Don't fall for their dirty tricks!
Car Salesman: "What if I told you this car you're interested in could turn into the Batmobile?" Wife: "We're not that stupid." Husband: "Hold on, honey, let him finish." Yes, a car dealer will say just about anything to get you to sign that contract and drive off the lot. Once that happens, they don't give a fig if the car breaks down or you struggle to make your payments.
Don't even think about returning the car the next day, either. Those car dealers will take off running! Too bad car buying isn't like ordering something off Amazon. Just a few clicks, and it gets dropped on your doorstep by a drone — you can also return it if it’s broken or you don’t like it. Thankfully, though, shady car dealers have been around long enough to have their sneaky antics exposed. Here are five things you should be looking out for:
1. They Run Out The Clock On the surface, buying a car seems simple. There's the car. It has a price. You have a check. Should be a done deal right there. Still, for some reason you can end up at a dealership for four to six hours. If you have a family in tow, then that's like six days in kid time. At some point, you get blinded with exhaustion and are willing to sign anything if you can just get out of the dealership with a car — any car. Those dealers know this. You think every time they go back to "talk to their manager" that they're actually talking to their manager?
They're checking their fantasy football stats. You can flip the script on them, though, by setting your own timetable. For instance, stroll in and tell the dealer you're wanting to take a test drive, and you've got 30 minutes to do it. If it works, then you'll come back the next day to talk numbers
2. They Play On Your Supposed Lack of Knowledge A car dealer knows the average buyer doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about cars. They barely know how to change a tire or find the oil dipstick. Dealers prey on that supposed lack of knowledge by filling the buyer up with all kinds of useless information about undercoats and rack-and-pinion steering. However, thanks to the Internet, you can do your research on any car in a matter of minutes. In fact, 90% of car buyers conduct online research before going to a dealership. Want to know what strikes fear into the heart of a car salesman? A buyer armed with printouts. It's like garlic to a vampire.
3. They Make You Focus on the Payments As you enter into a discussion with a car dealer, they will probably open with, "How much are you looking to pay a month?" as opposed to "What are you looking to spend on a car?" You might think those two things are the same, but in reality it's a way of getting you to think about your monthly costs instead of the final price. That way, they can stretch out the payments to get them lower per month, but you could end up paying several thousand dollars more on the final cost. Your monthly payments are important, but lock down the final price of the car first. Then deal with the financing.
4. They Use the Bait-and-Switch The bait-and-switch is one of the oldest tricks in the book. You'll see a car advertised at an amazing price. It's just what you're looking for! Then when you get to the dealership, lo and behold that car is nowhere on the lot. What happens next is they try to sell you on a different car at a better price but it's still not the car you want. Don't be fooled.
5. They Tell You This Is a One-Time Deal Have you ever driven by a car dealership and found the lot empty? Of course, not. There will always be cars. You might have to be patient to get the deal you want, but don't let a car salesman tell you this is the only time you can get this deal. If you really want to score a deal, then show up a month before the new models are delivered. Those dealers are desperate to make a deal and get those old cars off the lot.
Ultimately, the power of the car purchase rests in your hands, and the greatest power you have is your ability to just walk away. Unless you're buying a car from a relative, you don't owe that strange dealer anything. You don't like the terms? Walk away. They don't have the car you came looking for? Walk away. They're going to charge extra for cup holders? Walk away. Now you can go into a dealership fully armed. It's almost as if you are Batman.