Monday, April 15, 2019

FLORIDA CAR BUYERS BEWARE

By Earl Stewart

This front-page headline appeared in last week in USA Today. I’ll summarize the story for you: Car dealers and their associations are lobbying legislation into state laws to preserve their legal right to sell you a used car with a dangerous recall, like a defective Takata airbag. The law they’re advocating “sounds” like a good law until you think about it. The law is to require car dealers to “disclose” to the buyer that the car they’re buying has a dangerous recall. The word “disclose” when applied to car dealers becomes an oxymoron. Car dealers bury their “disclosures” in ultra-fine print, flashed on the TV screen, webpage, or PC monitor in a fraction of the time you can read it…that is, if you could even see it. Car dealers believe that, but getting these laws passed, they’ll dissuade federal and

state government from doing what they should have done years ago…MAKE IT ILLEGAL TO SELL A VEHICLE WITH A DANGEROUS SAFETY RECALL. By the way, there’s still no law in Florida requiring car dealers to disclose dangerous recalls.

Can anyone explain to me why it’s legal to sell you a vehicle with a dangerous recall? In fact, it’s even legal to sell you a vehicle with a dangerous recall that CANNOT BE REPAIRED. Thousands of used vehicles are sold every day with defective Takata airbags that cannot be fixed because the parts to fix them are unavailable.

I’ll answer my own question of why this is legal. Auto manufacturers and car dealers are afraid of the huge economic impact upon them if such a law were passed. The Florida Auto Dealers Association, FADA (and all other state dealers’ associations) the National Auto Dealers Association NADA, and Big Auto (VW, Toyota, GM, Ford, Honda, etc), combined, have ENORMOUS POLITICAL CLOUT. The auto manufacturer-auto dealer syndicate makes the NRA look “politically weak by comparison”.

So, what are Florida used car buyers to do? Contact Governor Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and your state senators and representatives. I tried for two years with Rick Scott and Pam Bondi to no avail. The more likely successful course of action is to check every used car you buy at www.SaferCar.gov, the website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. DO NOT BUY A USED CAR UNTIL YOU CHECK YOUR VIN AND VERIFIED IT HAS NO OUTSTANDING SAFETY RECALLS.

Monday, April 08, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Florida Attorney General’s Seniors vs Crime presents free program April 25 on How Not to Get Ripped Off when Buying, Leasing or Maintaining a Vehicle


Earl and Nancy Stewart to be Featured Speakers

Thanks to our new Florida Attorney General, Ashley Moody and her Seniors vs. Crime members, Tony Zappone, Sheila Butler and Frank Starnella for inviting Nancy Stewart and me to speak to the seniors of South Florida this April 25th.

Attorney General Ashley Moody has clearly prioritized doing more to protect Florida’s large and growing elderly population from fraud and abuse. She recently announced the formation of Florida’s Senior Protection Team that will work closely with Seniors vs. Crime and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The details of our public seminar on how to avoid being taken advantage of when buying, leasing, maintaining or repairing a vehicle are shown below. If you are a senior, or know seniors that can benefit from our seminar, please book this time and location in your calendar or ask them to: April 25, Thursday, 2 PM at 900 Brandywine Road is located just west of the I-95, Exit # 53, Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. interchange, located on the United Methodist Church campus. Google Maps link is https://goo.gl/maps/7qSXbXU4yV72.

PRESS RELEASE:
Seniors vs Crime, a special project of the Florida Attorney General’s Office, is presenting a free public seminar to educate senior citizens on how they can prevent being victimized when buying, leasing or maintaining their vehicle. The program will be on Thursday, April 25 at 2 p.m. at 900 Brandywine Road in West Palm Beach, at the Gathering Place on the United Methodist Church of the Palm Beaches Campus. Earl and Nancy Stewart will be the featured speakers. The first 500 attendees will receive a free copy of Earl Stewart’s book “Confessions of a Recovering Car Dealer.” He is the owner of Earl Stewart Toyota in North Palm Beach. Light refreshments will be served following the program.

Topics to be covered include how to avoid tricks and scams when buying or leasing a vehicle, how to determine if buying or leasing is the best option, what to look for in a qualified mechanic or body shop, what vehicle safety options are helpful for senior drivers, how to get the most money for a trade in, are extended warranties a smart buy, how to shop for the best financing, and more. Attendees can submit questions ahead of time to earl@EarlOnCars.com with Seniors vs Crime in the subject line or text questions to 772-497-6530.


Reserve a seat by calling 561-844-3461 
or by emailing sandrav@estoyota.com
Reservations are encouraged but not required. 


“We’re pleased to offer local seniors the opportunity to learn how to avoid being ripped off when buying or maintaining their vehicle,” said Tony Zappone, a member of the Palm Beach County Seniors vs Crime organization. “Crime prevention is our key mission, and to help seniors avoid these costly mistakes is important because investing in a vehicle and maintaining it are among the biggest expenses of our age group, and an area where many are most at risk.”

“Being a senior myself, and in the car business for more than 50 years, I have too often seen older people taken advantage of and it is very upsetting,” Earl Stewart said. “Cheating anyone is wrong, but taking advantage of someone on a fixed or limited income is especially bad. We are happy to be able to pull the veil back and reveal some of the ‘tricks of the trade’ to educate people so they can avoid becoming victims.” Nancy Stewart will address some of the issues that older women face when buying or maintaining their vehicles. “Knowledge is power and we want them to go into the process of buying or maintaining their vehicle with as much information as possible,” she said.
The program site at 900 Brandywine Road is located just west of the I-95 – Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. interchange. Google Maps link is https://goo.gl/maps/7qSXbXU4yV72. Plenty of free parking is available immediately adjacent to the meeting site and the building is fully accessible.

The Seniors Vs Crime Project is sponsored by the Attorney General to reinforce the message of crime prevention and to provide methods by which Florida’s senior population can be alerted to consumer fraud, con games, and other criminal acts. The purpose of the Seniors Vs Crime Project is twofold: to offer crime prevention seminars to Florida's elderly and to provide comprehensive training for law enforcement officers and other criminal justice practitioners in understanding how the aging population impacts upon the role of police and other criminal justice professionals.

