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Tricks That Car Salesman Use To Cheat You

Updated on August 20, 2020

Tricks That Car Dealers Use To Get More Money From You

Long before the automotive age arrived, the village horse trader earned his living by buying old horses cheap and selling them at high prices, all the while neglecting to tell buyers of any faults they had or their real age. Just like the horse traders of yesteryear, modern day car salesmen are proficient at using a variety of tricks and techniques to extract more money than would be considered fair from their customers. Everyone deserves to make a profit, including your local car dealership, but the industry has a long reputation of taking advantage of unsuspecting customers. What are some of the tricks that car salesmen use? Here are a few of the most common ones:

Trick Number One: I'm Your Friend And I'm Here to Help You!

First off, (some) car salesmen will try to convince you that he or she has your best interests at heart, and that they only want to put you in the best car that they have, while saving you money in the process. In most cases nothing could be farther from the truth. His or her goal is to extract as much money from you as possible on the transaction. Always remember that many car salesman are expert amateur psychologists, and they have most likely sized you up from the moment that you arrived onto the dealer's lot. They can often tell by the way you talk, how you dress and what questions you ask exactly what kind of customer you will be and how much money you can afford to pay.

First off never offer the car salesman your drivers license, social security number or address during the “ just looking” phase of buying a new or used car. That's because the salesman can use your personal information to quickly determine your credit score. Once they know your credit score, they can determine how to negotiate with you based on the strength or weakness of your credit rating. If you have a poor credit rating the salesman will often focus on the monthly payment amount, not the bottom - line price of the car. After the car salesman has requested some form of identification from you, they may hand it off to one of their associates and then begin to make small talk with you while a check on your credit score is done. A few moments later the salesman will receive a phone call, note, or maybe even just a nod or shake of the head from the cubicle next door letting him know if you have a good or bad credit score.

The car salesman may often want to chat with you for a few moments about your family, sports teams that you like, etc.. This is the first step in making you believe they are your new best friend and in disarming you for their sales tactics that come next.

Do Your Research About The Vehicle You Want at Home

The dealership is not the place to do research on the particular vehicle you want to buy. Find out things like average fuel economy, crash test ratings, and manufacturers warranty on the Internet before going to the dealership. Asking these questions of a salesman on the car dealership's lot can result in misinformation and open yourself up for more of the salesman's tactics. One Way to disarm a car salesman is to say “no thank you, I'm very familiar with the car, I recently test drove the same model”. The test drive is one way that a car salesman will try to get you emotionally attached to the vehicle. If you show them you're more concerned about bottom-line price than anything else, you'll stand a better chance of getting a good deal.

The Tag Team Approach

Some car salesman, like wolves or sharks, will often work together as a team as they try to extract more money from you. If you have a poor credit score, the salesman may introduce you to a member of their team who can “work wonders” for “people in your circumstances”.

The "Last Of Its Kind" Close

College business students learn about this kind of closing technique in Marketing 101. It goes by various names, including the "Impending Doom closing", and "Standing Room Only closing", etc. After learning that you have an emotional attachment to the car he is offering you, the salesman will try and convince you that if you do not buy it now you will lose out on a good deal, or possibly even miss the chance of becoming a car owner period. If you attach yourself to one color of car, brown for example, you have just made the car salesman's job a lot easier. He may tell you that he is going to go inside the dealership to "run a search" of other dealerships in the area for another car like the one you like, perhaps one with less expensive features, but of course he will come back in a few minutes with no cars like it found within a five hundred mile radius. Chances are, if you call some other dealerships on your own, you will find another brown car, perhaps at an even better price.

Passing Notes Back and Forth

The passing of notes back and forth between the salesman and their managers is probably one of the most annoying tactics used today by car salesman. This tactic is often used in the final stage of the process to try and convince you that a real, honest to goodness, negotiation is happening. Notes will be passed back and forth with your offer and their offer, and numbers will get scratched out while the dealer writes new ones next to them. All this is designed to make you think that you're tough negotiator who striking a hard bargain. Before any notes were even passed the dealer knew exactly how much you were going to pay for the car.

