10 sneaky car dealer tricks
Here are some tricks of the trade -- some more devious than others -- that you might encounter when you shop for a car.
This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.
The first time I bought a car, I got ripped off. I traded in my car for less than it was worth, bought a clunker for more than I should have, and got talked into a $950 warranty to cover rust as I was finalizing the paperwork.
The salesman saw me coming and pulled out every trick in the book -- from saying my credit wasn't good enough to tacking on "mandatory charges" during the final sale.
Dealers want to talk payments; you need to talk price. For example, the last dealer I met asked me how much I could afford to pay a month. When I didn't answer, he offered a "great deal" at $385 a month. He never mentioned the total price of the car or the length of the loan.
By focusing on payments and not price, it's easy to trick consumer into thinking they're getting good deals. Steer the conversation to the total price, and let the payments take care of themselves.
A dealership can make as much money on the loan as it can on the car, which is something it's not likely to disclose. Instead, the salesman will make it seem that he's doing you a favor by getting you a great interest rate -- or getting you a loan at all.
Don't fall for it. Financing is big business for dealers, and you're not winning a prize when they get you a loan.
Step One in any purchase that requires a loan is to secure financing. Never head to the lot without first shopping for -- and getting preapproved for -- a loan. Use online auto rate searches and talk to banks and credit unions to find the best rate. Then apply and get approved. This serves two functions: You won't overpay for dealer financing, and you'll be ready to pull the trigger when you find the perfect ride.
3. Bait-and-switch advertising
Bait-and-switch gets you in the door by advertising a super deal on a car, but switching you to another, lesser deal when you show up.
Read the fine print before you go to the dealership. If you're not sure, call ahead.
4. High-pressure tactics
The salesman's goal is to close the sale today, and he'll try any number of sales tactics to make it happen. My personal favorite: Insisting the car won't be there tomorrow.
Don't bite. If you feel uncomfortable or unsure of any decision, ask to speak to someone else or just walk away. Keep looking until you find someone you can work with.
5. Extras that add up
Car salesmen work on commission, and the more you pay, the more they make. One way to increase the sale price is by adding on extras, like wheel and tire protection, a warranty extension or rust protection. To help sell you on these, the salesman will break them down to the total price per month. For example, when I bought rust protection, the dealer told me it was a "great service for only $25 a month." I ended up paying $900 over three years for something I didn't understand or even know how to use.
If you're trading in your current car, know its value. These sites can help:
Also, check eBay to see what cars like yours are selling for in your area.
If you're trading in, don't expect any dealer to offer your car's retail value. To get maximum value for your car, sell it yourself.
7. Manufacturer's suggested price
The "manufacturer's suggested price" is often used to make a deal sound better. For example, if the manufacturer's suggested price is $35,000, but the dealer is asking only $32,000, you might think, "Hey! I'm already getting $3,000 off and we haven't even started negotiating."
Sites like KBB.com can tell you what people are actually paying for specific models.
8. Your credit score
When I was buying my first car, the dealer pulled my credit report and told me my credit wasn't that grea,t but that he'd be willing to work with me. I felt a sense of relief, thinking, "At least I'm getting a loan." I later found that my scores were fine and that I could have gotten a better interest rate elsewhere.
Buying a car isn't one big transaction; it is actually three smaller ones: getting financing, pricing the trade-in and buying the car. I didn't realize this when I went to the dealership alone for the first time. Rather than look at each piece, I looked at the total cost and thought, "OK, I can afford this."
Negotiate each part separately to get the best deal.
10. Mechanical issues
Don't take the dealer's word for the condition of a used car. Never buy any car from any source without first taking it to an independent mechanic for an unbiased inspection.
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1.I never buy A new car.Maybe A demo.
2.I never get A loan,I always pay cash
3.Ya can go to consumer reports and they'll tell ya what ya should pay.
No one can expect to get average retail money for their trade-in......your junker has an ACV (actual cash value) and no dealer can put much more than that (in real dollars) in it. Keep in mind, recon costs to get your vehicle retail ready, and it may sit on the lot for 100 days before anyone besides the lot attendant cracks the door open. The business mgr. (finance person) makes a commission on financing, NOT the salesperson. If you have great credit, you will get the best possible rate (unless you are not too smart) and the finance person won't get rich on the deal. Car dealers are not mind readers, tell them what you want to do, (which model, etc.) and quit playing games (hiding your trade, until later, etc). They are not there to NOT sell cars and chase you away, if they can make a deal, no matter how short, they will sell you the vehicle. Competition is too keen for that.........
