Common car-dealer tricks

When I bought my used Mini Cooper in April, things didn't go exactly as I'd planned. Part of this was because I hadn't done enough research. But a lot of it was because the dealer had some tricks up its sleeve and I did not.

At Car and Driver, Jared Gall has compiled a list of car dealer tricks to watch for when buying a vehicle. He says that the following are common practices:

    • Juggling the foursquare. The “foursquare” is the worksheet on which the salesperson jots down the terms of the deal. It's an easy way for her to manipulate one factor (purchase price, down payment, monthly payments, trade-in value) or another.
    • Profiting from rebates. Gall warns that salespeople often use the presence of a rebate to manipulate buyer psychology. Don't let that happen to you.
    • Inflating payments. The more you're willing to pay each month, the more room the salesperson has to work. The article recommends ignoring the question of monthly payments until you've negotiated the price of the vehicle.
    • Fees and extras. “If it's anything he offers after you've negotiated your sales price, you don't need it and shouldn't pay for it.”
    • Interest-rate bumping. Gall recommends shopping for your own financing before you shop for a vehicle. He also warns that “it is not uncommon for the dealership to secure financing for you at one APR but offer you a rate one percentage point higher — and then pocket the difference.” Be careful. 
    • Altering the bill of sale. Some dealers will leave the contract open-ended. Don't allow this. Don't sign anything with blanks or undefined terms. Be sure the paperwork is complete before you leave the lot.

Gall says there are several other tricks that dealers use, though these are especially underhanded. “If a dealership pulls any of these stunts on you, it doesn't deserve your business,” he writes.

  • Ransoming your check.
  • Eavesdropping.
  • Lying about your credit score.
  • Misplacing trade-in keys.

For more information on these tricks and how to cope with them, check out the full article at Car and Driver.

Remember: These folks play this game for a living. Even if you go into a deal armed with good information and a knowledge of dealer tricks, you can still be manipulated. You're an amateur negotiator, and you're playing with professionals.

The dealer trick that got me isn't on Gall's list. When I went to look at my Mini Cooper, I was greeted by a young man who'd only been on the job for two weeks. After I test drove the car, we sat down to negotiate. I talked him down from $17,000 to $15,000 and was very pleased with myself. But then he fetched the “closer”, whose sole task was to talk me up from that $15,000 number. I had essentially told the dealer how much I was willing to pay, and the closer was there to get me to pay more. And I did. I paid $15,600.

The young salesman did a follow-up call a week after I bought the car. He was doing a survey to ask me about my experience. I told him it was fine except that I didn't like dealing with the closer. I felt like I had been manipulated by him. “Yeah,” he said. “You shouldn't listen to him. He talks a lot, but he's full of shit. He wants to sell that car. You had more power in that situation than you think.”

Lesson learned.

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Martin
Martin
11 years ago

“He talks a lot, but he’s full of shit.”

That describes just about every successful sales person I’ve ever met. And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

The most effective way to deal with them is to get out of your seat and head for the door. The only thing that will change their tactics is when they realize, “oh crap, I’m about to lose this sale.”

Lee Cleveland
Lee Cleveland
7 years ago
Reply to  Martin

This of course doesn’t apply to all the comments on here. I think there is a valid reason behind being cautious when working with anyone for anything. I have seen crooked mechanics, crooked sales people, crooked teachers, crooked lawyers, cops and PEOPLE. Not everyone has good in them but no one group should ever be deemed as a whole. There is a golden rule out there that says “treat others the way you wish to be treated.” If you don’t like talking to who you are talking to then move on. I’m one that has never caterogized any one group… Read more »

Paul in cAshburn
Paul in cAshburn
11 years ago

Remember, to offset the dealer’s asymmetrical information balance, the internet is the dealer’s enemy, and your friend, when buying a car. If there’s any way for you to have internet access while at the dealer, do it (bring a friend with a laptop if you don’t have one). You can check prices on similar cars at other locations either online or by calling, you can check for rebates so you’ll know what the dealer should be able to offer, you can shop interest rates, and you can read reviews of the dealership and tactics dealers may be using on you… Read more »