The program has more than 2,000 volunteers staffing 44 local offices throughout Florida. For more information about Seniors vs Crime visit www.seniorsvscrime.com or call 1-800-203-3099.



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Monday, April 01, 2019

A “TOOL” FOR AN HONEST PRICE FROM A CAR DEALER, AT LAST!


The form above was created based on a discussion with Nancy Stewart, my co-host on our radio show, “Earl Stewart on Cars”, last Saturday.

The next time you purchase a vehicle, insist that the price quoted to you by the salesman be certified by the signature of a manager of the dealership; or, if you are responding to advertisement, be sure that the advertised price is so certified.

Most of the skullduggery by car dealers comes from two sources, hidden fees added after the price is advertised or quoted and dealer installed accessories that are pre-installed on the vehicles, but not included in the advertised or quoted prices.

You can even use this form when you shop by phone or online. Fax or scan and email the form to the car salesman and insist that he sign it and fax or email it back.

This form will be available for download at EarlOnCars.com or you can just click this link here: Download "Out-the-Door" Price Form

You may even be thinking, what if the car salesman refused to sign this document? My answer is simple…LEAVE!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Why a Car Dealer Won’t Give You His Lowest Out-the-Door Price... by Earl Stewart

- by Earl Stewart

I’m sure you noticed that the last time you went car shopping you were unable to get a firm price on the car, unless you were willing to sign on the dotted line and put down a deposit. It’s impossible to get a firm, honest price on a car over the telephone, and very difficult to get one via email. If, on the off chance, you’ve never bought a car, or haven’t bought one in a long time, try this. Call any car dealership and ask for a price on a specific year, make, and model. I can guarantee that you won’t be able to get a firm price.

Have you ever wondered why you can get a firm price on just about any other product except an automobile? You can call a jewelry store and get a price on a diamond ring that costs as much or more than a car. You can go on Amazon.com, get a firm price, and buy virtually anything. Walk in or call any department store and they give you a firm, out-the-door price.

Car dealers don’t want to give you a firm price because they want to deprive you of your rights in our American free-market economy. One of our most important American freedoms is to be able to shop and compare prices so that you can choose the lowest one. There are some countries where the prices are dictated by the government or giant cartels. We have anti-trust laws in America that prohibit price fixing, monopolies, or collusion between companies which keep prices artificially high.

In fact, there’s even a federal law that says auto manufacturers must put a sticker on all vehicles that discloses the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, MSRP. This law was written by Senator Mike Monroney back in 1958. Senator Monroney felt there was a need for this law because, before then, car dealers could ask any price they wanted for car. They could put their own price sticker on their cars and mark their cost up any amount they chose. A car-buyer, pre-1958, had absolutely no basis for comparing prices between competing car dealers. The MSRP gave every car shopper a common basis for comparing discounts from MSRP. All dealers pay their manufacturers the same price for a car and all MSRP’s for a specific year-make-model have the same percentage markup. The Monroney label was a great idea and it worked well for a while, but it wasn’t too long before the car dealers figured out ways around this “handicap” to their profit margins.

The easiest way around an MSRP is simply to refuse to give the customer a firm discount unless they agree to buy the car, and therefore you can’t get a real price from a car dealer until then. Another way is to give you a firm discount but later add hidden charges like dealer fees, doc fees, electronic filing fees, or dealer installed accessories after you agree on the discount from MSRP. “Bait and switch” is a popular tactic which simply brings you in to buy a specific car only to find out that “It’s just been sold” …but here’s another one almost like it”. Another popular tactic is to advertise discounts from “list price”, “dealer list price”, or “sticker price”. Dealers even havecounterfeit Monroney labels printed that they display alongside of the real Monroney label. These counterfeit price stickers I’ve named “Phony Monroney’s”. I’ve seen advertisements from car dealers for “$10,500 Discounts on Every Vehicle in Stock”. The discounts aren’t from the MSRP but from “dealer list” which is clearly thousands of dollars above MSRP.

The best defense against all of this is to insist on an out-the-door price. Explain the following to the sales manager at the car dealership. “If you give me an honest out-the-door price, I will compare it with the two prices I already have from two other car dealerships. I will buy from the dealer with the lowest price. If you agree to give me your lowest out-the-door price, you have a 33% chance of selling me a car. If you refuse to give me a price right now, you have 0% chance of selling me a car, because I will walk out that front door and you will never see me or hear from me again.” You can accomplish the same thing over the telephone or via email.

I also recommend that you try www.TrueCar.com or www.CostcoAutoBuying.com, in addition to the tactic I just described. By way of full disclosure, I’m a TrueCar dealer, I own stock in TrueCar, and I was a member of the TrueCar national dealer council. If you give TrueCar a try, be sure to navigate to the page on their website that gives you the final price certificate. Do not rely on the estimated TrueCar prices on the previous page. To get the TrueCar certificate you must enter a name, email address, and phone number. If you would rather not be contacted by a car salesman, enter a different phone number and name. You can even get a different free email address from Yahoo, Microsoft, or Google. The TrueCar dealers are required to give you an out-the-door price on their price certificate (plus only government fees like license, sales tax, and registration). This means they should disclose all dealer fees and dealer-installed options. If they do not do this, you can call contact TrueCar and they will intervene on your behalf. Also, be sure to check the TrueCar or Costco out-the-door price with two other dealers. "Total Transparency Pledge: As a TrueCar Certified Dealer, this car dealer is committed to total price transparency. This means that this car dealer discloses its dealer fees and commonly installed dealer accessories in its pricing estimates. Call 1-888-TRUECAR if you have questions or concerns.”

