal.  The addition of Auto Locators of Texas to The Consumer Team is a perfect match.   Richard Walsh and his team offer excellent used vehicles for thousands of dollars less than traditional car dealers.   Auto Locators of Texas does not subject the consumer to all the negatives that are associated with the car buying experience.  There are no sleazy sales people, no F&I (finance and insurance) tricks or other malarkey.  Just great cars at fair prices.”

In endorsing Auto Locators of Texas, Thomson says he’s endorsing the process of buying used vehicles.   Thomson stated, “Dollar for dollar, the best deal for consumers is a used vehicle.  We believe it is prudent for a consumer to avoid the depreciation hit that comes with a new car purchase.”  Thomson continued, “Auto Locators of Texas can serve any type of car buyer.  They offer late model high-end vehicles from manufacturers like Mercedes, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus as well as less expensive vehicles.  Regardless of a customer’s needs, Auto Locators of Texas will deliver, and for thousands less than the big, franchise dealerships.”

Thomson attributed Auto Locator’s lower price structure to lower overhead.   He said, “Because Auto Locators of Texas doesn’t have a huge facility and large marketing budget like the big dealers, they can deliver the consumer a quality vehicle for thousands of dollars less.”   Thomson also cited Auto Locator’s customer service approach as superior to what consumers often experience when buying a car.   He said, “It’s amazing to see an operation like Auto Locators of Texas.  It’s the exact opposite of what people normally experience at a dealership.   Once consumers experience how good the car buying experience can be, they’ll never want to go back to the traditional, painful way that most people buy cars.”

Thomson said that Walsh will play a major role on The Consumer Team.  Thomson added, “Each year consumers lose billions because of bad car deals.  With the help of Richard Walsh and Auto Locators of Texas, The Consumer Team will first educate the consumer regarding the most important aspects of purchasing a car.  In addition, we want to connect our listeners to Auto Locators of Texas so they can get a great deal on their next car.”

The Consumer Team with Pete Thomson is broadcast Saturdays from 5-7PM Central on CBS Radio’s KRLD-AM 1080 in Dallas.   The Consumer Team is produced by McQ Media Inc.

 

 

 

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