Monday, June 08, 2020


Top 10 Rules Protecting You from Predatory Car Dealers
This article is for those prospective car buyers that are the least prepared to safely navigate the “mine field” known as the car dealership. You may be very young and are purchasing your first car; or you may be an elderly widow whose husband had purchased all your cars. You might be an immigrant, new to our country and not proficient in the English language. You may have had to leave school and gone to work to support your family before you received as complete an education as you would have liked. Whether or not you fall into any of these categories, you can still benefit from these 10 rules. I promise you that, if you rigorously follow them, you will buy your next new car at a low price, and will not be taken advantage of by a car dealer. 
  • Never, never, never buy a new vehicle in response to a car dealer’s or manufacturer’s advertisement. All auto advertisements are lies designed to get you “in the door” and sell you a car at a price much higher than the advertised price. To skeptics of this statement, I challenge anyone to show me a new car advertisement that they responded to and bought (paid in full for) the same car at the advertised price. 
  • Spend several days, preferably weeks, searching for and studying which is the best vehicle for you and your budget. Online sources are vast and excellent. My personal favorites are, (Kelly Bluebook), and
  • Begin price-shopping only when you’ve identified the specific vehicle you will buy. You must know the year, make, model, included options, and the MSRP. The MSRP (Federally required Monroney Label), the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, allows you to compare discounts between competing dealers. This way you’re comparing “apples and apples”. Dealers will try anything to switch you to a different vehicle so that you cannot accurately compare their price with their competitors’.
  • You must test-drive the specific vehicle you plan to buy. This is the only time you’ll physically visit the car dealership. Don’t go in alone. Two heads are better than one, and there’s less likelihood that you’re later involved in a “He said…she said argument”. Do not let the salesman know that you’re planning to buy soon; he’ll turn up the pressure to sell you a car TODAY. Tell him that you’ve just begin to look around and want to take a test drive. Be sure you allow yourself a long test drive, not just around the block. Once you take delivery of your new car, there’s no bringing it back.
  • Now the fun begins! From the safety and comfort of your home, you can shop and compare prices with as many car dealers as you want. Do your shopping online via email. Create a separate free email address with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, or Apple so that you’re not deluged by car salesmen. Withhold your real phone number. If the online template requires a phone number, make one up (or give them the number of somebody you don’t like…just kidding. 😊
  • Make it clear in your online communications, that the price you’re asking for is the OUT-THE-DOOR price. This is the most difficult and necessary part of this “primer”. Car dealers almost NEVER give their prospective customers out-the-door prices; In fact, car salesmen can be FIRED for doing this because they’ve armed the prospective customer with a price that can be shown to their competition. If the competitor offers a lower price, the first dealer loses the sale. So, why would they give YOU an out-the-door price? You make it clear that, if they don’t, they’ll never hear from you again and they will definitely lose the sale; but if they do give you their out-the-door price, you’ll show their competition, and if they don’t beat it, you will buy from this dealer. With “no out-the-door price”, they have NO chance; with an out-the-door price, they have some chance. “Half a loaf is better than none.
  • Definition of the Out-The-Door Price: The amount of money you can write a check out for, present it to the salesman, and then drive your new car home. Most of the profit car dealers make is added to the price you saw advertised or were quoted by the salesman. It’s added in the form of hidden fees and dealer-installed accessories. The only legitimate fees that can legally be added are government fees like sales tax and license/registration. The reason you must insist that ALL charges be included in the out-the-door price is that car dealers are experts at disguising dealer-hidden-fees as legitimate government fees with names like tag agency fee, electronic filing fee, notary fee and doc fee. These are simply added price/profit to the dealer.
  • Don’t play the dealers’ game by arguing about hidden fees and dealer installed accessories. Car salesmen are trained to overcome all objections, including those raised against hidden fees and dealer installed accessories. Virtually all dealers charge hidden fees and add unwanted accessories to the car after you’ve committed to the sale. By insisting on a TRUE out-the-door price which you will compare to their competition, you’ve taken away all the value to the dealer of hidden fees and accessories. That value to the dealer is sneaking those price increases, in and making you believe its “Standard Operating Procedure”, or maybe you just don’t even notice. When they include their hidden profit in their out-the-door price, who cares? Their competition will keep them honest by beating their price if they can.
  • Get financing quotes from your bank and/or your credit union. The interest rate, terms and down payment will probably be better than what the dealer offers. Also, you won’t be subject to being sold a lot of overpriced products in the dealer’s F&I department.
  • If you have a trade-in, get bids from, CarMax,, or from the used car departments of dealers that carry the make of new car your buying. Only trade your old car in if the dealer can offer you a competitive price. Keep in mind that most states allow you a sales tax deduction on a new car equal to the sales tax percent of the value of the trade-in.

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