Monday, December 09, 2019

How to Get the Lowest Price on Any New Toyota from Any Toyota Dealer

My Toyota dealership in North Palm Beach, Florida may be the only car dealership on the Planet that posts online its lowest out-the-door price, on all new and used cars.

If you doubt my word on this, ask yourself when a car dealer has quoted you a price that you can take home and shop and compare with other car dealers’ prices that represents the total out-the-door price of the car you want to buy . By the way, the definition of an out the door price is one that you can write a check for, hand it to the salesman, and get in your car and drive home. There can be no extra charges for dealer installed accessories or hidden fees, also known as Dealer Fee‘s. My guess is that your answer to this question is you’ve never had an out the door price quoted you by a car dealer (that he would honor).

FYI, this article is not an advertisement or commercial to try to sell you a new Toyota.www.earloncars.com reaches readers all over the United States and the world, as do my newspaper columns, podcasts, Twitter and YouTubes. The odds that you live close enough to my dealership to be able to buy a car from me are very slim.

What I’m giving you in this article is the way to find a very low, out-the-door price on any new Toyota that you might want to purchase from any Toyota dealer anywhere. Here’s a link to the out-the-door price on a new Toyota RAV4, https://express.earlstewarttoyota.com/express/2T3H1RFV0KW056087?deal_type=cash. The out-the-door price is $27,927. You write me a check for that price and take the car home. There are no hidden fees and dealer installed accessories (like nitrogen in tires and paint sealant). You can click on my website, www.EarlStewartToyota.com, and get out the door prices on every new Toyota model (and all used cars too).

Remember, I’M NOT TRYING TO SELL YOU A TOYOTA. This article is to empower you with something you already have for buying all other retail products, except cars. By showing another Toyota dealership my lowest price on the new Toyota of your choice, he has no honest choice (if he wants your business) but to match or beat my price. However, he has lots of dishonest choices and PLEASE EXPECT THE DEALER TO TRY THEM. The most obvious choice is to lie about matching my out-the-door price and add hidden fees and dealer installed accessories. The dealer can also attempt to undervalue your trade-in allowance. If you’re financing the car with the dealer (usually a bad idea), he’ll make over $1,000 in the financing. If none of these tricks work, he’ll try desperately to switch you to a different vehicle so that you can’t compare prices. If all the above fails, he may, in total frustration, tell you that “Earl Stewart won’t really sell you the car at that price”. Or, another favorite is “Earl Stewart really charges hidden fees, but he hides them in the price of the car!”. I laugh every time I hear that one. 😊

I’ll not only sell you any car at my out-the-door price, but I’ll sell everyone (even the dealer that’s saying I won’t) at that price. The most important thing is that the prices are my lowest prices and I will not sell any car for 1 penny less to anybody…not the Governor of Florida, President of the USA, or Queen of England. If did cut my price for certain people, I wouldn’t be true to my word that my prices are my LOWEST prices. Just because the prices are my lowest prices doesn’t mean another dealer can’t sell you the same car for less. They can, but they just don’t want to. I’ve never advertised (like most other dealers) “Nobody will sell you a new Toyota for less!”. Of course, they will! If you force them to, they don’t have a choice. All car dealers are insanely competitive and they’d rather make a small profit (or even no profit) instead of lose a deal to Earl Stewart or any other Toyota dealer.

If the Toyota dealership that you’re buying from doubts my claim, please ask the dealer (or salesman) to feel free to call me on my personal cell phone, 561 358-1474. I’m sure I’ll be able to convince them; if not, I’ll put it in writing and have it notarized.

Good luck and I’d love to hear back from any Toyota buyers in the USA* that give this a try.

*If you’re buying a new Toyota outside of the Southeast USA (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina), take into consideration that all other Toyotas have an average cost of about $775 less. This is because Toyotas in the Southeast USA have an average of $775 added to the cost by the independent Toyota Distributor that resells new Toyotas to me and all other Southeast Toyota dealerships.

Monday, December 02, 2019

COMPETITION: Car Dealers’ Achilles’ Heal

The retail and wholesale auto industries are highly competitive. Toyota desperately wants to outsell Honda, Chevy desperately wants to outsell Ford, and Mercedes desperately wants to outsell BMW. The auto manufacturers “live and die on the 30-day sales cycle, month to month. This desperation is passed along to the retailers of their products, the car dealers. Car dealers have short term contracts (franchises) with their manufacturers, typically 6 years. If a car dealer doesn’t meet his performance goal in the number of new vehicle sales, his franchise can be canceled. This literally puts him out of business and the millions of dollars he has invested in his buildings, land, equipment, and inventories can virtually vanish.