Monday, March 18, 2019

A POORLY WRITTEN FLORIDA LAW INEFFECTIVELY “REGULATING” DEALER FEES - by Earl Stewart

by Earl Stewart

The Florida statute addressing the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act clearly states (and I quote), “The advertised price must include all fees or charges that the customer must pay, including freight or destination charge, dealer preparation charge, and charges for undercoating or rustproofing. State and local taxes, tags, registration fees, and title fees, unless otherwise required by local law or standard, need not be disclosed in the advertisement.” I’ll translate that confusing, redundant, lengthy, outdated, and inaccurate paragraph. All vehicles advertised for retail sale must include all charges to the customer except government fees for sales tax and license and registration.

Almost no car dealership in Florida complies with this law. Some ignore it entirely, some disclose in the fine print only one, not all, of their non-government fees. Some state that there are fees added to the advertised price but don’t state the amount, some state the amount of one of their hidden fees in the fine print, but don’t INCLUDE it in the price.

Florida law does not regulate the amount of the dealer fee, allowing dealers to charge different amounts ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Florida law does not regulate the name of the dealer fee so that the buyer can readily identify it. Few car dealers call their hidden fees “dealer fees”; Dealer Fee has become a generic term for the imaginative names chosen by dealers such as tag agency fee, e-filing fee, electronic filing fee, documentary or doc fee, dealer prep fee, notary fee, dealer services fee, administrative fee, etc...

Florida law does not limit the number of dealer fees a dealer may charge. Rather than having one huge fee, most dealers today have several large fees by different names.

These hidden fees are often not revealed in the paperwork seen by the customer when the vehicle sale is consummated. Dealers often use documents labeled “worksheets” or “Internal documents” with fine print indicating that it is not a legal document of the sale. The official document, vehicle buyer’s order, is printed out in the Finance office along with “reems” of other documents like the installment sale or lease contract, odometer form, power of attorney, extended warranty, maintenance contract, GAP insurance, etc. No customer has the time or inclination to read all the fine print on all the documents. A high percentage of Florida car buyers are unaware they were charged these hidden fees.

This statute states, (and I quote) A dealer shall not “charge a customer for any predelivery service required by the manufacturer, distributor, or importer for which the dealer is reimbursed by the manufacturer, distributor, or importer.” Also, the Florida statute states (and I quote) “Must not charge a customer for any predelivery service without having printed on all documents that include a line item for predelivery service the following disclosure: This charge represents costs and profit to the dealer for items such as inspecting, cleaning, and adjusting vehicles, and preparing documents related to the sale.” The language of the Florida statute is confusing and contradictory. First it says dealers can’t charge for predelivery service if they’re reimbursed (plus paid a profit) by the manufacturer for this. Then, in the same paragraph, the statute requires that the dealer disclose their fee represents costs and profits for inspecting, cleaning and adjusting vehicles. All new car dealers are reimbursed for their costs and a dealer profit by their manufacturer for all predelivery service to the new car.

Finally, almost no car dealers disclose in an addendum alongside the federally mandated Monroney Label (MSRP) their additional fees. This law which became effective in 1958 was to give car buyers a consistent basis for comparison of prices for the same year-make-model-accessorized car between different car dealers. Before the Monroney Label, all car dealers would price their cars differently. The higher they priced their cars, the higher they could advertise their discounts or offer in trade-in allowance. With the Monroney label MSRP, car buyers were supposed to be able to fairly compare discounts and trade-in allowances. The hidden fees from several hundred to several thousand dollars make this impossible and violate the spirit and intent of the federal Monroney MSRP sticker.


501.976 Para. 16-18

Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act

(16) Advertise the price of a vehicle unless the vehicle is identified by year, make, model, and a commonly accepted trade, brand, or style name. The advertised price must include all fees or charges that the customer must pay, including freight or destination charge, dealer preparation charge, and charges for undercoating or rustproofing. State and local taxes, tags, registration fees, and title fees, unless otherwise required by local law or standard, need not be disclosed in the advertisement. When two or more dealers advertise jointly, with or without participation of the franchisor, the advertised price need not include fees and charges that are variable among the individual dealers cooperating in the advertisement, but the nature of all charges that are not included in the advertised price must be disclosed in the advertisement.

(17) Charge a customer for any predelivery service required by the manufacturer, distributor, or importer for which the dealer is reimbursed by the manufacturer, distributor, or importer.

(18) Charge a customer for any predelivery service without having printed on all documents that include a line item for predelivery service the following disclosure: “This charge represents costs and profit to the dealer for items such as inspecting, cleaning, and adjusting vehicles, and preparing documents related to the sale.”




Monday, March 11, 2019

DON’T FALL FOR CAR DEALERS’ NITROGEN-IN-TIRES CON GAME

I’ve been writing articles on why nitrogen in your tires is a waste of money for several years, but It has had very little effect on the number of car dealers that are selling it to their customers. Just last week, I received a text from a listener to my radio show disputing the fact that nitrogen is worthless for auto tires. The “Nitrogen Lobby” must be very powerful because we still have no federal or state legislation to curtail this. Selling nitrogen generation equipment and tanks of nitrogen to car dealers is very lucrative and, even more lucrative is the money car dealers make selling nitrogen to their customers. One large volume car dealer charges $899.99 for nitrogen in the tires of every vehicle he sells (August 2017). The cost of nitrogen is about “25 cents” per application. If you feel you absolutely must have nitrogen in your tires, Costco will give it to you for nothing which is exactly what nitrogen in your tires is worth. Costco reason for this is to encourage you to come back for more free nitrogen so that they can sell you a rotate, balance, and another set of tires.

I don’t recommend that you even accept free nitrogen for this reason. It’s widely accepted and recommended that you should have your tire pressure checked in your tires at least monthly. We do this free for our customers and automatically do it at every service visit. When you are sold or even given nitrogen, it comes with a sales pitch that nitrogen will remain in your tires for a much longer time than air which is not true. Click on this link to Consumer Reports article,www.NitrogenInTiresWastesYourMoney.com. If you believe the sales pitch, you’re less likely to check your tires inflation every 30 days. You may have a slow leak in one tire from a nail or screw, uneven wear from misalignment, or even a defective tire. Being “over confident” because you paid money for nitrogen may cause these problems to go undetected. Consumer Reports estimates that 1 lb. of nitrogen will escape from your tires every 3 months vs. 1 month for air. Remember that air is 78% nitrogen. I’ll bet the salesman that sells you nitrogen “forgot” to tell you that.

