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When Can Car Dealerships Pull Your Credit Report?


When a car dealership pulls your credit report it can result in a decrease in your credit score.  While that decrease can be more than made up for if you finance a car and make timely payments, it is in your best interest to limit credit inquiries – especially when you are comparison shopping at several dealerships.  Decreases in your credit score can have a large impact on your ability to finance other purchases for your family, such as a credit card or a mortgage. To protect your credit score, make it clear to the dealership staff that you have not yet determined whether you intend to purchase a vehicle and that they do not have permission to pull your credit until such time as you are ready to make an offer on a vehicle.

Our firm recently resolved a case for a North Carolina resident who had her credit pulled by a car dealership when she was merely test driving. The car dealership fixed her credit and we recovered a confidential five-figure settlement for our client.

If you have recently visited a car dealership to comparison shop or to take a test drive, it is recommended that you obtain a free copy of your credit report at to determine whether a dealership impermissibly pulled your credit report and damaged your credit score.  In some cases, credit inquiries initiated during the course of your comparison shopping can result in subsequent credit denials or increased interest rates.

Impermissible use of your credit report is a violation of your privacy and harms your ability to obtain credit, employment, housing, and insurance.  Federal Law provides strong protection of consumer credit reports, including the potential recovery of actual damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.  If you suspect that a car dealership pulled your credit report while you were simply comparison shopping or taking a test drive, the Fair Credit Reporting Act attorneys at Maginnis Howard offer free case evaluations and accept suitable cases on a contingency fee basis – at no upfront cost to you.