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Most people dread going to buy a new car for one simple reason, the salesmen. Now I'm not saying all salesmen are out to get you but we've all seen our fair share of deceptive salesmen who use tricks or play on words to get that sale and make that commission. Now days, most car dealerships are trying to become "customer friendly". Dealerships like Saturn and Kia advertise a honest sales staff and a no-haggle sales approach. Consumers are becoming more aware of the games dealerships play and are shying away from those types of dealerships. Once you've been badgered at a dealership, chances are you will not go back and you will not refer them to anyone. Word of mouth is one of the strongest forms of advertising and dealerships know this. Once you weed out the dealerships with poor customer service and poor sales tactics and find one you like and trust, you will be a loyal customer to that dealership and maybe even that particular salesman.
DEALER TRICKS TO BE AWARE OF
To help you find a good dealership and weed through the bad, we've compiled a list of dealer tricks and how to avoid them. If you ever find yourself in any of these situations, don't be afraid to call the salesman on his tactic and leave the dealership. You can also let the salesperson know that you are leaving because of their tricks and that you will not be back to that dealership to buy your new car. If you really wanted to rub it in, as you're leaving the lot tell the salesperson, "I'm appalled by your scams and I will be buying my brand new (name of expensive, top selling car here) at a different dealership."
Just read through our list of dealer tricks so you be on the look out for a trick that they might play on you.
Trick: Controlling the conversation
Salesmen often try to "control the conversation" when making a deal with you for your new car. They have many ways to try to do this but the most popular is asking too many questions and answering all of your questions with questions. They will need to ask several questions in order to determine what you're looking for but once you get past those questions, the rest are designed to keep them in the drivers seat and to not give you a chance to stop and think about what's going on. It's hard to think about what's going on when someone is throwing a million questions at you.
Don't be afraid to ask them for a minute to think or to step outside. You are the one in control, not them. Make sure they understand that. If a salesman is answering all of your questions with questions, ask him repeatedly. Don't answer his question with out having yours answered first. Let him know that you would like your question answered by telling him, "You didn't answer my question" or "You shouldn't answer a question with a question." They don't like to feel as if the control is being taken away but stay calm and firm and turn the conversation into yours. You may have to try a couple of times if they seem unwilling to give up that "control" but sooner or later they will have to concede. If they are stubborn and refuse, ask for a different salesperson or the sales manager. If they will not get one of these people or tell you that everyone else is busy with other customers, leave or go out in the lot and find a different salesperson. If they refuse to make the deal on your terms, there are 10 other salesman walking around the dealership waiting for a potential customer. Go out and grab one.
TRICK: The Rookie
With this scam the salesperson will tell you that they are new on the job, just out of training, in a probation period, and they need to make a few good sales to keep their job as a sales person. To further this trick they will give you business cards with their name hand printed on them because they "need to make those sales before I can get my own personalized business cards." By doing all of this, the salesperson hopes to make you feel as though they are going through this with you as a learning experience and that they are just as new to this as you are. In fact they may even try to make you the teacher so that you feel more in control.
There are two ways to avoid this scam. The first of which is identifying it. Tell the salesman that if he is such a rookie, you really need to see someone who knows about everything you will need. To keep you as his customer, this will force him to start acting as though he know what he is doing. The second is to play along with it and be in charge of the situation. Ask for everything you want and when he says that he doesn't think his sales manager will go for any of that, tell him you need to see his sales manager because his lack of training and experience is not helping you buy your car. Either one of these solutions will make the salesman feel as though his trick isn't working and he'll either shape up or you can deal directly with the sales manager.
TRICK: Disappearing with your trade-in
This is one of the most ridiculous scams out there and I can't believe anyone would buy a car from a dealership that did this. When you go into the dealership, the salesman will ask to see your trade-in vehicle and will ask to let one of his mechanics look over the vehicle to see what they can offer you for the car. He will take your keys and a mechanic will come out and drive off in your car. If you choose not to buy a car or you were just looking in the first place, the salesman will have a hard time trying to locate your car. He will send a fellow salesman to "look for your car, its keys, and the mechanic who's looking it over." Meanwhile this gives him more time to try to talk you into a new car which is the whole point of this trick.
Avoid this scam by calling them on it and by bringing your vehicles extra set of keys. This way when they start to play this game, you can find your car on the lot and get in it and leave. Tell the salesperson that this is unacceptable and that they need to mail you your missing set of keys because you will not be coming back to this dealership ever.
TRICK: The famous question
How many times have you heard a salesman ask, "What do I have to do to get you into this car today?" This is their famous question. All salesmen ask it and for one simple reason, you feel obliged to answer which gives them more leverage to work with. When you answer this question, suddenly they have something else to bargain with. If you tell them it's the payments, they'll tell you they can work on those for you. If you tell them it's the color, they'll tell you they can find your color.
You can avoid the famous question by either telling them that there is nothing that could get you into this car today (unless of course it was free) or simply tell them that the price is just to high. This answer gives you some leverage because now they will try to work with you on the most important aspect, the price of your new car.
TRICK: This is it
A salesman will act as if he has cut every corner for you he could possibly cut and will give you the "this is it" phrase otherwise known as "take it or leave it." When a salesman does this it is to scare you into thinking this is the best you are going to get anywhere so you better buy it now.
When a salesman says this, your best option is to say "leave it" and leave. As you are leaving the salesman will either try to stop you and give you a better deal or let you go if that is in fact his best offer. If this was in fact his best offer, it will still be there if you shop around and then go back.
TRICK: Good vs. bad
This trick is played as there is a good salesman and a bad salesman. Your salesman will act as the good salesman who is supposed to be on your side. He will try to act as though he is willing to help you with anything you need to get into your new car. The part of the bad salesman will be played by another salesman or a sales manager. The good salesman will try to take all of your offers while the bad salesman will shoot down all of them. This is played in order to wear down the customer until they are willing to agree to other terms just to get out of there.
When going through all negotiations, do it one issue at a time. This in turn will wear them down and they will be less likely to shoot down every offer you make.
SCAM: Written in stone
When you go to a dealership they will have extra prices on each car that are "written in stone". These prices are normally ridiculous charges that are just there for dealer profit. These are normally in the form of delivery and handling, advertising costs, fabric coating, or rustproofing. These prices are normally added to a contract without your approval and can be quite costly.
These costs can often be negotiated and deleted from your contract. Don't assume that just because they are written, they can't be removed.
The above tricks are just a few of the games played by dealerships. These can be easily avoided if you know what to look for and how to avoid them. Not all dealerships are "out to get you" but it is best to be alert when entering a dealership just to be on the safe side. Being aware and knowing what you are doing will keep you from entering into a contract you really didn't want.