Watch Out for These Dealer Tricks

May 10, 2012

While most car dealers tend to play fairly and won’t take you to the cleaners, there are still plenty that will try to extract every penny from unsuspecting buyers.

Many people avoid going to dealers because of the fear of being ripped off. But if you know how to play the game then your chances of scoring a great deal increases three fold.

Take the following into consideration when negotiating your next deal.

Manufacturer Rebates
Manufacturer rebates are an effective way to entice customers into dealerships. You’ll normally see rebates ranging from one to two thousands dollars off MSRP. That’s an awesome deal if you ask me.

But don’t let a salesman lead you into believing he’s doing you a favor by knocking two grand off the purchase price. These rebates come directly from the manufacturer and will apply regardless of the price you negotiate.

Negotiate as if the rebate isn’t in the picture. A car salesman may act like he’s doing you a favor but it’s only an act. These people are some of the best actors in the world.

The Inevitable Monthly Question
“How much you are willing to pay each month?” If a salesman doesn’t ask this question then he should be fired from his job.

If you do give out a number then consider the game over.

It’s the same thing as when you’re on a job interview. If you give out a number then you are giving the edge to the opponent. Tell the dealer you are only interested in negotiating the selling price.

Who cares if the dealer is willing to give you low monthly payments? The important thing is negotiating the final selling price.

Model Upgrade
A salesman might say something like “For only an extra 18 dollars a week you can buy the Limited Edition instead of the Base model.”

Eighteen dollars a week may not sound like much but stretched over 60 months it will end up costing you nearly five thousand dollars with interest.

It’s all too easy to get fixated on the low weekly/monthly payments. Focus on the final price and you’ll be in a much better position to negotiate a decent price.

Options
Many dealers make most of their money off of options and accessories. Here they will try to sell you undercarriage rust protection, navigation system, window VIN etching, etc.

Many dealers charge over a grand for an in-dash GPS device. Talk about a huge markup. I’d rather head over to Best Buy and buy a decent one for two hundred dollars and stick it on the windshield. I mean really, how often do you use your GPS?

Don’t blame the dealer for selling you this junk though. They are only trying to maximize their profits off of you.

Extended Warranty
Don’t believe a salesman who tries to convince you that you need an extended warranty. They may try to scare you by giving examples of friends they know that got burned because of major repairs after the standard warranty expired.

But the chances of a major mechanical breakdown after the standard warranty expires is slim. Remember that extended warranties do not cover standard maintenance items such as timing belts, alternators, batteries, oil changes, etc.

It’s expensive to buy these warranties, often over a thousand dollars, and a huge profit for the dealer. It’s almost like flushing money down the toilet.

Misplacing Your Keys
This is a cheap tactic that a lot of dealers use to make you stay longer. You give the dealer the keys to your car so that they can evaluate your trade-in. They test drive your car and then somehow “misplace” your keys. Now you’re stuck at the dealership.

It gives them more time to convince you into buying from them. If you’re ever in this situation you need to get out of there fast. Dealers that do this are unscrupulous and may have other tricks up their sleeves. Get up and demand your keys back.

Image Source: Vecci

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