The auto manufactures assign quotas to their dealers. These quotas are based on intensive market studies of the geographic areas surrounding each of their dealers. The manufacturer tells each of their dealers the minimum number of new cars he must sell each month. If he falls short, his existence as a car dealer is in danger. The dealer must sell his assigned number and percent of vehicles sold within his market area. These market areas vary but are typically about a 20-mile radius from the dealership. Within that radius are representatives of most other makes of cars and the same make as the dealer’s, because markets usually overlap.

The major competition to the auto manufacturer is different from the major competition to the auto dealer. A Mercedes dealer is far more likely to lose a sale to another Mercedes dealer than to a BMW dealer. The Mercedes manufacturer doesn’t care which Mercedes dealer sells the customer; the manufacturer is worried about BMW, Infinity, and Audi dealers. Thanks to the Internet and the information explosion, most car buyers today have decided which make car they’re going to buy before they enter a car dealership. When the customer visits Mercedes dealership A and leaves without buying, that customer is probably going to buy a Mercedes from Mercedes dealership B or C.

Now you’re beginning to understand why car dealers’ desperate competitiveness is your friend when buying a new vehicle. Car dealers pass along the quota assigned to him to his sales managers and salespeople. A manager that doesn’t hit his quota loses his job just as does a salesman that doesn’t sell a certain minimum number of cars per month. Adding to this desperation is that EVERYBODY in the auto industry is paid on commission. Mercedes management, from the CEO all the way down is paid on performance. The car dealer is paid by profits, not salary, and sales managers and salespeople are paid a commission based on profit on each car.

As hard as this may be to understand or believe, car dealers will sometimes sell cars at a loss in order to not lose a sale. Your awareness of this desperation is your “ace in the hole” when buying a new vehicle. By “working” at least 3 car dealerships against each other, you can buy your new car at the lowest possible price. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. It’s not for the timid or faint of heart. You’re going up against seasoned professional salespeople and their managers. You’re playing in their “game” that they play day in and day out.

Here are a few simple rules that, if followed to the letter, will result in your buying your next new vehicles at the lowest price possible:
  1. Choose the exact make-year-model vehicle you will buy and the exact accessories. Do not change your mind after you begin gathering competivive prices. Car dealers’ favorite tactic is to “switch” you to a different vehicle from the one you initially planned to buy.                           
  2. Make your lease or buy decision before you begin shopping and stick with your choice. Car dealers’ second favorite tactic is to switch buyers to leasing. This greatly enhances their profits and makes it more difficult to be compared to their competition.                                                   
  3. Insist on an out-the-door price from each dealership. This will be your most difficult task. An out-the-door price, strictly speaking, is the amount of money you pay the dealer permitting you to drive the new vehicle home. It’s acceptable to be quoted the full price with only government fees of sales tax and license and registration added. Be clear that you will not pay for any dealer installed accessories not installed and included in the current price. Also you will not pay for non-government fees aka “taxable fees”. Here are links to my two blogs that will assist you in this most difficult task. http://oncars.blogspot.com/2019/11/earls-suggested-word-track-for-no.html and http://earlstewartteam.com/pdf/outthedoorpriceaffidavit.pdf.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Earl’s Suggested Word-Track for No Hassle/No Haggle Car Buying

You can use this word track to buy a car online, via regular mail, over the telephone, or in person. I strongly recommend that you use it online, but I know that some car buyers, seniors like me, are not as comfortable with buying over the Internet. Using this word track in person can work, but it will be much more difficult and take a lot longer. Only a person with a very strong will, stamina, and a very thick skin should attempt this face-to-face. I strongly recommend that you don’t.

(1) Dear Car Salesman, “Within the next two weeks (enter your own time frame), I will be purchasing (leasing) a (fill in the specific make, year, model and optional accessories).” You should carefully research the vehicle that you decide to purchase using all sources of information available such as Consumer Reports. You should also test drive the car to be sure it feels and drives the way you want it to. It is vital that you not change your mind during the purchasing process. If you do change your mind, you must begin all over again. Never let a car salesman change your mind for you.Switching the type and price of the vehicle you’re buying (bait and switch) is one of their favorite ways to charge you more money than you had anticipated paying.

