Before starting to write this DriveTime review (formerly Ugly Duckling), the popular used car dealer known for providing financing for people with low to bad credit, I spent some time reading online DriveTime reviews first. I have my own opinions based on personal research, and conversations with industry experts, but I often find it useful to get a general idea for the overall reputation of a car dealer before writing my review. (We used the same process when reviewing JD Byrider)
Sure, a lot of complaints you find online can be somewhat exaggerated, and at times fabricated by competitors, but for the most part they are written by consumers who are upset. The more of these online, the more likely is is that there is some validity to the claims, especially if you see an overall pattern emerge.
There are a ton of complaints online against one company that is now known nationwide (especially in the south) for providing auto financing to people with bad credit. The company has had its share of legal problems, and two major lawsuits were filed against them. There was also a special report done by PBS… Not exactly, the kind of press any company wants, right? Sum it all up, and one can only come up with one conclusion, something has gotta be wrong with their business model. So consumers beware.
Now back to DriveTime. Here’s my conclusion. (I’d love to hear your thoughts – so please do comment!)
Flexible, In-House Financing for All Credit – DriveTime approves more than 99% of applications received. This is extraordinarily high and should give some comfort to individuals with bad credit — it is possible to buy a car with bad credit! Best of all, the company now offers an online application and provides a fast decision online.
Many Locations – DriveTime has more than 86 used car dealerships across 10 states. This company is proof that the “Buy Here Pay Here” business model is sustainable on a large scale. DriveTime is not just a car dealer, it is a car dealer and car finance company built into one. They provide “owner financing” for the cars they sell.
Well Known – DriveTime has been successful in branding themselves as the go to dealers for people with bad credit even though there are many other options for finding bad credit car loans.
Searchable Inventory & Diverse Selection of Used Cars – Unlike others, DriveTime Financial offers an online searchable database of its diverse used car inventory. I am particularly fond of this difference because I believe consumers ought to be able to shop for a car they like and want, and not be pushed to purchase any old car. DriveTime has a selection of cars, vans giving consumers more ample options in choice.
Decent Used Cars - All DriveTime Financial used cars undergo an extensive 53 point vehicle inspection that helps ensure that cars sold are in good working condition and will give buyers minimal problems. One of the most frequent complaints posted online for used car dealers is the quality of the cars sold. Wherever you shop for a used car, you should be vigilant of quality. DriveTime’s inspection does make this a bit easier for you, though you should still do your own research.
Warranty – Just in case there is a problem with your car, the company offers a warranty on their used cars.
Special Programs – The company has some special incentives for military personnel and loyal customers. These programs can help you save a lot of money on your used car purchase, regardless of credit.
Improve your Credit – Once approved for a car loan with DriveTime, your timely payments will be reported to the credit bureaus. This is hands down the best way to improve one’s credit — assuming of course, that you pay your loan payments on time. I suppose this is why the often refer to their program as a “second chance car program”.
Focused on Sales – The staff at DriveTime Financial is very focused on getting results. The result is a somewhat aggressive sales process that can often make consumers feel pressured. Don’t let this sway you. This is true of most car dealers, so be prepared for this situation wherever you shop for a car.
You will Pay More - If you have bad credit and have not been able to get approved for a car loan anywhere, you will probably end up paying with a dealer like DriveTime Financial. Try to exhaust your options first. One good way to do this is to get a quote for a bad credit car loan from several dealers at once. This will avoid you having to go from dealer to dealer on your own.
The Ugly… um there is no ugly. The DriveTime cars are actually decent looking.