The Internet Special

Many modern consumers are used to finding bargains on the Internet. Car dealerships will offer an Internet special that seems too good to be true. The dealership will not tell you about the fine print of the Internet special, such as the fact that it is a demo car or the Internet special price is only available if you trade in your car or use their special financing. The dealership will inflate the price of the vehicle by giving you less than a fair price for your trade-in, or by charging you more than is fair for financing.

Beware of Car Salesman Who Focus Only on The Amount of Monthly Payment You Can Afford

The quickest way to pay too much for a new or used car is to worry only about how much the monthly payment will be. If you do not worry about the overall cost of the vehicle and only about payments, then you are sure to pay too much in the end. By going from a four-year note to a six-year note, the salesman can sell your car Which costs thousands of dollars more, ( which of course also includes a hefty profit for them), at about the same monthly payment.

Other Tricks Car Salesman Use To Cheat You

Another thing to be aware of and avoid at all cost is "On The Spot Delivery". Don't let a car salesman talk you into taking a car home on a “temporary contract”. What the dealer is counting on is that you will fall in love with the car. They can ( and usually will), call you back and say something like “we're sorry, we couldn't get the terms you wanted”, but it's only going to cost you another ten dollars a month. Another thing to be aware of is that thousands of dollars in extra charges can be added on to the price of the car when you walk down the hall to visit the dealership's finance office. In most cases, expensive extended warranties are not worth the money. Same goes for overpriced window tinting or undercoating, all things that can be done for cheaper somewhere else. Also beware of things like loan origination fees, processing fees etc. Like everything else, all of these things are negotiable.

Arm Yourself With Information

One of the best ways that you can avoid falling prey to the tricks of car salesman is to arm yourself with information. Once you have decided on the kind of car you want, try to find at least five dealers in your area who sell that make and model. Use the Internet and resources such as Kelly Blue Book to determine the value of your trade-in, and the dealer's invoice price for the vehicle you want to buy. Remember that dealers can still make a lot of money even when they sell you a car at or below their so-called “invoice price”. Never decide that you're going to buy a car at the first dealer that you visit. Instead get the best offer you can from each dealership, and then take that offer to the next one and ask them to beat it. Repeat this process until you find the dealership that will offer you the best price on the car.

My Issue With The Car Sales Process

If you walked into a grocery store and filled up a basket with groceries and happened to notice that in the checkout aisle next to you another customer was paying for the exact same items as you had purchased, but at a price of twenty percent less, you would probably be a bit upset. Same goes for other items like haircuts, restaurant meals, day care, etc. Why should a car dealership take advantage of a person's ignorance of the car buying process, or their poor credit score to earn thousands more on the sale of a car that might have cost a more savvy buyer much less? It's a flawed system and the way new and used cars are sold should not resemble a horse trading negotiation from a hundred years ago.

If you can learn how to become a savvy car buyer, you can usually get a fair deal.
If you can learn how to become a savvy car buyer, you can usually get a fair deal.

Summary

The techniques mentioned in this article are just some of those used by car salesman to get you to pay too much for a new or used car. As someone who has bought more than a dozen cars in their lifetime, I've seen all of these tricks and more, (and fell for many of them too!). If you are personally aware of any other tricks that car salesman use to overcharge their customers, please leave them with your comments in the section below. Also, I just want to add that there are many decent, honest, hard-working car salesman out there who are just trying to make a living. Unfortunately, a few bad apples have made all car salesman look bad.

The Car Dealership's "Were You Completely Satisfied?" Survey.

The "were you completely satisfied?" survey is used by most car dealerships these days. Do you feel that you have ever been pressured by a car salesman to fill out "all perfect" responses?

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