Michael
Michael
11 years ago

I’d like to know how he talked you into paying $600 MORE than you already negotiated? Please give us a few more details about that so we can avoid it ourselves…

Pete
Pete
11 years ago

Car salesmen hate me! I do three things (besides the obvious things like doing your homework on the car and being willing to walk away, etc.) that give me the power: 1. I never use dealer financing. I call my credit union and have the loan pre-approved at a very low APR before I walk in. I refuse to discuss payments, only the price of the car. 2. I never trade in. I sell my old car, or usually keep it until it’s junk. (Obviously I don’t buy a lot of cars!) 3. I refuse to negotiate anything but “on… Read more »

scott
scott
7 years ago
Reply to  Pete

hey Pete.glad its all fun and games to you but lets not forget no one works for free… is $2-$3 hundred dollars to much for a guy who works 50hrs or more a week trying to make a living.or is it fun for you to cheat him out of all his commission.Please tell us what you do for a living, wondering if there are any profits made in your industry…..people just do your home work on pricing and that will let you know if your salesman earned your business or walk away

Charlie
Charlie
7 years ago
Reply to  scott

It’s not the salesman who sets the price, yet he is the one who suffers when after hours of working with you, only for you to walk out over 1-3 hundred bucks on a HUGE purchse! We have familys to and if the car is right and the dealer did his job, is that worth anything to you. I get it we don’t have the best rep, but a large dealer can’t survive ripping people off.

Jimmy
Jimmy
5 years ago
Reply to  Charlie

Charlie, If you think someone shouldn’t walk over $100-$300, how about you pay it out of your pocket to make the deal. Funny how easy it is for people to say a few bucks doesn’t make a difference until it is their money. The buyer has mouths to feed at home too.

Lee Cleveland
Lee Cleveland
7 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Don’t have a trade, great! Less for me to “negotiate” with. Often people are shocked that they Sell it yourself, it makes everyone’s job easier… Other than you and the time you spend. Oh, and you will likely run into yourself or others that don’t want to pay what it is worth and will haggle with you over what they think is fair vs what it actually is worth or availability. Good luck and take your time! Have your own financing! Or cash! Even better! This will save the dealership time as they now no longer have to use their… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 years ago
Reply to  Lee Cleveland

I’ve been in auto sales for over 12 years. It’s a great way to make a living! My wife is a stay at home Mom and we have 2 kids and a nice house and 2 nice cars. People come in to my dealership all the time with boxing gloves on before they even tell me their name. The idea for me is to keep life simple. I’m not trying to cure cancer, I’m just selling a car. If you are polite, and respectful, I’ll be more than happy to help. If you want to argue and pretend that you… Read more »

Nithin
Nithin
5 years ago
Reply to  Pete

I totally agree with you Pete! I dont understand what these people are bragging about. Its not about ripping off the dealer or eating away the salesman’s commission. Almost always, even if they sell it off a few hundreds or even a couple of thousand dollars off the MSRP, dealers still make profits. Salesmen have quota to meet and commission brackets. You never know what they are willing to give away… if your single purchase is all that it needed for them to jump into the next commission bracket. Salesman will not sell it without his commission. The dealer will… Read more »

Ryan
Ryan
11 years ago

@Martin: This is why I avoided any face to face interaction with a dealer until the last possible moment. Why even go through the effort of playing hard to get in person?

Before I had even stepped foot in a showroom I e-mailed every Honda dealer in the area for a quote, and then took the best quote back to all the others (this happened for a few rounds) until I had reached a bottom.

THEN i came in, e-mail in hand, ready to test drive.

Ron@TheWisdomJournal
11 years ago

And car salespeople wonder why they’re hated by most of the population!

