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Car Purchase? Watch Those Dealers!

Updated on October 24, 2018

Let's Go Car Shopping!

You've done your research and now you want to go car shopping, which means visiting dealerships. And while you may be excited, you've also heard the stories and have seen for yourself the horrors of dealing with the dealership.

Plan for a full day if you know you will definitely buy!

If you know you are definitely going to buy that day from a particular dealer, plan for a full day with nothing else scheduled, and go in the morning. Of course, if you're not sure that you're going to buy that day, then go with the idea that, if you do see the car that you decide to buy, you may have to make a second trip to that dealer. Unlike when you go shopping for other items, you will find that you won't be browsing long before you are greeted (accosted?) by a salesperson. As a matter of fact, you may see them just waiting as you drive in and they will already be coming towards you as you exit your car! And oftentimes, just saying, 'I'm just looking for now.', won't deter them. But if you do want to take a test drive, then the fact that they are coming to you is ok.

Sometimes, even though you are a serious customer, you may run into the opposite problem, no one coming to assist you. This is quite rare at dealerships, but I did encounter it once. Me and my dad were looking for a small truck. At this one dealership, we actually had to locate a salesperson. They were not very busy at the time. And they were quite unorganized, as the new vehicles were parked in such a way that a few were blocking all the others, so most likely quite a few of them would have to be moved if someone wanted a test drive, as my dad did. So, the salesman said, he would be right back with someone who would move several vehicles so we could have our test drive. We waited about a half hour, then went to the office to find him, but he was gone for the day! Needless to say, we left.

Some may try to steer you to what you don't want.

Sometimes, a salesperson will try to steer you to another vehicle, because of a deal that they may be promoting or for other reasons involving their monetary gain. I went to one dealer who tried hard to steer me to another vehicle, which I didn't want. He actually showed annoyance on his face when I wouldn't budge, so he simply left! Lesson I learned here was: 'Don't let a salesperson sway you from the vehicle you want!'

Don't do business with salespeople who get mad at you!

Most car salespeople are very pushy, which turns many people off, myself included. They claim that they are pushy because people won't think that they are serious about selling you a car if they're not pushy, but I think this is malarky! Oftentimes the scenario after the test drive goes like this:

Salesperson: So you liked the car, huh?

Customer: Yeah, I did.

Salesperson: So now we can go into the office and cut a deal!

Customer: Well, there are some things I have to check on first.

Salesperson: Well, is there any reason why you can't buy today!? (Looks at you incredulously as if you're the biggest fool for not jumping at his offer!)

Customer: Well, I have to check on my finances to see what I can afford, and I need to talk with my spouse about it. But I would like a brochure.

Salesperson: Fine, I'll get you a brochure. I'll be right back!

Now, the salesperson will most likely come back with his manager, who will be even more pushy. You must stand your ground. I usually leave at this point. Oftentimes, if a special promotion is going on, the manager will tell you that the promotion won't last much longer. Be aware of this and don't succumb to it! THERE WILL ALWAYS BE ANOTHER DEAL, ESPECIALLY WHERE CAR SALES ARE CONCERNED!

Some managers and salespeople will actually get mad at you and may even yell at you! If this happens, leave and never go back, and be sure to tell of your experience to others. No one, certainly no prospective customer who is about to spend hard earned money deserves this kind of abuse!

Have a good idea of what your trade-in is worth and pay attention to what people say and who they are.

In my previous hub about car buying, I mentioned how keeping my ears open helped my folks get $400 more for their trade in. I'd heard what the dealer's appraiser said, got his name, then, when the salesperson and manager offered a much lower figure for the trade-in, I mentioned what the appraiser said, saving my folks $400. Also, beforehand, check resources like the Kelly Blue Book, and also sites like ebay motors, where you may see the same model car for sale.

Ways to avoid some hassle.

There is a way to avoid some of the hassle of dealing with the pushy salesperson when deciding on what car to buy. This is by using buyer assistance services, such as that used by the Auto Club, or Costco membership stores. With Costco's program, you call them and they set up a dealer for you to contact. The dealer then sets up a session with you where you can test drive a vehicle with no obligation to buy. If you do buy, the price is set, per agreement with the dealer and the buyer assistance program, with no negotiation required on your part. You also agree to accept the offer for your trade-in if you decide to buy. Usually you will get a discounted price for the new vehicle, and a reasonable offer for your trade-in. You still have to do the paperwork that comes when you actually decide on a purchase, however, but a lot of the hassle is taken away. I bought my current car this way and it was a pleasure.

You've found the car of your dreams, but now be careful of add-ons!

Say the salesperson treats you right and you've decided to buy a car. Now, you have the paperwork for the purchase. And this means discussing options. It really helps here if you've done research beforehand and know which options you want.

Know that there are some things that you don't need:

  1. Extended warranty. These often cost quite a bit and many will only cover service at the dealer you buy the car from. If they can be used at any dealer which sells your make of vehicle, they will cost even more. And new cars have been proven to be more reliable than ever now, so you'll be paying for nothing. Extended Warranties can run as much as $5,000. They will often try really hard to sell this one to you.
  2. Paint and fabric protection. This can run $500 and doesn't really add much protection in most cases.
  3. Auto Alarm. I've heard many an alarm go off and no one responds, certainly not the police. I've also heard that thieves have stolen cars even with alarms going off. And, in some areas, you can be fined or even your car towed if your alarm goes off! And, on some models, the alarm can be very unforgiving and far more hassle than it is worth.

Financing - It's up to you.

Then, they will want to discuss financing. My recommendation and that of many finance experts is, if at all possible, pay for the car with cash, the whole thing. Of course, that is impossible for many people. If you need financing, it is best to know what your bank offers to compare to what the dealer offers. If the dealer is reputable, that is, not some used car lot or independent dealer who sells all models, but an actual name brand dealer, you should be fine going through their financing if the deal is right. For one of my previous cars, I did go through Ford Finance, as they had offered me very low interest, which saved me quite a bit of money, and their terms were generous. I was even able to pay off the loan early without penalty.

So now, the ordeal is over, and you can hit the road in your new set of wheels! Good Luck!

Alan S.

Pushy Salespeople

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