Take Control and Make Him Play by Your Rules!
Car dealers rely on tactics designed by them to trick and confuse the buyers. Among their favorites are hidden fees, dealer installed accessories, counterfeit window stickers, undervaluing your trade-in, and inflated interest rates and overpriced products sold in the finance department, and advertising that grossly understates the true selling price. Here’s how you can buy the car using your game plan, taking control and getting the lowest out-the-door price.
- Hidden fees. Lots of car buyers ask me how they can force a car dealer to remove or reduce his hidden fees. The answer is to let him keep his hidden fees, but to include them in the “out-the-door” price you should demand. Out-the-door price definition: The amount of money you can write out your check for, present it to the dealer, and drive your car home. This tactic neuters the only reason dealers have fees. This is to lure you into the dealership on a very low price, only to add several hidden fees, raising the real price by thousands of dollars. By insisting on the out-the-door price, and their knowing that you’re comparing their real price with their competitors, you don’t care what amount of “fees” they include. You’re making your buying decision on the lowest bottom-line from at least 3 other dealers.
- Dealer pre-Installed Accessories. These include nitrogen in the tires, paint sealant, fabric protection, road hazard insurance, pin stripes, tinted windows, floormats, emergency road service and many more. What these all have in common is that they’re way overpriced and many are worthless, like nitrogen. Another thing they have in common is that they’re often pre-installed, but not included in the advertised price. The salesman often says, “I’m sorry but we can’t remove these accessories because they are already on the car”. Rather than argue with the salesman, remind him that you’ll be comparing his out-the-door price with 2 or 3 of his competitors. Tell him that you don’t want or need any of those “preinstalled accessories”, but if he insists on including them in his out-the-door price, you’ll be comparing his price with dealers that do not.
- Counterfeit Window Sticker. Most car dealers add a window sticker referred to as an “addendum” next to the federally mandated Monroney Label on new cars. It’s designed to jack up the true MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) by thousands of dollars. The increase varies from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. This dealer added label is usually designed to look like part of the Monroney label. In other words, counterfeit. I’ve dubbed this the “Phony Moroney”. The purpose is to make you think you’re getting a bigger discount or a large trade-in allowance. One again, don’t argue with the salesman. Insist on the out-the-door price and always get at least 3 bids on your trade-in from other dealers.
- Undervaluing your trade-in. Car dealers appraise trade-ins for as little as they think they can get away with. The dealer vernacular for this is “steal the trade”. If your trade-in is really worth $20,000 and they can convince you it’s only worth $17,000, they can make an extra $3,000 on the car you’re buying; or they can trick you into thinking their giving you an “extra” $3,000 discount. ALWAYS shop your trade-in with at least three other sources. Do not rely on “books” like Kelly Blue Book, NADA, or Black Book. Get actual buying bids from sources like CarMax, Carvana, WeBuyAnyCar.com or the used car manager at a dealer that sells the make of your trade.
- Inflated interest rates and overpriced products sold in the finance department. If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this. ALWAYS GET A BID FROM YOUR BANK AND/OR CREDIT UNION if you’re going to finance your car. Car dealers make considerably more financing your car than they did when they sold it to you. You can save thousands of dollars by your bank’s lower interest rate and not buying worthless finance products sold in the dealer’s finance department.
- Advertising that grossly understates the true selling price. IGNORE ALL CAR DEALER AND AUTO MANUFACTURER ADVERTISING. Without exception, all car dealers and manufacturers understate in their advertising the true price you must pay. Ask yourself this question, “Have you ever bought a new or used car for the advertised price?”.
By refusing to argue about dealers’ hidden fees, pre-installed accessories, phone Monroney, etc. and insisting on an out-the-door price that you compare with the competition, you’re TAKING CONTROL and making the dealer play by your game plan.