Be prepared for a great sales pitch on nitrogen. You’ll be told that NASCAR uses nitrogen in the tires of their race cars, NASA used nitrogen in the tires of their space shuttle, and that airlines uses nitrogen in airplane tires. All of this is true, but so what? A race car going 200 mph for hours and hours around an oval track subjects its tires to extremely high temperatures. 100% nitrogen gas does expand less under extreme heat condition than 78% nitrogen gas (air). The space shuttle tires go from zero atmospheric pressure in outer space to regular pressure at sea level. Airliners also have extreme pressure variations from 30,000 feet to the ground.

To be perfectly fair, I must say that some car dealers that are selling nitrogen have “drunk the Kool Ade” from the nitrogen generation equipment industry. Some car dealers believe that nitrogen is good for your tires. But those who do know must know how much they’re marking up that 25 cents worth of nitrogen they’re selling you! The argument for nitrogen can be persuasive. In fact, when the concept was first introduced, before the Consumer Reports study, I considered adding nitrogen to my customers’ tires. But, in an abundance of caution, I decided to test the claims about nitrogen myself. Over a six-month period I used pure nitrogen in 50% of my rental car fleet and regular air (78% nitrogen) in the other half. Guess what! There was no measurable difference between the pure nitrogen and air-filled tires in the fuel economy, tire wear, or inflation pressure after 6 months. We did check the tires every 30 days for slow leaks from road hazards, uneven wear from misalignment or other reasons, and we rotated and balanced the tires every 5,000 miles.

Finally, I’ll tell you why I was so careful to be sure there was no advantage to nitrogen. My dealership has a “free tire program”. Everybody who buys a Toyota from me, new or certified used, receives free tires (maximum of $700 per set) for as long as they own their car. The one requirement is that they bring their car back to me for the factory recommended service and we replace only tires from normal wear, not road hazards, underinflating or misalignment. I give away in excess of $100,000 worth of tires every month, well over a million dollars per year. BELIEVE ME, if I thought I could get longer wear from a tire for “25 cents” worth of nitrogen, I would! I look at the tires on my customers’ cars as “belonging to me” because I incur the cost of replacing them when they wear out.

Monday, March 04, 2019

Seniors: Think Twice Before Leasing a Car - by Earl Stewart

Leasing a new vehicle is very different from renting. When you sign a 36-month or 48-month lease, you obligate yourself for 36 or 48 monthly payments, even if you can no longer drive. You’re also responsible for maintaining insurance on the leased vehicle, even if it’s not being driven. You may become incapacitated or your driver’s license can be revoked. If you die, your estate is obligated for the remaining payments.

It’s possible to have your lease assigned to another person, but this must be approved by the leasing company. There are companies that, for a fee, specialize in finding people to assume lease payments, but these people have to have the approval of the leasing company.

You may have noticed that most new car advertising is for leasing, not buying. This is because car dealers average a much higher profit from a leased car than a purchased car. Also, the car dealer has a much better chance of keeping you as a customer if you lease. You must return the car to the dealer at the end of the lease. The car dealer and leasing company (usually the manufacturer) have monthly contact with you, because your making lease payments. Leasing companies penalize you with a “lease disposition fee” if you opt not to buy or lease another car of that make.

For all the above reasons, the car dealers and manufacturers will encourage you to lease rather than buy. Be forewarned that unscrupulous salesmen will give you bad advice to persuade you to change your mind about buying and leasing instead. They earn much higher commissions on leases, and they’re more likely to lease or sell you another car. The expression used by car salesmen when they attempt to do this is called the “Lease Flip”. The sales manager will instruct his salesman who is having difficulty making a big profit on a car purchase to “Flip her to a lease”. The salesman will try to focus your attention on the lower monthly payment of a lease and not mention the fact that you are building no equity when you lease like you do when you purchase. He won’t mention the higher cost of insurance, excess mileage charge, lease inception fee, lease disposition fee, or the charge at the end of the lease for excessive wear and tear. Some sales people will imply, or say, that you can return a lease early without any penalty. Too often your trade-in is undervalued or not valued at all on the lease contract. Lease contracts are very complicated compared to purchase contracts. There’s lots of fine print and variables that affect the total cost. The main numbers you have be aware of are the lease factor (interest rate), residual value (estimated value at the end of the lease) and the capitalized cost. The capitalized cost should reflect the fair credit for your trade-in and should represent the discounted price if you were buying the car.

With all that said, a lease can be just as good a value as a purchase, but leases are far more complicated. This gives the car dealer, manufacturer, and car salesman more of an upper hand. There’s an old joke that goes like this…” If you sit down at a poker table, look at all the other players, and can’t figure out who the sucker is…it’s probably you. Always be extra careful when you’re playing somebody else’s game.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Don't Get Spotted!

This article was run previously. I apologize to those readers who have read this before, but I feel it’s necessary to rerun columns that focus on dangers to car-buyers that are prevalent. The situation described in the next paragraph motivated me to rerun this column.

Yesterday, I received a phone call from a young man whose wife had purchased a new Tundra truck from a Toyota dealership South Florida. She traded in her old car for a down payment and financed the truck at an interest rate of 5%. She happily drove the truck home and showed it off to her friends, neighbors, and relatives. About 3 weeks later, she received a call from the salesman at the dealership telling her that her credit had been declined by the bank. She was ordered bring the truck back and that the contract would have to be rewritten. The new contract had a substantially higher interest rate, raising the total cost of the truck by thousands of dollars. When she demanded her trade in back, she was told “they couldn’t find it”. I told the husband and wife to speak to the owner or general manager of the dealership and tell them that they would hire an attorney if they refused to reverse the deal and give them their trade-in back or honor the original contract.