The fact is, most of these tactics are in use by any number of retailers. Preparation is the key … and the willingness to walk away from any deal that starts to go in a direction you don’t want.

Hint: read Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson. That book is worth thousands of dollars in what it can save you!

J.D.
J.D.
11 years ago

Michael (#3) wrote: I’d like to know how he talked you into paying $600 MORE than you already negotiated? It was a thing of beauty on his part — or a thing of idiocy on my part (or both). After looking at the car and test-driving it, I sat down with the young salesman and we went through negotiations. His rebuttals and counter-arguments seemed week, which I attributed to him being on the job for just two weeks. He had a piece of paper on which he wrote the figures we were discussing. When we got to $15,000, he told… Read more »

Sandy E.
Sandy E.
11 years ago

To avoid all this, because it is real and many of those things do happen, I plan to do my homework, then buy from private individuals. I know I will save money that way, and I can save to pay with cash, or get my own financing. I wouldn’t have any qualms test-driving some cars though at dealerships, to help me decide which one to buy, but not from them!

JerichoHill
JerichoHill
11 years ago

When I bought our Car, i did my research and then fax-bombed all the dealerships in our state. I took the best offer to the dealership nearest us with the best reputation, and asked them to beat it. Further, I had a check filled out with the amount I wanted to pay. My pitch was that all they had to do was put their name on it, and its their’s. It saved me alot of hassle of the pressure sales after the sale and paperwork, though I did nearly walk out because the sales manager didn’t think I was serious… Read more »

Jason
Jason
11 years ago

Other tips: 1. Sell your car rather than trading it in. You’ll walk in with cash and won’t have to take a bath on your used car. 2. I’ll echo the “monthly payment” thing. Never, never, NEVER, NEVER let a car salesman know what you can pay per month. Figure out what you can afford and run the numbers before you walk in, then work on the car price. Because the payment thing leads right to leasing … which leads to #3. 3. Avoid leases like the plague. You end up with nothing at the end of the term, the… Read more »

clay
clay
8 years ago
Reply to  Jason

Other tips: 1. if you trade your car in you will save on taxes and not have to deal with things like craigslist, ebay and more advertising. 2. I ask my customers what they can pay strictly so that i dont land them on too much vehicle. they do usually end up paying more but only because the “research” they do is not accurate research. they essentially want wine on a beer budget. 3. while a lease is not the right option for EVERY customer it IS the ONLY way to guarantee no negative equity in 3 years. the average… Read more »

Jason W.
Jason W.
11 years ago

I think you’re looking at a unique situation with your Mini vs. the average purchase. Most people are buying transportation and they can follow strict rules about not being sold on the car before they walk on the lot. In the case of someone shopping for a specific car, you’re going to end up paying a little more to get what you want (though with patience you can still avoid being taken for a “ride”). After I climbed out of debt and resigned myself to mundane daily transportation I was able to save up and pay cash for a shiny… Read more »

AD
AD
11 years ago

How do these people sleep at night? I could never work at a job that requires me to deceive unsuspecting customers all day long.

When I bought my first car, I didn’t know anything at all. They tried to sell me on 7.5 percent interest, telling me it was a great interest rate for someone so young. My dad said to call my credit union, who offered at 5.25 percent, which the dealership quickly offered to match. It’s disgusting.

retired
retired
11 years ago

I the world before computers I did my research by phone. I was in the Army at the time buying my first car. I asked the guys on base which cars they worked on the most what ones seemed to run better and ended up choosing the Toyota. I called several dealers getting quotes. Called my bank, drove to the one with the lowest price along with the “guys on base”. Color did not matter to me. At that time radio and AC were options. I began the interaction by asking for the car I was quoted the price over… Read more »

Artist
Artist
11 years ago

I’m approaching the time period when I will have to start looking for a new car. The article & follow-up comments have been very helpful. Completely new to me was Pete’s term “road price”. I really like that concept & plan on working for that. My most successful negotiation was my last one where I had secured low APR financing from my credit union up front & did not have a trade-in. That said, I was taken advantage of when the salesman promised to add on factory cruise control, but when I picked it up, they had installed a cheap… Read more »

falnfenix
falnfenix
11 years ago

another truly dirty trick dealers will play on customers: they’ll claim the trade-in has been sold. this often happens before everything is finalized. they seem to use this tactic on those who are less well informed.