The only thing this person is right on is "Do Your Homework". If you wander oblivious down a dark street, you should expect to get mugged! No different in any negotiation. Common Sense! Know how much you can afford. Surprising how many people look at cars without a clue how much per month it will run only to discover that what they want can’t meet their budget. Know what you want, what you can afford, check your credit (not at creditscore.com), look at your trade closely and go online to get a value. Sources like Black Book Online or Autotrader Trade-In will give you the real number which will be lower than the inflated retail number the other sources show. Don’t expect the dealer to advertise its most expensive model, but the cheapest, which is not bait and switch by the way. Expect that if you wanted a loaded car, you’ll pay extra for it. Realize that the salesman is indeed on commission. His time is his money and he has a right to earn a living also. The less time he has to spend in helping someone select a vehicle the better it is for him so he will work harder for the consumer who he knows is not wasting his time. You as a consumer may get a loan for $30,000 every 5 years while the dealership may borrow $250,000 ,000 over the same period. Who do you think can get the better rate? Don’t discount the dealers offer. It can usually beat the banks. One last note, if you live in a cold part of the country with salted roads that rust protection at might be a bargain. If you live in Arizona, well that answer is obvious as well! One of these day they will actually get someone who knows what they are talking about and they will provide consumers with information they can use rather than just trying to perpetuate the same clichés.
Dealers want to talk payment instead of price? Absolutely! hat is because there are a lot of idiots who can's count their toes and get the same number twice. When I sold cars, I had a lot of people who wanted to buy $30,000 cars with no money down, a trade-in with a payoff greater than the value of the car, and demanding that the dealer cover sales taxes and motor vehicle charges, and still wanted to be at $300 a month for 60 months. Situations like that are common.
High pressure tactics? There is an expression in the business: "Buyers are liars!" There are more than a few customers who have come in that demand the best price so they can go shop that figure. No. If you are going to waste my time, I am going to do what I can to close the deal. I am not doing the work for another dealer.
Sell the car yourself? Good luck! Frankly, I could not care less if the customer sold the car themselves. Let them deal with waiting for customers to get their money together. Let them worry about explaining to customers why their car is a a mess. Let them worry about creeps and weirdoes coming to look at your car.
Before this dope writes a stupid article like this, she should try to do some more research!
Got to a Toyota dealer and you will see why their sales satisfaction rating are amoung the lowest in the industry. Then read NHTSA ratings and see why their vehicles are unsafe. Check financial sites and see why the resale is so low. Bottom line is do buy an overpriced, overrated, unsafe vehicle with poor resale value. To top it off...the treatment at the dealer is horrible.
Be a smart consumer, avoid Toyota, Scion and Lexus. Shop Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, Ford, GM, Chrysler, VW, etc...
When I bought my first car I DID NOT know what I was doing. I did not know what to ask or think of asking. I was convinced that I could trade later, because I needed to establish credit and blah blah. I was 19 working part time and going to school full time, I didn't have help and made bad decisions. I'm not of the group of few Americans, who can put 5,000-15,000 on a car, I needed financing. I don't regret my mistake as it taught me valuable lessons when purchasing my next car. I knew my options, I knew what car sites to look at and knew my numbers. I walked away with a better deal than I ever could imagine. I also, DID NOT feel cheated and f'd with no vaseline when I left. You jus got to go in there with confidence and know what you're talking about. If you go in and don't know anything they will know. Like they say "dogs can smell fear." Dealers can smell a dumb (unknowing) car buyer. LOL!!
The car business is no different from any other profit organization. A good deal is the perception from the person buying a product AND the person selling the product. It has to make sense for both parties for the transaction to work, but that doesn't mean the dealer shouldn't be able to make money on a high dollar product as long as it isn't ridiculous. What's wrong with making 2 or 3 thousand dollars on a Twenty- Thousand dollar product? Go buy a mattress for $2000, the cost is 8 or 900 dollars (over 200%) or a diamond for your girlfriend where the cost is marked up sometimes 1000%. Picking on car dealers is getting old. There are plenty of other companies that make far more money on consumers that car dealers!!
You should do every future car buyer a favor and stop writing these stupid articles about TRICKY CAR DEALERS . As with every business there are good and bad examples but you constantly make all sales people out to be crooked and untrustworthy. It is obvious that you know nothing of how the business really works. The sales person is probably the hardest working of them all, and probably the lowest paid of the bunch. Most of these so called extras are sold in the business office...long after the customer has found what he likes and is about to pay for it. And as for the EXTRAS...if you don't see the value....don't buy them. But for you to claim none of them have any value is completely wrong and misleading...ever seen what grape juice looks like on light cloth interior...fabric protection isn't all bad.
Even WAL-MART offers extended warranty now....and you don't describe their practices as TRICKY.
You should keep your bias opinions to your self and let people make up their own mind!
holy cow.....where are all these stupid people. Switch car dealer for furnitue store and voila....it works or try furnace repair and cleaning......or please dont say you never bought a major appliance, life insurance,health/disability insurance, etc, etc etc. Now if you want to invest in some other community dont forget YOUR TAX dollars go where you buy the car. Your congress and senate just got a raise, did you? Go ahead and see what they are doing for you? I M just wild guessing that the writer of this crap has participated in 50- 100 auto transactions in the last 30 days. YEA hahah Car dealers profit from good loyal business not overcharging for purchasing or repairs. The writer this crap obviously likes cheap crap,products that dont work and has a whole bunch of stuff nobody will fix and I M not going to mention (sit down folks) YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.
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