How Car Dealers Can Rip You Off

by Shenron on September 4, 2009

It’s probably no secret that when you go to buy a new car, you’re getting the short end of the stick on the deal. But what actually happens when you step onto the lot to buy a new vehicle? It’s a big psychological game that will most surely suck you in if you’re not ready for it. So, let’s get inside the head of a car dealership and see how they go about squeezing every last penny out of your wallet, leaving you with a mediocre car and an empty bank account.

Car Dealers How Car Dealers Can Rip You Off

1. You Want a Car : You’re done from the moment you walk on the lot. Once you step foot onto the dealership lot and express any type of interest in buying a vehicle, you’ve already set yourself up for failure. The most common mistake people make when they go to buy a car is that they tell the dealers just that. Once they know your intent for the day was to buy a car, they know that you’re there to stay. If they ask you “How you folks doin’ today? Can I help you?” Under no circumstances should you give an answer that indicates your interest in buying anything. You’re there to browse.

2. The Price : You probably already knew this but the price on the window of the car you’re wanting to buy is much more than the car is worth. Obviously the dealerships have to make some type of profit on every vehicle they sell otherwise they wouldn’t be able to stay in business. But on the flipside of that argument is you, the consumer. You want to be able to pay the most reasonable price possible for a vehicle without taking out a second mortgage. Know that prices are inflated and that you have room to negotiate.

3. Surveys : After you’ve bought a car from a dealership they may ask you to take a survey about the buying experience. Under no circumstances should you complete the survey and give it back to them. While they may entice you with a few air fresheners and some new rugs, just don’t do it. Why? Because in some cases, not all (some dealers are in fact trustworthy), your information is sold to third parties. But the biggest problem is that your survey probably won’t end up with who it should. Some dealerships are required to have customers fill out a certain number of surveys every month and in the process, the free gifts they offer you are to get you to fill out better rankings. Don’t get fooled. If you’ve got to fill out a survey, do it directly through the car manufacturer.

4. No First Payment : Hell, we’ve all heard this one before. Car dealerships offering to pay your first month or two for you is complete bogus. The money they’re “paying” every month for your car payment is already built into the price. You’ve already paid for the first two months ON THE FRONT END. Don’t be fooled. If you want that cash, have them take it off the price, not off of the monthly payments.

5. Extended Warranties : These are the biggest scams that I’ve ever seen. Extended warranties can be a very good thing if they come prepackaged with the vehicle. Many times a new vehicle will come with a warranty from the factory, which is great. But as soon as your car dealer starts offering you warranties that you have to pay for, walk away. The likelihood of your vehicle failing isn’t high up on the list. But, if it does fail, the amount of money you’ll probably pay to get it fixed will be far less than the total amount you’ve paid for a warranty. Stores have been doing it for years and the warranty game is almost a business in and of itself.

6. “Let me talk to my manager” : When you’re sitting in the meager office awaiting the final quote on the car you want, it’s over. When the salesman left, he probably asked you to write down on a piece of paper what you think is a reasonable price to pay for a car. If it gets to this point, be ready to walk away. Remember that you have control in the situation despite what you might be led to believe. Don’t think that you have to write down a price on the piece of paper. It’s their job to sell to you, not the other way around. When you write something down and they go and “talk to the manager,” they know what you’re willing to pay. That’s it, the deal is done. They don’t even need to talk to anyone. If the price you wrote down is higher than their lowest price, you just made a sale.

7. Final Offer : When they bring you the sheet of paper with their final offer, leave. While they do have a bottom line for vehicles, what you’re looking at isn’t it. If you’re not dead set on buying a car that very instant, get out of your chair and make your way to the door. Just for fun, time how long it takes for them to jump up and shout “Wait!” You should clock in somewhere around 2.4 seconds. There’s always more room to negotiate.

Car Dealers 5 How Car Dealers Can Rip You Off

8. Resetting the Odometer : This last tip regards something that is actually very illegal and if you ever come across a dealership doing it, contact the authorities immediately. The odometer measures how many miles a car has driven. It is very easy to go into the odometer and reset its mileage count. This would of course make you think you’re getting a great deal on a car that seems almost new. But in reality, you’re getting a terrible deal on a car that has driven more miles than it’s fit for. If that 98 Honda Civic only has 8 miles on it, things are fishy.

Those were some of the ways car dealers have been ripping off buyers for years. If you know of any hidden tricks that these crooked car dealers use to lure you into buying a car that is priced more than what it’s worth, we would love to hear it through your comments.

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8 Subtle Ways a Car Dealer Can Rip You Off | Low Loan Refinancing
September 4, 2009 at 11:45 am

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Greg September 8, 2009 at 11:18 pm

When is the last time Nick Roberts shopping for a vehicle..1984? This story looks like a reprint from days gone by. Over 80 % of consumers use the Internet to research the vehicles they are interested in, so they know what a “fair price” to pay is. Surveys are the Manufacturers way of measuring customer satisfaction with their product and the dealer…Privacy laws prevent the sale of information obtained in the buying process. Some manufacturers do indeed pay first, second, and third payments in leiu of other discounts…the money works out to be the same. Extended warranties are now simply “life” insurance for your vehicle…people do want to be protected from a large repair bill that they may not be able to afford. Any reputable dealer has a subscription to AutoCheck or Carfax to provide.


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