Todd @ The Personal Finance Playbook
Todd @ The Personal Finance Playbook
11 years ago

If you find a deal on the internet, print it out and take it in with you. Don’t get it out until they tell you that they couldn’t possibly go below “x.” These tend to be near rock bottom prices, because their focus is on getting you to the lot. Keep yourself armed with that. At that point, they’ve put themselves in the position that JD was in – we’ll sell the car for this, and they can’t make a higher offer than that.

Sarah L.
Sarah L.
11 years ago

There was a great article on edmunds.com awhile back called “Confessions of a Car Salesman.” It’s under the Tips & Advice tab on their site, along with some other good articles about negotiating. In the “Confessions” article, an edmunds.com reporter went undercover and actually became a car salesman. You’ll learn a lot.

Donna
Donna
11 years ago

The best way to avoid these slimy tactics is to not buy from a dealer. Save yourself tons of of money and buy used cars from private sellers. Or, save up the cash to buy a car from a dealer. Then you never get screwed on financing. Unless you are stupid, my step dad works for a BMW dealership and convinced a doctor (who had planned on paying cash for his BMW) to finance it instead. Told him that he was probably making more on his money in savings than he would be paying in finance charges. Unreal. Never mind… Read more »

deb
deb
11 years ago

My favorite story about buying a car is when we had already settled on a price (it had the manager’s signature on it) but the salesman added a sneaky $795.00 charge to the final number. When I asked about it he told me it was for automatic transmission and he knew I wouldn’t be happy with a manual transmission. Huh? The car we were looking at only came in automatic. I told him that and he replied with something about “how did I expect him to make a profit on the amount we agreed on”. It was a filthy dirty… Read more »

John B
John B
11 years ago

I agree with those who say to obtain outside financing first. I bought my Mini new and it was all pretty low pressure except when they tried to get me to use their financing or lease the vehicle. I refused and explained I already had financing in place. I just wanted to find a car I liked. My situation was a little unusual in that I went to buy one of the new redesigned 2007 models after they had only received their first shipment of them. There were only about 8 on the lot and another 50 or 60 on… Read more »

MattL
MattL
11 years ago

When I purchased my car, they agreed to $1000.00 for my trade-in but only put $800 on the actual paper work.

These dirty tricks are why people don’t trust car salesman.

Mike
Mike
11 years ago

A year and a half ago I bought my first car from a dealer. I had always bought my mom’s old car from her when she got a new one. Unfortunately, I was in a position where I NEEDED a car immediately. My car was leaking brake, and transmission fluid, and either one of them could go any minute. In fact, when I pulled on the lot to pick up the new car, my brakes BARELY stopped the car. I had done very little research, and was undoubetdly taken advantage of. I don’t think I came out too bad on… Read more »

mary b
mary b
11 years ago

It is crazy how many hoops we have to jump through when buying a car!
Love the follow-up comment from your salesman.

A great book with tips on the process is Don’t Get Taken Every Time by Remar Sutton. It follows a car salesman named “Killer”, and makes for an entertaining read.

micah d
micah d
11 years ago

I can’t believe that on a personal finance blog there are some many people talking about financing a car like it’s no big deal. Buying new cars is just stupid. Buying used cars on payments means you’re buying too much car and you can’t afford it. I would think it might be OK to borrow $2-3k for a really basic car in certain situations but borrowing 5, 10, 15 thousand dollars is completely ridiculous. Seriously, can you do math? Didn’t J.D. save and pay cash for his mini? I think that’s a great story and an inspiration for all the… Read more »

frugalscholar
frugalscholar
11 years ago

I think salespeople will always have the upper hand, mainly because they do this ALL DAY and also have knowledge the customer does not have (like how much they paid for the car). The above suggestions help even things out a little, but I don’t think they can even be even. One other suggestion: go in as a team with spouse or friend. the spouse or friend can be the bad cop. This creates a bit of asymmetry and can also counter the salesperson/closer duo.

