Published On: Mon, Jan 4th, 2021

6 Sneaky Car-Buying Tricks to Avoid at All Costs

Knowledgeable car salesmen have lots of ways to make the most off of every sale. 

Common car dealer strategies range from deal add-ons and interest rate mark-ups to longer and longer loans that can drive up the cost of buying a new automobile. 

Oftentimes inexperienced car-buyers wind up, paying more to purchase and finance a new automobile than they really need to. 

That’s a complete waste of money for those trying to build and maintain financial wellbeing for themselves and their families. The naked truth is, many are meticulous business people who trade on their reputations and work hard to nurture relationships with long-term customers. Yet, purchasing a new car can be confusing and overwhelming, and plenty of salespeople earn their bad reps by leveraging that confusion to their advantage.

Imagen de Toby Parsons en Pixabay

  • The Automobile in the Picture Doesn’t Match the Deal. 


One incredibly subtle yet not unique to the auto industry is advertising that isn’t false but is certainly misleading. The salesmen will run an advertisement showing a fully-loaded car model but advertise payments and prices for the base model. When the buyer enters the dealership, they realize the automobile they saw in the ad with the booming sound system and aluminium alloy wheels cost much more than the price recorded in the advertisement. 


  • The Old Bait-and-Switch Trap 


Although it’s certainly not fresh to the auto industry, the bait-and-switch scam is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Whether you bite it through an ad, a Ford dealership near me – fast lookup, a conversation on the phone, or an online post, the automobile dealer’s main purpose is to lure the buyer into the showroom. Upon arriving, however, the salespeople inform the starry-eyed buyer that the specific automobile from the promotion has just been sold, but a similar model is right there in the shop for the taking, albeit at a much higher price. 


  • The Small-Print Smokescreen 


Oftentimes car commercials come with a blur of fine print that salesmen hope you never read, but you certainly should before you ever walk into a car dealership. The reason? Well-hidden within that minuscule font are stipulations, disclaimers, caveats, and conditions that render the offer debatable for many car shoppers. The fine print is where you will learn that financing offers are booked only for those that have large down payments, have the highest credit score or those who finance through the dealership. 


  • Dealer Added Options 


Sometimes, car dealers will advertise a car at a great price, but when you enter the showroom, that price is suddenly much higher. The reason? Oftentimes the advertised automobiles come with what’s known as dealer added options such as spoiler or sunroof. These options, which a buyer never asks for, can quickly add thousands of dollars to the advertised purchase price. 


  • Making deceptive payoff promises 


Let’s say you’re planning to purchase a new automobile but still have a balance on your current loan. But to close the deal, a dealer will often promise, “We’ll take care of your loan no matter how much you owe.”

Most salespeople will make up for that loss by charging more for your new vehicle, offering less on your trade-in, and imposing a finance charge mark-up. Meticulous showrooms pay off your old loan, just as they pledged, then secretly add that amount to your old loan.   

In order to receive a not-guilty verdict, dealers are counting on buyers to focus on the monthly payment and disregard the total amount they’re financing. 

Initially, you might have been convinced that your monthly payment would be around $400, which is what it would be if you invest $20,000 over 60 months at 6 percent. 

When you agree on the deal, the finance manager points to the monthly payment line, and good enough, it’s $397. But what most buyers fail to notice is that the dealership added that $4,000 payoff to the balance on your loan and financed that $24,000 over 72 months, causing you to pay on that vehicle for an additional year. 


  • How Will You Be Paying?


Another popular approach is to get the buyer to reveal how they intend to pay for the automobile. Since salesmen make their big bucks in the financing department, showing your hand only works to their advantage. If you’ve secured third-party financing or paying cash, they’re likely to jack up the price of the vehicle to make up for what they know they won’t get on financing your loan. When buyers reveal that they’re seeking financing through the dealership, they might give you a great deal on a car as they know they can make up for it in the end. 

Pro tip: Try to negotiate the price of the vehicle first and keep funding discussions entirely separate. 

Author: Cynthia Madison

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