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Car dealership "seeing" my credit score

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Car dealership "seeing" my credit score

Hello folks,

 

I recently went to a chevy dealership to ask for a deal on a camaro i liked. though I didnt really wanted to give my ssn. They said it was only to see my credit score and not to run it, which happens only when you are actually accepting the car deal. Is this true? whats the difference between "see" and "run" the credit score?

 

Thanks,

 

Message 1 of 11
10 REPLIES 10
Moderator Emeritus

Re: Car dealership "seeing" my credit score


@prostalker wrote:

Hello folks,

 

I recently went to a chevy dealership to ask for a deal on a camaro i liked. though I didnt really wanted to give my ssn. They said it was only to see my credit score and not to run it, which happens only when you are actually accepting the car deal. Is this true? whats the difference between "see" and "run" the credit score?

 

Thanks,

 


No difference, semantics in that maybe they didn't shotgun your application to a bunch of lenders.  You got a pull though, which isn't a big deal.




        
Message 2 of 11
Senior Contributor

Re: Car dealership "seeing" my credit score

Never believe the "nice" car dealer.  They would sell you a wind up toy and call it a car if they could.  I would just refuse and walk out.  I don't know if you can still do as this was back many years ago just after the light bulb was invented; one business I once owned had an instore charge account, we pulled credit to approve/decline.  We did not have to have ssn just name and address to pull the report.  Most car dealers make as much or more on the finance part of the deal as the selling.   I have seen people with 750 scores scores quoted 18% if the dealer thought  that he could get by with it.     

Message 3 of 11
Legendary Contributor

Re: Car dealership "seeing" my credit score

A party must either have permissible purpose, which is one or more of the purposes set forth in FCRA 604, to view information from a CRA, or the consumer must grant the party specific authorization for the access.

 

A credit score cannot be generated without having access to your credit file, and thus obtaining a score is inherently obtaining information from your credit file with the CRA.

Giving of an SSN, unless you consent that it is for the agreed purpose of an inquiry with the CRA, is not specific authorization for their inquiry.

Unless and until you either initiate a request for credit or actually enter into a business contract for purchase of a vehicle and some legitimate business purpose exists for them to review your credit, they have no permissible purpose to obtain information from the CRA upon which a credit score can be generated.

 

It sounds as if they informed you that they were seeking a credit score, but deceived you by inferring that they were not going to make an inquiry with the CRA,

I would file a complaint with both the CFPB for their lack of authorization, and with the BBB for a deceitful business practice.

Message 4 of 11
Valued Contributor

Re: Car dealership "seeing" my credit score

Unless absolutely necessary...

 

Don't finance through the dealer!

 

I have experienced (with family) and heard of so so so so so so so many horror stories of dealer financing! Go to a CU or other bank for a loan... Some will even prequal you for a given amount and rate before you go to the dealer.


TU FICO 8: 741 (7/19) — Ex FICO 8: 739 (7/19) — Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer
Message 5 of 11
Established Contributor

Re: Car dealership "seeing" my credit score


@GrasshopperStudent wrote:

Unless absolutely necessary...

 

Don't finance through the dealer!

 

I have experienced (with family) and heard of so so so so so so so many horror stories of dealer financing! Go to a CU or other bank for a loan... Some will even prequal you for a given amount and rate before you go to the dealer.


 Dealer negotiated financing has its place... But only if you aren't expecting to need more credit in the next year or so (because of the shotgun pulls).  They should also always be compared to a rate from a local credit union.  And sometimes people "need" a car, but don't have other options for financing.

 

 Thanks to educating myself on credit, I'm actually excited to go to a dealer the next time I need a car with a pre-approval from NFCU, or Landmark, or some other  CU in my hands and refuse to give them my SSN or play their Four Square game.  "I'm looking for a used SUV for under $25,000.  What do you have?"  Followed by "Hey, that's a good price we just agreed on.  Now, what will you give me for my trade-in?"

NFCU MR: $25K | Venture: $21K | Amex ED: $18K | NFCU CR: $18K | Amex BCE: $15K | IT #1: $15K | PNC Core: $15K | Wells Fargo: $11K | Savor: 12K | Cap1 QS: $8.5K | Barclays Rewards: $7.75K | IT #2: $6.8K | MLife: $6.5K | Sportsman's Guide: $8.7K | NRA: $5.5K | Elan Plat: $2.3K | Cap1 PS: 2K | TRV: $2.8K | Cabela's: $1K |



 


Current FICO 8 Scores: EQ: 735 | TU: 741 | EX: 733

Message 6 of 11
Valued Contributor

Re: Car dealership "seeing" my credit score

Got a total of 14 pulls across the 3 CRAs last year when I bought my car. Never again. Especially since they did not all code as auto. Next time I'll arrange my financing beforehand.