Paul
Paul
11 years ago

It’s a game, pure and simple – you are there to obtain a vehicle while separating with as little cash as possible, and the salesperson is there to make sure that you are separated with as much cash as possible. However, know this – the salesperson does not know what you are WILLING to pay, and you do not know what the salesperson is WILLING to accept for the car. Those are the only variables. That being said, go into the purchase with as much information as you can – internet, Consumer Reports, etc. Don’t go in there blind because… Read more »

Linear Girl
Linear Girl
11 years ago

I honestly think articles about being wary of car dealers just set a person up to lose before he or she walks into the showroom. Just by trying to figure out the dealer’s game you’ve given up your own power (you’ve got the money and the choices!) and conceded to play by the dealer’s rules. JerichoHill has the right idea: Know what you want to buy before you go. Know how much you want to pay before you go. Get quotes to remind yourself you’ve got options (and bring them with you to remind the dealer of your options, too).… Read more »

KF
KF
11 years ago

I disagree with part of your posting. The only reason that things “didn’t go as planned” is because you didn’t do your research, NOT because the dealer had a “trick” that you didn’t. You spent over a year researching the purchase of a new mini. You spent next to zero time researching the purchase of a used mini and essentially did it by the seat of your pants even though it’s the biggest purchase you’ll make outside of a house. An hour of internet research would have revealed every “trick” that a dealer could have used on you. Buying from… Read more »

Ryan
Ryan
11 years ago

@Jason W.: When talking to dealers subsequent times, I explicitly mentioned the other dealer’s name who gave me the best offer, what their quote was, and the fact I was interested strictly in price, and not incentives (in the event that they couldn’t match the price but tried to offer additional warranties). It was usually just a short e-mail like “I’ve been looking around, and [Other Honda Dealer’s Name] gave me a quote of [amount], which is lower than your previous quote. Can you beat their figure?” You pretty much just do this until none of your dealers can go… Read more »

JerryB
JerryB
11 years ago

Always shop for a new car (or any large purchase for that matter) as close to the last day of the month as you possibly can. Before you start negotiating the price always ask the person if s/he is authorized to actually make the deal. If not, ask politely to speak with the person who can. Inadvertently I learned a new trick on my last purchase. Look at a clunker, “It’s what I can afford,” then fall in love with the newer more expensive car you’re really looking at. My last car purchase was about as pleasant as car buying… Read more »

clay
clay
8 years ago
Reply to  JerryB

im a certified toyota and scion salesman. you can NOT negotiate off of scions prices. period and end of story. your story is fictional

friend
friend
11 years ago

I like JerichoHill (#10)’s idea of walking in with a check already made out, and they only have to put their name on it to close the deal. That is powerful, and I haven’t heard of that before. We finally replaced our 1990 Honda Civic last week with a 2009 Honda Civic. There are lots of Honda dealers within a hundred-mile radius, so I got e-mail quotes from a handful, went two rounds with a couple of them, then went for a test drive in the car we were pretty sure we wanted. It turned out we wanted a slightly… Read more »

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

Good article. When I bought my first car I made every mistake in the book and got completely fleeced – I walked into the dealer needing to buy a car that very day (because my company car was being returned), I overpaid for the car I selected, and then got put on a horrendous finance plan with worse-than-credit-card interest rates and huge admin fees for early payment (meaning refinancing was expensive). Unsurprisingly, the dealership sent me a Christmas card that year. On the bright side, it was the last lesson about debt I ever needed and it prompted me to… Read more »

clay
clay
8 years ago
Reply to  Russ

just 2 things. you cant overpay for a car at a dealership the banks will NOT let you. second thing is you stated you bought your “first” car. what kind of interest rate do you expect for a first time buyer with no credit? the average is 17% and goes up!