(2) “Please quote me your lowest price on (your specific car). This price must be an out-the-door price with only state sales tax and the license tag fees paid to the state. To be sure there is no confusion, please understand that the only dollar amounts that I will pay in addition to the price you quoted are taxes and fees actually paid to the state government. I will not pay dealer fees by any name such as electronic filing fees, tag agency fees.”

(3) “I understand that my request may not be one you wish to comply with because you are concerned that I will shop and compare your price with other car dealers. Your concerns are valid because this is exactly what I will do. You may be asking yourself, ‘why should I do this if I know that my lowest price may not be low enough and that I will show it to your competitor to get an even lower price?’ My answer is quite simple; you may have only a small chance of winning my business if you do give me your lowest price, but you will have ZERO chance of winning my business if you do not, because you will never hear from me again.”

(4) “I will sell my trade-in to the highest bidder, just like I will buy my new car from the lowest bidder. I will also finance my car at the lowest interest bid by a bank or credit union. If you can meet or beat other dealers and banks, I will trade my car into you and/or finance with you.”

(5) “If you quote me your lowest out-the-door price and I come to your dealership to purchase my car, please don’t even think about: (A) Telling me that the car I specified was sold and that you would like to show me other cars just like it. (B) Telling me that the car I specified has some accessories/options that you installed like nitrogen in the tires, glass etch, pin stripes, floor mats, paint sealant, etc. (C) Telling me that you priced in rebates and incentives that I don’t qualify for like college graduate, military, customer loyalty, customer conquest, etc. (D) The price you quoted me is only valid if I finance my car through you. If you do any of these things, I will not only not buy from you, but I will report you to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, BBB, the County Office of Consumer Affairs, Florida Attorney General, and your manufacturer. “ Furthermore, I will expose you on Facebook, Google, Yelp, Twitter and any other form of social media I can think of.

(6) “If everything goes well with no shenanigans, I will write a letter of commendation to your owner and manufacturer. I will also tell all my friends, neighbors, relatives, work associates, and club members about my wonderful experience with you and your dealership. I will also post recommendations on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter.”

(7) “The choice is yours and I hope that you see the benefits of selling me a car at the lowest price you can afford to give me. I also hope you can see the dangers of giving me a dishonest price so that you can get me into your dealership and try to charge me more than we agreed.”

(8) “I wish you the best of luck and I sincerely hope we can do business and have a long car buying and servicing relationship.”

Monday, November 18, 2019

Hidden Fees and Accessory Charges Defeat Buyers’ Online Buying Advantage

For years I’ve advised car buyers to go online to get the lowest price on new or used vehicles. Online, you can avoid the haggle and hassle of dealers’ game-playing when you’re inside the dealership. Online, you can even maintain anonymity by not giving them your real phone number and giving them another email address. Car dealers know that they have just one chance to sell you a car and if their price is too high, they may never hear from you again.

As the percent of cars bought online has soared, car dealers have had to “adapt” in order to maintain their profit margins. This “adaptation” amounts to lying about the prices they give you online. They give you a very low price, lower than their competition’s, to which they later add thousands of dollars in hidden fees and dealer installed accessories.

I use the word hidden fee rather than dealer fee because dealers learned long ago that car buyers were becoming more aware of the hidden profit named “dealer fee”. Some dealers advertise “No Dealer Fee” because they renamedtheir dealer fee something else. Dealers name their hidden fees whatever they choose…usually something that sounds like an official government fee. Some commonly used examples are “tag agency fee”, “electronic filing fee”, “e-filing fee”, dealer services fee, “administrative fee”, “documentary (doc) fee”, “dealer prep fee’, etc. Most car dealers employ multiple fee of this nature totaling at least $1,000 and some over $3,000.

Dealer installed accessories are added to the vehicles but not included in the price you get. These accessories cost the dealer very little and they mark them up as much as 1,000%. Examples are nitrogen in the tires, pin stripes, window tint, floor mats, paint sealant, fabric protection, road hazard insurance, emergency road service, etc. The total extra profit to the dealer for these averages at least $1,000.

Third party buying services can be the best way to buy a vehicle. Consumer Reports, American Express, GEICO, True Car, AutoTrader, Car Guru, and Cars.com are all legitimate companies that try to obtain the lowest prices for their members and users. However, all of these companies are deceived by their dealer members when they quote customers their supposedly low price. A buyer can go on AutoTrader to buy a specific year-make-model vehicle and sort by lowest price. The car dealer that comes out first should have the lowest price. But what the buyer doesn’t know is that this car dealer is adding thousands of dollars to the price in hidden fees and dealer installed accessories. TrueCar advertises that their TrueCar price includes hidden fees and dealer installed accessories, but that claim is only as good as the honesty of their dealers. Third party buying services deal with well over 10,000 car dealers and it’s impossible to inspect and be sure that they all are playing by the rules. The fact is that most car dealers do not play by the rules.