When you bought your last new or used vehicle, did the salesman encourage (or even insist) that you drive your vehicle home that same day? The chances are very good that he did because Florida dealers and those in most other states have a firm policy of doing this. I’ll estimate that 90% to 95% of all cars sold in Florida are “spotted” which is the slang expression dealers have for this policy. A few states, like New York, make it illegal to deliver a newly purchased car until the tag, title, and registration process have been finalized which delays the delivery for a few days. As much as you may be tempted, these are 5 reasons you should not sign the papers and drive the newly purchased vehicle home the same day you decide to buy it. Some car buyers are under the impression that there’s a 72 hour “cooling off period” mandated by law that allows you to return purchases, but this is not true when you buy a car at the dealership. It applies only if you purchase the product in your home.



(1) If you’re financing the car through the dealer, there’s a chance that your financing has not been approved based on the same terms, interest rate, and down payment you agreed to. If you bought the car on a weekend or after 5pm, most banks and credit unions are closed. Even if you bought it earlier during a weekday, it can take a day or more for a bank to do a thorough credit
investigation and approval. If your credit is later turned down or the down payment, interest rate, or terms modified, you will be faced with the embarrassing necessity of returning the car and resigning a contract that will result in you paying more money than you had agreed to.



(2) Most cars, surprisingly, are purchased on impulse with emotion overcoming logic. The 2nd largest expenditure the average person makes in their life is for their car. This decision should be made with logic, not emotion. Logic dictates that one should spend several weeks studying the pros and cons of the many different vehicles available. The Internet offers a wealth of information. Should you lease or buy? Should you buy a late model used car or a new one? Which dealer offers the lowest price? Which dealer offers the highest price for your trade-in? Which bank or credit union offers the lowest interest rates and terms and down payment acceptable to you? You should never buy a vehicle without an extensive test drive.



(3) The dealer may be insisting that you take delivery immediately because he knows that this is the best way to force your emotion to overcome your logic. When you take your new vehicle home and show it off to your friends, family, and neighbors, you’re far more likely not to change your mind. Because you’ve left your trade-in with the dealer, you’re not going to be checking prices with other dealers. Taking you out of the market by keeping your trade in has a slang term among dealers…you’ve been “de-horsed”. Taking that new car home the same day also has a slang term…you’ve been “puppy-dogged”. Have you ever gone puppy shopping with your family and brought home a warm, cute, and cuddly puppy? What are the chances you’ll return her the next day because the price was too high?



(4) A legally binding contract must have “offer and acceptance.” Taking your car home completely binds the acceptance of the contract, if you signed one, and makes it far less likely that you will be able to get out of the deal you made.



(5) Unscrupulous car dealers will spot deliver cars knowing that the lender will not approve the low interest rate, low down payment, and longer terms that you have agreed to. They’re relying on the fact that you’ll fall in love with your “new puppy” and that you’ll brag to your family, friends, and neighbors how about the low price, low interest rate, etc. that you negotiated. When you get that call from the finance manager at the dealership a few days after delivery that you must come back to “take care of a little more paperwork”, you won’t hesitate. When you get there, you find out that you have to come up with a lot higher down payment, a much higher interest rate, and tell you that you have to buy an extended warranty because “the bank requires it”. Your monthly payment goes way up and so does the dealer’s profit. The dealers have a slang expression for this too…it’s called the “yo-yo delivery”.



If you find yourself in the position of being told to return your purchase because the bank requires a higher interest, higher down payment, or shorter terms be sure that you understand that you have no obligation to sign a new contract and keep the vehicle. Your contract is null and void. There’s even an argument to be made by you and your lawyer that the first contract is valid and that you can keep the car at the original terms agreed upon. You may have signed a paper, typically referred to as a “Rescission Agreement”, which purports to require you to return the car if the bank refuses to honor the contract as written. There are financial penalties if you don’t. This was common practice with all Florida car dealers for many years but court decisions, case law, has made this a very questionable practice. I hope that this never happens to you but if it does and you decide you want to keep the car under the terms of the original finance contract, I recommend you hire a lawyer.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Car Dealer Victim Profiles


I receive a lot of emails, calls, and letters every week from victims of car dealers who were taken advantage of in buying, leasing, and servicing their cars. They mostly call to ask what they can do to get all or some of their money back. These “victims” fall into different categories:

The elderly (often widows)

The very young, usually buying their first car

Those who don’t read, write, speak or understand English well, not born in this country

The less educated.

People with no or bad credit. 

Everybody else

1. The elderly, especially widows, are the most victimized. The reasons for this are that Florida, especially South Florida, is a “retirement” state. Baby boomers and pre-baby boomers make up a disproportionately large percentage of Florida’s population. Not only that, but life expectancies have soared in recent years…81 for a woman and 76 for a man. Men usually predecease their wives. Women’s role in the American culture is a great deal different than in the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s. Often, the husband was not only the breadwinner, but the decision maker in the household. Widows of that era are often buying or leasing their first car today. Men and women in their seventies, eighties, and nineties (Yes, I have a lot of customers in their nineties) aren’t as sharp as they once were. I’m 78 and I’ll be the first to admit this. In my opinion, men and women of my age, and older, are more trusting. We can’t forget the terrible disease, Alzheimer’s. Unless a court declares a person incompetent, a person with dementia can legally buy a car in Florida, and it happens all too often. Knowingly selling a car to a person with dementia is a despicable act that too many car dealers commit.

2. What chance does a teenager or a young person in his twenties have when negotiating with a car salesman and his manager to buy a car? Usually it’s the parents who call me to tell me how their son or daughter was taken advantage of. I don’t tell them this, but what I’m thinking is “Why didn’t they accompany them to the car dealership to advise them?”

3. South Florida is not only a retirement area, but it’s a haven for immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, and South and Central America. Many of these are first generation Americans who have a difficult time with English or can’t speak, read, or write English at all. These people are easy prey for unscrupulous car dealers. Can you imagine how difficult it would be for you to get a fair price on a car you were buying in a foreign country where you did not speak or understand the language?

