12 Secrets the Car Salesman Won't Tell You
Secrets the Car Salesman Won't Tell You
Secrets the Car Salesman Won't Tell You
Buying a car? It's a daunting experience to shop for a car, and experienced automobile dealerships have the upper hand. Here are secrets to getting the best deal on that new car, truck or minivan, while avoiding lemons and clunkers.


Bait and Switch
Bait and Switch
You see an advertisement for a car at a great price. But when you get to the dealership, the car has already been sold, and they try to sell you a different car for a higher price. Surprise, surprise. So, how do you avoid this?...

...call the dealership before heading over. If they say that have it in stock, ask them to email you a signed statement that the car is still in available for sale.


The Low Monthly Payment
The Low Monthly Payment
"If you could pay only $300 a month, you'd buy this car today, right?" You've heard this before. Salesmen can get you to overpay by offering a low monthly payment with a longer loan period. So...

...make sure you bring a computer or tablet with you so that you can calculate the actual price of the car. That's what really matters - both to the dealer and to you.


Wax and Fabric Protection
Wax and Fabric Protection
Dealers love trying to get you to protect your car with paint protection, rust protection, or even fabric protection. Don't buy it. Cars leaving the factory already have good rust protection. And...

...most car makers actually recommend you DON'T wax your new car for a few months. And the fabric protection? Just buy a can of Scotchgard for $15 and do it yourself. That's all the dealership would do anyway for $200.


Scarcity Tactics
Scarcity Tactics
Have you ever heard "That's the last we have in that color." Or how about "It's your lucky day - this car will be gone by tomorrow." Really? What are the chances of that?

Don't be fooled. They almost always have plenty of cars. This is a common tactic to make you rush to buy a car before you've finished looking around. Don't let your emotions get the better of you.


The Low Ball
The Low Ball
If you have a trade-in, a savvy sales person will offer a very low price it. Never take their early offers. Those early offers are made to make you feel bad about your old car.

Once they raise it a few times, say no, then shop it around even more. Also, check Kelly Blue Book prices online to find out what your car is actually worth.


The High Ball
The High Ball
On the flip side, if a dealer offers you a trade-in quote over the phone, he'll often give you a high, attractive price. Great, right? No, because...

...once you get to the dealership, he'll make an excuse for why your trade in is worth much less. He'll exaggerate scratches and dings, and tell you the tires need replacing.


Misleading Prices
Misleading Prices
If an advertised price looks too good to be true, then well, it probably is. Sometimes, according to the FTC, these low prices come after a downpayment.

Or, alternatively, if the dealer advertisers an insanely low monthly payment like $99/month, sometimes those payments are "teaser" payments that are just for the first few months, after which the monthly payments balloon up.


You've Won a Prize
You've Won a Prize
Woohoo! You've won a big prize! You're so lucky! Just come to the showroom today to claim it. Uh, yeah, right...

...give me a break. There is no prize. Maybe doughnuts, coffee or even free country sausage, but no real prize worth anything. Yet another sleazy tactic to get you to the dealership.


Zero Rate Loans
Zero Rate Loans
How does 0% APR sound? Sounds good, right? Well, sometimes the 0% applies only to loans up to a certain amount, which, no surprise, is much less than the price of a new car.

For the portion of the loan above that amount, the APR is so high that it makes up for the 0%. Not to mention, sometimes hidden loan costs also make up for the 0%. Yes, 100% sleazy.


Shopping Online
Shopping Online
Nowadays, haggling for hours in the showroom isn't always the best way to get a good price. Services like TrueCar do the haggling for you, and you can shop from your computer at home.

You can avoid the hours of frustration talking to a sleazy salesperson by buying online or even using a dealer's internet sales. It's faster for both parties, so you could end up with a good deal. Remember, time is money.


Contract
Contract
This is about as sleazy as it gets, but it's not uncommon for "innocent mistakes" to be made in the contract, where the loan terms, down payment, or even the final purchase price doesn't correspond with what is verbally agreed upon. What can you do?

As boring as it sounds, you need to review all the numbers in the contract before you sign it. Bring a friend to help you look it over.


Check Carfax
Check Carfax
If you're buying a used car, don't trust the sales person regarding the accident history of the car. They have very little incentive to disclose all the issues.

Instead, check online at Carfax or AutoCheck to find out about prior maintenance, prior ownership, and even how long the dealership has been trying to sell the car.