11/2017: EX 704 | TU 720 | EQ 672 -- Starting (2/2016): 630 | 620 | 580 -- INQs: 17 | 26 | 28 (last 6 months: 5 | 2 | 6)
AMEX Delta: $10k, Marvel: $8k, Discover IT: $7.2k, AMEX BCE: $6k, Target MC: $5k, PayPal 2%: $8k, CO QS: $2.6k, Merrick: $1.6k, Barclay's NFL Rewards: $1k, CO BuyPower: $500. And a mix of well-loved store cards.
Message 7 of 11
Established Contributor

Re: Car dealership "seeing" my credit score

To me, "see" and "run" are like soft pull and hard pull.  When you go to a pre-qualified site they soft pull your credit to "see" what your score is.  If you apply for the card they "run" your credit score.

 

If they are not sure you qualify for a car they are likely not wanting to waste time on you.  When they soft pull your credit they can determine if they will sit through hours of dealing to sell the car.

 

This is when they will "run" your credit through as many financers as they have at their disposal until one agrees to finance your car loan.  It might take 17 hard pulls before they find a willing financer.

Message 8 of 11
Legendary Contributor

Re: Car dealership "seeing" my credit score

The distinction between a so-called "hard" and "soft" is based only on whether the inquiry is shown in credit reports available to others or is limited to showing only in a credit report obtained by the named consumer.  Both types of inquiries (other than promotional inquiries) receive the same information.

 

For a discussion of when a business obtains permissible purpose, the FTC has specifically addressed the issue of automobile dealers accessing a consumer's credit report in a February 11, 1998 advisory opinion as follows:

 

"1. Section 604(a)(3)(F) permits CRAs to provide consumer reports to any party who has a "legitimate business need for the information in connection with a business transaction that is initiated by the consumer." You ask whether this provision allows a dealer to obtain a consumer report on a person who "comes to an automobile dealership and requests information" from a salesman about one or more automobiles. In our view it does not, because a request for general information about products and prices offered does not involve a business transaction initiated by the consumer.

 "More generally, you ask "when is the beginning of a business transaction" initiated by the consumer? In responding to this question, it is important to note that Section 604(a)(3)(F) limits this "business need" permissible purpose to transactions (i) that are "initiated" by the consumer and (ii) where the seller has a "legitimate business need" for the information. The staff's view is that an automobile dealer may obtain a report only in those circumstances in which the consumer clearly understands that he or she is initiating the purchase or lease of a vehicle and the seller has a legitimate business need for the consumer report information in order to complete the transaction.

"For example, a consumer who asks a dealer questions about prices and financing is not necessarily indicating an intent to purchase or lease a vehicle from that particular dealer. Nor does the dealer have a "legitimate" business need for a consumer report in this situation. The consumer may simply be comparison shopping. In such a situation, the dealer must obtain written permission from the consumer before obtaining a consumer report. If the dealer would like to see a consumer's credit report before answering general questions about the availability of financing, this must be explained to the consumer and written permission must be obtained. In the same way, a request to "test drive" a vehicle does not indicate an intent to initiate the purchase or lease of the vehicle. Accordingly, if a consumer asks to test drive a vehicle, the dealer must obtain written permission from the consumer before obtaining a report.

 "Only in those circumstances where it is clear both to the consumer and to the dealer that the consumer is actually initiating the purchase or lease of a specific vehicle and, in addition, the dealer has a legitimate business need for consumer report information may the dealer obtain a report without written permission. In this regard, we note that obtaining information for negotiation purposes does not constitute a "legitimate" business need. The dealer must have a specific need for the information directly related to the completion of the transaction. For example, a dealer may obtain a report, if one is necessary, in order to arrange financing requested by the consumer.  The dealer may also obtain a report to check a consumer's creditworthiness when the consumer presents a personal check to pay for the vehicle. By contrast, a permissible purpose would not arise if a consumer intends to pay by cash.”

Message 9 of 11
Valued Contributor

Re: Car dealership "seeing" my credit score


@Dalmus wrote:

@GrasshopperStudent wrote:

Unless absolutely necessary...

 

Don't finance through the dealer!

 

I have experienced (with family) and heard of so so so so so so so many horror stories of dealer financing! Go to a CU or other bank for a loan... Some will even prequal you for a given amount and rate before you go to the dealer.


 Dealer negotiated financing has its place... But only if you aren't expecting to need more credit in the next year or so (because of the shotgun pulls).  They should also always be compared to a rate from a local credit union.  And sometimes people "need" a car, but don't have other options for financing.

 

 Thanks to educating myself on credit, I'm actually excited to go to a dealer the next time I need a car with a pre-approval from NFCU, or Landmark, or some other  CU in my hands and refuse to give them my SSN or play their Four Square game.  "I'm looking for a used SUV for under $25,000.  What do you have?"  Followed by "Hey, that's a good price we just agreed on.  Now, what will you give me for my trade-in?"


And always remember to walk out if you don't get the price you want! They'll be running out the door after you! Smiley Very Happy


TU FICO 8: 741 (7/19) — Ex FICO 8: 739 (7/19) — Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer
Message 10 of 11
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