This all means that the responsibility for getting an honest price lies with you, the car buyer and it’s BUYER BEWARE, CAVEAT EMPTOR. Whether you’re dealing through a third-party buying service or directly online with a car dealer, burn this term into your brain, OUT-THE-DOOR-PRICE. Never set foot into a car dealership without previously obtaining a written document stating the full, complete out-the-door price of the vehicle you’re buying. The only legitimate, honest fees that should be added are government fees of state sales tax and license plate/registration. To be absolutely safe, ask that all fees (including tax and tag) be included in the price they give you. A good way to clarify this and be certain they can’t pretend like they misunderstood…tell the dealer you’re bringing a check from your bank or credit union marked PAYMENT IN FULL.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Negative Equity

(aka "Upside Down" & "Underwater")
You’ve probably seen a lot of car advertisements claiming, “WE WE’LL PAY OFF YOUR OLD CAR, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU OWE”! This is a lie, because no car dealer every pays of your car for you; you pay off your car because the dealer adds the payoff amount to the price of the car that he’s selling you.

The Wall Street Journal recently (11-11-19) featured a front-page story, “Car Debt Traps More Drivers”. The article begins “John Schricker took out a loan to buy a car in 2017. Then he took out another. And then another. In two years, the 40-year-old electrician signed up for four auto loans, each time trading in the previous car and rolling the unpaid balance into the next loan. He recently bought a $27,000 Jeep Cherokee with a $45,000 loan from Ally Financial Inc.”

This practice has been going on as long as there’ve been car dealers, but it’s worsened in recent years due to sharply increasing car prices with sharply reduced dealer profits on new cars. Car prices are soaring from the revolution in digitalized electronic safety features, but dealers’ profit margins have shrunk from the increasingly educated 21stcentury consumer, armed with the Internet and online buying. 33% of new car buyers that traded in their old car so far in 2019 owned more on their trade-in than its actual value, compared to 28% five years ago and 19% a decade ago, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Due to car dealers’ reduced ability to make large profits on the sale of new cars, they are focusing on their finance profits. Finance profits are enhanced by the sale of extended services contracts aka warranties, pre-paid car maintenance, GAP insurance, road hazard and roadside assistance insurance, and a litany of other overpriced and usually unnecessary services and products. Car dealers make more money in their F&I (Finance and Insurance) departments than their new car sales departments. Adding the negative equity from car buyers’ trade-ins to the loan on their new cars further enhances the dealers’ profits in their Finance and Insurance Departments.

Many new car buyers with negative equity in their trade-ins are not aware of it, and car dealers don’t bring it to their attention for fear of losing the sale. The facts are revealed in the sales and financing contracts which most buyers don’t read carefully or understand. Most car buyers are focused on one thing…their monthly payment. If a dealer can offer a monthly payment close to their current payment, this usually satisfies the buyer. Dealers can often do this by extending the terms of the loan to a much as 72 months, surprising the buyer with a large down payment, or “flipping” the buyer to a lease.

All the above is why new car buyers should make a point of completely understanding all the numbers of their purchase or lease transaction. This is best done by separating the new car purchase into (1) establishing the actual value of the trade-in compared to the payoff to the bank, (2) knowing the out-the-door selling price of the new car, and (3) the best interest rate, down payment, and terms usually obtainable from their bank of credit union. Car dealers finance most of the new cars they sell through kick-back arrangements with their banks. These interest rates and terms are usually not best for the buyer.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Should I Buy a Car or Have a Colonoscopy?

If you’re over 55, you should have had a colonoscopy. If you haven’t, call a gastroenterologist, because this could save your life; It did mine, but that’s another story. I had another colonoscopy (about a half dozen, so far) a few days ago, and I must tell you that it’s a very unpleasant experience, mainly from the mental anguish, anticipation and the discomfort of the “preparation” the previous day. I had a lot of time to think about my procedure and I started thinking about how this experience parallels that of buying a car. It’s something you must do and has a very good benefit, but you dread the process.