4. Let’s face it; there are too many Americans who never had the benefit of a proper education. We have too many high school dropouts and too many high school graduates who still can’t read or write as well as they must to function in our society. Lack of a good education is one of America’s most serious problems and we’re seeing other countries like China, Japan, Germany and India pass us by in educating their children. It’s almost criminal how the educated are exploited by car dealers’ advertising and sales tactics. How many car dealers’ TV advertisements have you seen that you laugh at, knowing that they are totally untrue, “bait and switch” to lure you into the dealership? You wonder who would believe that kind of nonsense. The reason that car dealers keep running those ads is because they work.

5. There are always people with bad, marginal or no credit who must buy a car. In Florida, without an effective mass transit system, a car is virtually a necessity to get to your job or find a job, not to mention the doctor, school, or the pharmacy. People with bad credit are at the mercy of the car dealer. The main thing on these peoples’ minds is NOT how good a price or a car can I buy or how low an interest rate, but can they be financed? Knowing this, car dealers will charge whatever price and interest rate the lender will let them get away with. People with bad credit almost always pay dealers a higher profit than those with good credit.

6. Who should be held responsible for car dealers ripping off customers? For categories one through five, the answer is our regulators and our lawmakers. But for the last category, “Everybody else”, it’s themselves. Of course, it goes without saying that the car dealers who do this are responsible too. But who doesn’t know that most car dealers do business this way? Who doesn’t know that car dealers perennially rank LAST on the annual Gallup “Honesty and Ethics in Professions” poll? I recently received an email from a woman who fell in none of the first 5 categories above. She was terribly victimized by a very unethical car dealer from whom she bought two used cars on the same night. Her email asked me for advice on what she should do. Of course, the “horse was out of the barn” and this makes things more difficult. This woman did not ask for or receive a CarFax report on either used car. Nor did she take either car to her mechanic for approval. She clearly didn’t investigate the dealer for reputation. She didn’t check any sources like Consumer Reportsfor recommended used cars. She did not shop and compare prices for similar cars and the list of “did not’s” goes on. If you don’t do your due diligence when you buy a car you are equally culpable with the car dealer who took advantage of you.

At this point, I will shamelessly plug my book, Confessions of a Recovering Car Dealer. I say “shamelessly” because 100% of the proceeds from my book go to the charity, Big Dog Ranch Rescue, www.BDRR.org . You can buy this book at www.Amazon.com. It will tell you everything you need to know about how not to be ripped off by a car dealer. Or, you can read my blog articles at www.EarlOnCars.com. Or, how about tuning in my weekly radio show aired on 95.9 FM, 106.9 FM or 960 AM in North Palm Beach? It’s live talk radio from 10 am to noon Saturdays Eastern Time. You can also stream this show live onwww.Facebook.com/EarlOnCars or at www.StreamEarlOnCars.com. Call me during the show and ask any question you like.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Earl’s Suggested Word Track For No-Haggle, No-Hassle 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 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 very strong will, stamina, and a very thick skin should attempt face-to-face negotiation. 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. That 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 paid to the government. I will not pay dealer fees by any name such as electronic filing fees and 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 as 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. “

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, Instagram, 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.”

If you apply this word track and do not vary from it or weaken to the car salesmen’s objections, you will buy your next new or used car for a very low price and without the haggle, hassle, and resulting anxiety and anger that you’ve experienced in the past. Good Luck.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Most Florida Car Dealers Break the Law Every Day

The following is part of Section 501.976, paragraph (16) of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act: “The advertised price of a vehicle must includeall fees or charges that the customer must pay...except “state and local taxes, tags, registration fees and title fees” …. In other words, ONLY GOVERNMENT FEES may be excluded from the advertised price of car in Florida.

I have been mystery shopping Florida car dealers every week for 14 years and I estimate more than 95% violate the law with all their vehicle advertisements.

Your reaction to this incredulous statement must be something like, “How is that possible?” Ask yourself if you’ve ever bought a car in Florida at the advertised price plus only sales tax and license and registration fees. If you dig out your paperwork and check, you’ll discover that you paid from several hundred to several thousand dollars more in hidden fees and dealer installed accessories.

Some car dealers don’t even mention the fact that they have hidden fees or dealer installed accessories on every vehicle they sell. Some will disclose in the fine print the fact that they do have a dealer fee, but they don’t mention theamount. If they do mention the amount in the fine print, this doesn’t comply with the law which says, “the advertised price must include all fees or charges the customer must pay, except government fees”.

Florida regulators are primarily responsible for letting this law be flagrantly broken by virtually every car dealer in Florida. The Florida Attorney General’s office know this is going on, but refuses to do anything about it. The last time I asked the Attorney General why they took no action, I was told that they receive very few consumer complaints. This doesn’t surprise me because this law has been violated and ignored for so many years that most car buyers don’t even know that hidden fees are illegal. I also must add that car dealers and their lobbying association, Florida Auto Dealers Associations (FADA) have strongly supported the election of every Florida Attorney General.

You would think that public awareness through the media, the fourth estate of government, would rally public outcry and eventually get the attention of the Attorney General…not so. Local auto dealers are among the biggest advertisers on radio, TV, and newspapers. If a local radio station, TV channel, or newspaper says something bad about a local car dealer, the loss of that advertising revenue could seriously affect their bottom-line. When was the last time you saw, heard, or read a negative story about a local car dealer? I never have, and I’ve been a car dealer in Florida for 50+ years.

With the rapid switch from newspaper, TV and radio to digital…Facebook, Google, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, there’s hope for us to spread the word. Talk about your last car buying experience on your favorite digital platform. Some of these could go viral and even the Attorney General might decide to act.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Minimizing the Pain of Auto Service or Repair

The pain of buying a used or new car may be greater than the pain of having it serviced, but you need to have it serviced far more often than you must buy a car. Below, I’m listing eight suggestions to make your visit to your car dealer’s or independent service department as pleasant as possible.

