Last month my husband and I purchased a car from a car dealership. When reviewing our credit report the next month, we noticed 6 auto lender inquiries were made. I want to know why they pulled my credit so many times, what’s the impact on my credit scores, and what do I need to do to remove them? 

Answer: When you are applying to buy a car, the finance department will determine the terms of your loan. Once they’ve sold you on the terms, then they will send your application to 3 or 4 lenders to get them to compete with one another for the business. 

If your credit score is 620 or less, then your application will probably go to more than 4 lenders because it will be more difficult to get you approved at favorable terms. 

The Process of Sending Your Application to Various Lenders is Called “Shotgunning”

Since the financing department can’t know precisely where to send your application for the best rate, they have to send it to several lenders at once.  Both you and the lender benefit from this competition. You get a lower rate and the car dealership gets to maximize their profit.

The problem is that most consumers shopping for a car aren’t aware of the process. All you know is “inquiries can lower your credit scores”. You understandably get upset when you see a bunch of inquiries coming from several different lenders when you only remember giving permission to one lender. 

Shotgunning Won’t Hurt Your FICO Scores

The truth is, FICO (the company that provides the scores lenders use for lending decisions) understands that consumers need to shop around for major purchases like auto and home loans. So they lump together all the auto inquiries made over a specific period of time and treat them as one for credit scoring purposes. 

That means your scores won’t be negatively impacted by “shotgunning”, though there are other possible consequences. 

However, Shotgunning Can Keep You From Getting Approved

Some lenders will count your inquiries when you’re applying for a loan or credit card. So while you may have the scores to qualify, they could still potentially deny you based on having too many inquiries. 

Deleting credit inquiries is a straightforward process. The only inquiries authorized on your credit report are those who can claim “permissible purpose”. 

You gave permissible purpose when you signed the credit application with the car dealership. In the fine print they probably included the right to send your application to other lenders, as well. 

Read this post for detailed instructions on how you can dispute the inquiry with both the lender and the credit bureaus if you believe your credit authorization was abused.

    13 replies to "How to Remove Hard Inquiries When An Auto Dealer Runs Your Credit Multiple Times"

    • Mel Hutchinson

      I just applied for a car loan and the dealership pulled my credit 11 times! My credit score is 740. I am so upset over this. I came home and had all these e-mails in my inbox regarding these hard inquiries.

      I called the dealership and they said that if I bought a car from them within 45 days it would count as only one hard-hit; otherwise the 11 hard pulls would stay.

      I am really upset over this! No dealership has ever done and this to me before and I don’t understand why. I have applied for credit twice in 3 years..

    • Michael Miller

      My wife and I bought a truck the other night and we already had financing approved from Capitol One. We told them this at the dealer and specifically informed them that we did not want out credit ran to other banks. They told us that Capitol One required us to fill out a credit application and “shotgunned” our credit though we only gave the credit application for purposes of being approved through Capitol One. This lowered out score by more than 10 points unnecessarily. What can we do?

      • Brian Diez

        If you signed a credit authorization, then they can use that to prove they had authorization. That said, you can still dispute the inquiries.

    • Denise Held

      I bought a car, I had a credit score of 823, they ran it 4 times. When listed on my credit report
      2 Finance
      1 Bank
      1 Auto
      Can I get the ones that say finance and bank removed.

      • Brian Diez

        The type of inquiry is only relevant for specific types of FICO scores. Mortgage inquiries made within 45 days are lumped together and treated as one for Version 2 and 4, for example. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter the type. But yes, you can dispute them provided you didn’t open a new account as a result of the inquiry.

    • Donna watson

      Just got a car in early December , and my credit was pulled 6 times can i dispute the 5 and keep the one that i signed up for ? I didn’t know that they would pull so many inquires otherwise i would of told them i use capital one

      • Brian Diez

        Yes, dispute the ones that did not result in a new account being opened.

      • Nichole

        What about if you ask the dealer if this is a soft pull and they said yes, can you dispute it then ?

    • Jane Salazar

      I bought a car 6/19/21. My credit score was over 700 and I had preapproval from capitol one. They still ran my credit at least 5 times. I bought the car that day. How do I get the 4 extra inquiries removed. I read the article and from that I understand why it happened, but I do not understand how to get them removed. Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Stacy Clement

      My fiance and I applied for a new used vehicle we were Both approved. At the last minute they decided that he could get it with out me! They had run hard inquiries on my credit through 7 banks and my credit dropped 36 points!!..I am livid. They also ran my fiancé through the same amount of banks. Is this even legal for them to back out? my credit was great now ots dropped to fair do to this and it just doesn’t seem right. And I was going to go trade in out other vehicle but, don’t dare do anything now!!

      • Brian Diez

        If you signed the authorization, then it’s legal for them to run your credit. Now that it’s done, you can try to remove them.

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