Chris
Chris
11 years ago

I followed all of this advice when I bought my new car in February – except for the paying cash part. Unfortunately, I got in a wreck which totalled my car and I hadn’t saved up enough to purchase the new one I wanted. Armed with information from that helpful article, “Confessions of a Car Salesman”, I got a great rate from my credit union, negotiated prices using quotes on the internet from 5 different dealers, and bought my new Toyota with over 50% down. I do have one issue with the advice, though. After the price is negotiated and… Read more »

brian
brian
11 years ago

What worked for me was, after you get the sales person to as low of a price as you think you can get , let them know you need to do more research on the price of comparable vehicles and you’ll get back to them. When I did this the sales person let me use their computer. I went to autotrader and within minutes found the exact same car with 10,000 less miles for a cheaper asking price than the negotiated price at the place I was at. I asked the sales person if he knew where such and such… Read more »

Chetan
Chetan
11 years ago

I’m surprised that people get conned time and again on the same old tactics from dealers. I recently (6 months ago) bought a user Honda Accord. My specs were crystal clear – not more than 20K miles old, not more than 2 years old, Auto transmission, 6 cylinders and not older than 2007. Other features were not that important to me. I checked all the dealer websites around my area and zeroed in on two finalists. Checked the prices on both over the phone, took written quotes from both and used one to get the other to negotiate down. And… Read more »

Shawanda
Shawanda
11 years ago

I negotiated the price of my 2007 Honda Civic 100% over the Internet. Largely out of fear that I’d allow a salesperson to sucker me into paying more for a car than I was willing during a face to face negotiation. I learned from an article on Edmunds.com that you should make sure you ask for the “out the door” price which includes tax, tag, title, destination charges, etc. I also made it clear to each salesperson that I would not be paying for any dealer upgrades even if they were already included on the car I wanted. I’m convinced… Read more »

JT
JT
11 years ago

What about the fleet dealer? They are a completely different breed than the private seller or the traditional dealership. Personaly, I’m forcasting that as information becomes more abundant on the internet and the world gets smaller, the traditional “relationship management” of a local dealership is going to become less and less. This was fascinating read (particularly the comments) since I just bought a car yesterday. I’ve been seriously shopping for the last six months so I felt well in touch with the current market. One thing that I couldn’t find on the internet was how to deal with high volume,… Read more »

Matt B.
Matt B.
11 years ago

A while back my mom sent me to negotiate a new car purchase for her, as she’s (1) routinely treated terribly by salesmen, (2) had been taken badly in the past, and (3) I’m a lawyer so I’m supposed to be able to negotiate — still waiting to confirm that one. I knew exactly what she wanted, and what options she did not want — in this case, a sun-roof. Not only because we both find them useless, but also because it added about $1,000 to the cost of the car. There were some other smaller options as well, but… Read more »

Klug
Klug
11 years ago

Don’t fall for the “You Win” written next to a new offer. Annoying and I fell for it. Damn.

jeffreyz
jeffreyz
11 years ago

after 20 years and 6 cars, my recommendations: 1. never buy a new car. too much value loss in the first year. instead buy a used vehicle with 15K miles or less, only one or two years old. still lots of warranty left. 2. buy from a wholesaler. they get their vehicles directly from wholesale auctions (like manheim, adessa, etc) where the new car dealers sell the tradeins, lease expires, etc. its costs $375 over auction price, which covers the auction transaction fee and 200 for the wholesaler. 3. use consumer reports to research vehicles. 4. sell used vehicle via… Read more »

heidi
heidi
11 years ago

As a psych major, I recently took a class on social influence and persuasion. One of the books we read was “Influence: Science and Practice” by Robert Cialdini. I would recommend this book to all consumers (which, really, is everyone!). He discusses the most commonly used (and powerful) influence tactics, how to recognize them when they are being used against you, and most importantly, how to fight against them. It’s amazing how much more aware of these tactics you become, and how easy it really is to recognize them, once you know them. I would consider this book absolutely invaluable!