If you need further proof that buying cars is an unpleasant experience, just read the latest Gallup Poll entitled HONESTY AND ETHICS IN PROFESSIONS. The Gallup organization has been taking this poll every year since 1977. Car dealers have ranked last, or nearly last, in every poll…FORTY-THREE YEARS! For the latest full year poll in 2018, click on
https://news.gallup.com/poll/1654/honesty-ethics-professions.aspx.

My newspaper columns and blog consist mainly of suggestions and inside information that can make your new or used car buying experience less of a fearful one. Some of the titles/subjects are “Always Get an Out the Door Price”, “Bait and Switch Advertising”, “Beware of Deceptive Internet Car Pricing”, “Beware of Direct Mail Car Advertising”, “Buying a Car When You Have a Credit Problem”, “Eight Steps to Ensure You Are Buying the Best Car for the Best Price”, “List Price and MSRP Might Not Be the Same”, “Negotiating to Buy a Car”, “Open Letter to Florida Car Dealers” (I, II, III, and IV), “Shop Your Financing and Trade”, “Should I Buy My Car at the End of the Lease?”, “Should I Lease or Buy my Next Car?”, “Should I Pay Cash or Finance My Next Car?”, “Should I Trade in My Old Car or Sell it Myself”, “Tell Your Car Dealer to be Nice”, “The Right Used Car is a Better Buy than a New Car”, “Translating Misleading Car Ads”, “What is the True Cost of that New Car?”, “What to do if You Are Treated Badly by a Car Dealer”, “When is a Car Sale Not a Car Sale?”, and “The Internet Price is the Lowest Price for a New Car”. You can read all my articles (hundreds) at www.EarlOnCars.com. You’ll find links there to listen to my live, weekly radio show (Saturdays 8-10 AM EST), my YouTube videos, Podcasts, Facebook, Twitter and a wealth of other information on “how not to get ripped off by a car dealer”.

Almost every one of these articles originated from readers of my column, callers to my radio show, and others’ experiences when buying cars from car dealers. I get a lot of calls from people who’ve never bought a car from me. They call to tell me of their bad experience with another dealer and, when I get several calls on the same subject, I write a column on it. People often call me asking for advice or assistance after they’ve already bought, which is “closing the barn door after the horse is gone.” On more than one occasion I’ve called car dealers asking them to consider undoing a wrong they have caused one of their customers. I must confess that my batting average on this effort is “below 300”. I won’t give up, however. One of my most recent calls was from a customer who was charged nearly a $1,000 in service work performed on her car when she had brought it in for a routine service that should have cost her less than $100. She called me for help and was forceful and diligent in following my advice. She got a complete refund on the “unasked for, unnecessary charges”.


One thing that amazes me about these weekly columns and my radio show is that I have been writing and airing for nearly 14 years is that no car dealer has ever called me to complain, or for any other reason. I’ve not been sued either. I think that says something about the truth of my articles. I’m not a lawyer, but I do know that you can’t successfully sue somebody for libel or slander if they write or say the truth. I’m puzzled why not one single dealer would call me just out of curiosity. I don’t have a secretary and I don’t screen any of my calls…nor do any of my employees. They do know how successful my dealership is and how fast my sales are growing. They know that I’m selling a lot of their former customers. Many of these new customers tell me how they told the other dealers why they chose to take their business elsewhere. I believe that before too much longer we will see some changes in the way other car dealers do business even if they refuse to call me, as I have repeatedly invited them to do. Sooner or later they will understand that treating your customers with courtesy and integrity is just plain good business.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Ten Tips on Buying the Right Used Car


I sell new and used cars, but if I was not a car dealer and I needed to buy a car, I would buy a used one instead of a new. This is because a used car is a better value. You get more for your money due to avoiding the initial rapid depreciation of a new car. I use the term “used car” in this article because I despise mumbo jumbo euphemisms like “pre-owned”. A used car is a used car is a used car.

(1) Never buy a used car without a CarFax report. The dealer should provide you with one at no charge because any dealer worth his salt runs a CarFax report on every used car he trades in or buys to protect him. Simply don’t buy a used car from anybody that does not give you this report. CarFax reports now have, not only the information about collision damage, floods damage, previous odometer reading, and title issues, (all obtained from insurance records) but also the mechanical repair history (obtained from dealer records). The CarFax report also shows outstanding safety recalls, but I also recommend that you double check this with the NHTSA, National Highway Traffic Safety Association at www.SaferCar.org. In my experience, CarFax misses safety recalls about 30% of the time. Unfortunately, there is no law requiring car dealers to even disclose an unfixed safety recall and most dealers are willingly selling their customers cars with dangerous safety recall like Takata airbags.

