It's true, even in this day and age, that not every car dealer has a special finance department that deals with people who are credit challenged. Even if you know someone with bad credit that got financed at a particular dealership in the past, that doesn't guarantee that that same dealership is still doing special finance right now. Often, car dealers become involved in special finance because they happen to have a good special finance manager - someone that knows the business and is familiar with at least a half dozen lenders that do business in the various sectors of bad credit auto loans. In many cases, if that person leaves, the dealer simply stops doing buy pay car lot loans in your area.
Here's what happens if that dealer no longer has a subprime department: you stop in, talk to a salesperson, pick out a car, the dealer runs a credit report and at that time they let you know that you can't get financed. So now you have an inquiry on your credit report and you still don't have a new car. In addition to the inquiry, the process can also be frustrating and, in some cases, insulting to you. So why not go to any bad credit web site?
Just as all car dealers don't offer bad credit auto loans, all bad credit web sites are not created equally, either. Many web sites promise "Instant Approval", with "No Down Payment", while other sites will tell you that "All Applications Are Accepted". Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You should also take note of the fact that if a web site tells you that all applications are accepted, that only means that they will take an application from you - it doesn't mean that they will approve your application.
So what's the answer? First of all, look for a web site that is approved by the Better Business Bureau. This means that the owner of the site has applied to the bureau and has agreed to follow its business guidelines. It also means that that site is meticulous in answering all complaints and getting them resolved in a timely manner.
Secondly, be sure the application you fill out is SSL encrypted in order to ensure that the personal information you send remains secure. Without this safeguard, your information can be intercepted and used to further ruin your credit before you even have the chance to rebuild it.