(1) The Dealer with the Best Price Might Have the Worst Service. Remember that you don’t have to have the same dealership service your car that sold you your car. You probably bought your car from the dealer who gave you the best price. You should have your car serviced at the dealer who can best maintain and repair your car. The price of service is important, but secondary to the quality of the service and repairs. Do a little research. Ask friends and neighbors who drive your make of car. Check with the BBB and the County Office of Consumer Affairs. Ask the service manager at the dealership to show you his factory score on CSI (customer satisfaction index) and customer service loyalty (what percent of customers return to this dealer for service?) Every manufacturer surveys dealers’ service customers and ranks that dealer by how well he treats his customers.

(2) Establish a personal relationship with your service advisor. The person in the service drive who writes up your repair order is very important. Be sure you get a good one. He should be knowledgeable, attentive to your needs, promptly return phone calls, and recommend only necessary services. You might not find this person on your first visit, but if you aren’t comfortable with the person you are dealing with, ask for one with whom you are. When you make an appointment to have your car serviced, always ask for that service advisor.

(3) Don’t pay the “gotcha”, miscellaneous supplies fee. Almost all car dealers and independents tack on a phony fee when you pay your bill which is simply more profit to the dealer but is disguised by various labels. It is also sometimes called “environmental impact fee”, “sundry shop supplies” and many others. The cashier just adds a percentage ranging from 5% to 10% to your bill. This is no different than the “dealer fee” that the sales department tacked on to the price they quoted you on the price of the car. Most dealers will waive this fee if you complain about it, especially if you threaten to call the BBB, their manufacturer, or the Florida Attorney General’s office.

(4) Always road test your car, preferably with the technician. If you brought your car in for a drivability problem such as a noise, vibration, or pulling to the right or left, don’t accept the car back until you ride in the car with the technician or service advisor and confirm that the problem has been remedied. I also recommend that you drive the car with the service advisor to demonstrate the problem when you bring it in. Experiencing what you experience always communicates your problem more accurately than verbally describing it.

(5) Ask for a written estimate of the total cost of repairs and maintenance.
Florida law requires that the dealer give you a written estimate. By law, they may not exceed this by more than 10%.

(6) Make an appointment ahead of time. You should insist on making an appointment and you should try to make that appointment at a time when the dealer’s service department will be least busy…typically the middle of the afternoon on weekdays or Saturday and Sunday. Avoid the 7:30-8:00 morning rush. When your service advisor has written up your repair order, ask him how long it will take. After he tells you, ask him to let you know ahead of time if, for any unforeseen reason, your car will not be ready in the promised time. Often when you call a service department they will tell you to “bring the car in anytime” or “come right over”. Service advisors will tell you this because they are either too busy or too lazy to take the time to make a proper appointment. When they tell you this, tell them that your time is very valuable and that you insist on an appointment at a time when they can get you in and out quickly. Always write down the name of the person that gave you the appointment.

(7) Shop and compare high cost repair prices. Most service departments are competitive on maintenance items like oil changes, wheel alignments, and tire rotations. However, the costs of major repairs can vary considerably. If you are looking at an air-conditioner, transmission, or engine repair that can cost several thousands of dollars, get bids from more than one service department. Often just suggesting that you will do this will keep the cost down from the dealership you prefer.

(8) Introduce yourself to the service manager. This falls along the same philosophy as developing a good personal relationship with your service advisor. It can’t hurt to know the “boss”. If you are on first name basis with the service manager, it just might earn you a slightly higher level of treatment from those that work for him. Be sure you meet the real manager. Lots of service advisors/salesmen call themselves managers or ASM’s… assistant service managers”. They are not…they are service salesmen.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

ATTENTION: CAR SALESMEN: JOIN MY WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM



Your car dealership probably adds non-government fees to the advertised prices of all the vehicles they sell. Florida law (and all other states) requires that all such fees be included in the advertised price. Why should you “rat” on your car dealer? These hidden fees cost you money just like it costs the unsuspecting customer. Your commission (average 25%) isn’t applied to these hidden fees which are generically referred to as dealer fees, but go by many other names. What they have in common is that they are not government fees. The Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, FDUTPA, section 501.976, par. 16-18. (see in the last paragraph).

These hidden fees average over $1,000 in South Florida which costs a car salesman an average of $250 commission on every car he sells. An average car salesman sells about 12 cars per month which totals $3,000 monthly that’s going into your dealer’s pocket instead of yours. Your dealer may have told you that the law requires he add his hidden dealer fees to the price of every car. This is untrue. If he eliminated the dealer fee and just raised the price of the car by that amount, you would be paid your fair commission. Your customer would also know the true price instead of being tricked.

The witness information I gather from your feedback towww.YourAnonymousFeedback.com can be used to make dealer fees illegal in Florida and perhaps the entire USA. I’m consulting with attorneys to launch a large class action suit against car dealers on behalf of car buyers. Tell me what’s going on in your dealership when you sell cars to customers who come in on advertised vehicles. Does your dealer include all his hidden dealer fees in the advertised price? The names of these fees vary, but some of the most common are dealer services fee, dealer fee, notary fee, doc fee, tag agency fee, electronic filing fee, e-filing fee, dealer prep fee, etc. Does he include some but not all? The best test of whether a fee is bogus or not is whether the dealer collects sales tax on the amount. If he charges the customer sales tax, it’s a bogus, non-government fee. All non-government fees (no matter what name your dealer chooses) must be disclosed on the buyer’s order with the language you can read in FDUTPA in the last paragraph of this article. They also must be included in the advertised price.

I completely understand why you’d be nervous about whistle-blowing on your employer. I’m sure you work hard and don’t want to lose your job. The link I’ve provided, www.YourAnonymousFeeback.com, is run by a company named Incogneato that provides this link to hundreds of blue chip companies so that their employees and customers can offer anonymous feedback. Some of these companies are Amazon, Tesla, Airbnb, PSB (Public Service Broadcasting) and Adobe. You can check them out at www.incognea.to. YOUR ANONYMITY IS GUARANTEED.