(2) Have your car inspected by an independent mechanic. Insist on having the used car you are thinking about buying inspected by your mechanic, not affiliated with the dealer. This should cost you no more than $150 and will be money well spent. The mechanic should look, not only for mechanical issues, but body and flood damage. If the mechanic finds some minor things that need fixing, insist that the dealer take care of these and include it in the price he already quoted you. If the dealer won’t allow this, don’t buy from him.

(3) Consult Consumer Reports, www.KBB.com, and www.Edmunds.com. These sources have complete information on the safety, reliability, maintenance cost, and even what a fair price is to pay for any used car. Consumer Reports lists the “Best and Worst Used Cars”. This is great guide and don’t ever buy a used car that’s on the “worst list”.

(4) A Certified Used Car is only as good as the dealer who sold it to you. Most manufacturers don’t even require that the dealer fix open safety recalls to call the car “Certified”. All manufacturers sponsor “certified” used cars of their make. The main reason for this is that they like to sell the dealer warranties that the dealer then marks up and sells to you. A secondary reason the manufacturers do this is to enhance the resale value of their make car. This helps them sell more new cars because of the higher trade in value and the higher residual values on cars they lease enhance their profits. You can buy a warranty for used car even if it’s not certified, but in a certified used car it’s usually included in the price (which makes the price higher). One good thing about manufacturers’ certified programs is that sometimes the manufacturer will offer you lower financing rates. Certified used cars require that the dealer inspect all critical parts of the car and fill out a checklist that is anywhere from 75 to 150 items. That’s all well and good but how carefully is this inspection being done and by whom? You should ask to see a copy of the check list and ask about the qualification of the mechanic who performed and signed the inspection. All too often, the dealer assigns the lowest priced mechanic he has to perform these checks. It’s questionable whether he even performs all of them. A red flag is if you notice a straight line drawn through all of the check boxes instead of them being checked off individually.

(5) Money Back Guarantee. A lot of dealers advertise that if you change your mind about the car you bought you can bring it back and exchange it for another. This is a worthless guarantee. You can be sure that they will pick the car and the price of the car they will exchange it for and will end up making an additional profit. CarMax has a reasonable guarantee which refunds all your money within five days with restriction that the car is returned in the same condition that it was sold. CarMax is a good place to buy a used car.

(6) Contact the previous owner of the car. The previous owner of the used car should be happy to talk to you. Insist that the seller provide you with his telephone number. If the dealer sold the car to that owner as a new or used car and serviced it, ask if you can see the service file.

(7) Test drive the car just as you will be driving it later. Simply taking the car for a spin around the block with the salesman is not enough. I recommend that you drive the car in the manner and places that you will be driving it when you own it. Take it out on the expressway if you do a lot of higher speed driving. You should drive the car for at least a few hours at all the same speeds, conditions, and on the same roads that you normally experience. Park the car, back it up, and take a friend for ride to get their opinion. You don’t want to have any surprises when you bring it home for keeps.

(8) The Internet is the best place to shop for your used car. Most dealers today display all their used car inventory right on their website along with the prices. These prices are close to the real price you will pay. The dealer knows that he won’t get many responses if he overprices his used cars. Shopping on the Internet give you ample opportunity to compare the same or similar used cars with lots of different dealers. As always, call the dealer before you come in to confirm the Internet price is an out-the-door price without a dealer fee, doc fee, dealer prep, etc. www.TrueCar.com and www.CostcoAuto.com are good choices to buy a used car.

(9) Commit all of the dealer’s promises to writing. Take notes of everything the salesman and sales manager promises you such as “we’ll fix that CD player if you’ll bring your car in next week” or “if you ever have a problem with the car we’ll give you a free loaner when you come in for service”. Make those notes part of the buyer’s order and be sure that a manager signs it. It’s also a good idea to always shop with a friend. In a “He said she said” situation, two people trump one.

(10) Get at least three bids on financing. Know what your lowest interest rate is for the year, make, and model car you’re buying. Get quotes from your bank or credit union and at least one other bank in addition to the rate your dealer offers you. If you do use your dealer’s financing, be sure you know and understand everything that’s included in your finance contract. You will be offered products like warranties, GAP insurance, maintenance, road hazard insurance, etc. It’s illegal for a dealer to tie your acceptance for financing or interest rate to your buying a warranty or any other product.