davidson07
davidson07
11 years ago

@Linear Girl – this is exactly right, and is the principle that Malcolm Gladwell advocates in Outliers. Basically, as JD recognizes, we’re the “Davids” in the process and the dealers are “Goliaths” because they sell cars for a living. According to Gladwell, when David plays by Goliath’s rules, he loses. When David ignores Goliath’s rules, he catches Goliath off guard and he wins. Pretty simple really. I agree that so much advice out there is focused on how to beat car dealers at their own game. I like advice that breaks the rules entirely, stuff like: 1) Pay cash –… Read more »

davidson07
davidson07
11 years ago

@Michah d – I’m also surprised at just how casually everyone is discussing financing one the most highly depreciable assets available. Between this and JD’s podcast on “how important your credit score is” (answer: not at all if you don’t buy stuff with credit), I’m starting to feel I’m in the pages of SmartMoney.

Elliot
Elliot
11 years ago

The last car I bought was purchased through my credit union’s auto buying service. They called around for the best price (on the then-new honda civic, in demand at the time) in the state and got me the *exact* car I wasnted for a price well under sticker when most dealerships were trying to charge *over* sticker. The entire process was hassle free, and the car was even driven to me. I had the pleasure of sitting at my kitchen table, filling out the paperwork in the comfort of my own home. I doubt I’m going to bother with dealerships… Read more »

jeffreyz
jeffreyz
11 years ago

@heidi – i looked this up on amazon – great recommendation. apparently there is another version of the same book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” that is cheaper since it is not the text book version. @12.23 on amazon.

David
David
11 years ago

We just bought a new 2009 Honda Odyssey.

I had been studying for a while, getting quotes, etc, and told the dealer that we weren’t in a hurry. I did everything I could to give him as least leverage as possible.

I told him that I was not interested in discussing monthly payments and that I wanted to negotiate only in “out the door” prices with full disclosure of all associated fees in that cost.

They must have wanted to sell vans pretty bad; I got the van “out the door” for over $6k less than sticker.

J.D.
J.D.
11 years ago

Davidson07 wrote: Between this and JD’s podcast on “how important your credit score is” (answer: not at all if you don’t buy stuff with credit), I’m starting to feel I’m in the pages of SmartMoney.

Ouch! Tough crowd. 🙂

Tony in KS
Tony in KS
11 years ago

I DISAGREE WITH OUTSIDE FINANCING – there I said it, now that I have your attention. A reputable dealer may be able to save you some leg work in finding the best rate. I recently was quoted 5.7% for a 2006 used vehicle from a major bank. I told the dealer not to bother with a credit app but he said he would tell them my quoted rate. Assuming you have good credit, I told the dealer they would have to beat 5.3%(why not?!) and they came back with 5.04%!!! I don’t disagree with shopping rates, but don’t count out… Read more »

rb
rb
11 years ago

Great info. Another article on car buying tactics was on Edmonds.com called “Confessions of a Car Salesman”. It is a bit long, but the journalist went undercover as a salesman at 2 car dealers and reveals all the underhanded tactics they use. These salesmen lack integrity to be considered human.

rxjohnk
rxjohnk
11 years ago

I have bought a few cars (all used) in the past year with varying degrees of pressure and sneaky tactics. Two I purchased from a high school friend – these were the easiest, and the transactions that I felt were the most honest. I paid $4000 less than asking price on an 8 year old truck ($5000 plus tax) and $1000 less than Blue Book private party value on a year-old sedan. In both of these instances, I think the stars were aligned… The salesman told me they basicly stole the truck on a trade-in, they offered him about $4000… Read more »

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