You can help put a stop to all dealer fees which will significantly increase your sales commissions and allow you to be honest with your customer.

Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act 
(16) Advertise the price of a vehicle unless the vehicle is identified by year, make, model, and a commonly accepted trade, brand, or style name. The advertised price must include all fees or charges that the customer must pay, including freight or destination charge, dealer preparation charge, and charges for undercoating or rustproofing. State and local taxes, tags, registration fees, and title fees, unless otherwise required by local law or standard, need not be disclosed in the advertisement. When two or more dealers advertise jointly, with or without participation of the franchisor, the advertised price need not include fees and charges that are variable among the individual dealers cooperating in the advertisement, but the nature of all charges that are not included in the advertised price must be disclosed in the advertisement.
(17) Charge a customer for any predelivery service required by the manufacturer, distributor, or importer for which the dealer is reimbursed by the manufacturer, distributor, or importer.
(18) Charge a customer for any predelivery service without having printed on all documents that include a line item for predelivery service the following disclosure: “This charge represents costs and profit to the dealer for items such as inspecting, cleaning, and adjusting vehicles, and preparing documents related to the sale.”

Monday, January 14, 2019

Car Dealer Don’t Trust You: Their CUSTOMERS!



I’m always amazed by the way car dealers who use deceptive advertising and unethical sales tactics rationalize their behavior by blaming you, their customer. The following is a direct quote from an anonymous car dealer’s email I received in response to one of my columns in this newspaper:

“I don't think you would make any of these comments if you sold fords in a non-metro market. How do you expect dealers to change when consumers think they should pay less than dealer cost for a car and then walk into any other form of retail store and pay what they are asking?? Your ideas are noble but there are other dealers who have tried 'your' methods who are no longer in business.”

This dealer is saying that his customers are so ruthless and cunning that they won’t buy a car unless they can buy it below his cost, and his only solution is to trick them into thinking that they are buying it below his cost, like tacking on a “dealer fee” to the price they quoted the customer. He also goes on to say that my “ideas are noble” but I can’t possibly be successful, and I will go broke trying. I truly appreciate his concern and I want to assure him, if he is reading this article, that my business is doing well.

This attitude is a prevailing part of the culture in many car dealerships. Many dealers, dealer managers, and sales people don’t trust their customers (how paradoxical!). They don’t even like their customers. A very common expression among car dealers and their sales staff is “Buyers are liars”. This means that a prospective customer will not tell you the truth about the condition of his trade-in, he will lie to you about the price he got from your competitor, and he is likely to remove those new tires that were on his trade-in when the dealer appraised it when he comes in to pick up his new car.

There are also a lot of dealerships where used car buyers and people with bad credit are held in especially low esteem. They have nicknames for people with bad credit like “slugs” and “roaches”. Apparently dehumanizing these unfortunate members of our society with derogatory labels makes it easier to treat them so shabbily. People with bad credit are targeted with direct mail, TV and digital advertisements making absurd promises that convince prospective customers that they can finance a car no matter how bad their credit. In some dealerships applicants are coached on how to falsify credit application and pay records. In some cases, the applicant may not even know he is signing a false credit application which is federal offence. In most cases the credit is refused and the applicants are not even given the courtesy of a return phone call to tell them this.

I don’t claim to be a psychologist (and I don’t even play one on TV), but I’ve read articles explaining how humans will stereotype other people in a fashion that falsely justifies their negative behavior toward those same people. We see this with racism and even in wars. If you make yourself believe that car buyers are out to take advantage of you, “buyers are liars”, you can’t feel guilty about tricking them into paying a dealer fee. If you trick a “roach” or a “slug” into coming in to buy a car on credit when they probably can’t, why should you feel guilty? After all, roaches and slugs don’t have feelings.

What these kinds of dealerships don’t understand is that you must trust a person first before you can expect her to trust you. You must treat a person with respect before you can expect that person to respect you. Somebody has got to go first. My experience over the past 50+ years as a car dealer is that 99.9% of my customers are good people who I can believe and trust. Those are pretty good odds and I just assume that every customer I’m dealing with is part of that 99.9%. Once in a great while I get burned, but the loss from that one in a thousand that takes advantage is far out-weighed by the other 999 who respond positively to my trusting them and treating them with courtesy and respect.

Monday, January 07, 2019

QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE: DON’T GET RIPPED OFF BY A CAR DEALER



1. Choose the exact vehicle you want to buy or lease before you discuss price. Research this carefully and take your time. Consumer Reports is your best guide. Test drive the exact year, make and model vehicle for several hours, at least. Do not discuss price at this stage under any circumstances.

2. Go online to find your lowest price. The 2 best resources arewww.TrueCar.com and www.CostcoAuto.com. There’s no charge from TrueCar but you must be a paid member of Costco.

3. You should also check the best price with at least 3 dealerships. Deal only with their Internet departments. Insist on an out-the-door price plus GOVERNMENT FEES only. Beware of hidden fees by various names, collectively referred to as “dealer fees”. Beware of DEALER installed options added to the quoted price.

4. Shop and compare interest rates and terms with your bank and your credit union. Never rely on dealer financing without comparing it with your bank or credit union.

5. Get the true value of your trade-in by pretending that you want to sell to dealers who sell the same make as your trade. CarMax is also a good place to bet a bid on your trade-in. Remember to deal with the used car manager of the dealership and tell him you are selling your car and do not want to buy another.

6. Once you’ve determined the dealership that apparently has the best price, visit that dealership to confirm things are on the “up and up”. If they try to add anything to their quoted price except FEES THEY MUST PAY TO THE GOVERNMENT which can only be sales tax and license plate, LEAVE. Offer this dealer your trade-in if he will match your best price and your financing if he can beat your bank or credit union. One caveat on the trade-in…Florida and most states offer a sales tax savings for the trade-in allowance. Be sure that your third-party trade-in offer allows for this.

I guarantee you that if you follow these six simple rules, you will never again be ripped off by a car dealer.