If you’re in the market for a new or used car, then arguably the most essential research you can do isn’t necessarily related to preferred makes and models, but to the unethical — and possibly illegal — tactics that some dealers will try to use in order to get you to “sign on the dotted line”. For example, some dealers will roll back the odometerto fool you into thinking that a car has less wear-and-tear than it really does. If you’re in the market for a new or used car, then arguably the most essential research you can do isn’t necessarily related to preferred makes and models, but to the unethical — and possibly illegal — tactics that some dealers will try to use in order to get you to “sign on the dotted line”. For example, some dealers will roll back the odometer to fool you into thinking that a car has less wear-and-tear than it really does.
However, sometimes what you need to be alert about isn’t what dealers say, but what they deliberately avoid saying. And so, to make your next trip to the car dealer safe and rewarding — instead of risky and costly — here are 4facts that you need and deserve to know:
1. You absolutely don’t have to pay a deposit in order to have your offer considered by the sales manager.
Psychologists have long since established that people are more reluctant to back out of a deal once they’ve put any money towards it, even if they’re promised a full refund (more on this in a moment!). Dealers who insist on a deposit before they’ll take your offer to their sales manager are simply lying. You simply don’t have to do this. If a salesperson pushes you, your best course of action is to stand up and walk away.
2. You are legally entitled to get your deposit back.
Let’s say that you decide to put down a deposit; not because a salesperson pushed you into doing so, but because (for example) there are many people interested in a particular car, and putting down a deposit assures you of being in front of the line while negotiations take place. Well, if those negotiations fall through, then regardless of what the salesperson says, you are legally entitled to get your deposit back. For added protection, if you do indeed put down a deposit, never (ever!) do it in cash. Use your credit card.
3. The monthly payments are irrelevant.
Some unethical salespeople love it when customers get fixated on monthly payments, because they can easily manipulate the formula to find an amount that fits within a budget. However, what you need to remain focused on isn’t the monthly amount, but the total cost including all taxes, licensing and administrative fees.Don’t get lost in the monthly numbers, because you will always lose if you do — and the dealer will always win.
4. You aren’t limited to the boring and limited factory colors.
Car manufacturers typically offer a limited selection of generic, boring colors — simply because it’s more profitable for them to do so. However, you’re not limited to four or five colors. Instead you can get an after-market car wrap from a company like Lucent Wraps (find them at http://www.lucentwraps.com) in the color of your choice. You can also add graphics for an even more personal touch. And when you’re ready for a change (or want to sell your car), simply have the wrap removed to reveal the original, showroom-condition paint underneath.
The Bottom Line
I’ve been pretty hard on car salespeople in this article, and in closing I should point out that most of them aren’t out to lie, cheat or manipulate. They’re trying to do a job and earn a living. However, it must be admitted that some salespeople (and by extension the dealerships that employ them) have long since crossed the line between being aggressive — and being deceitful. Keeping the above facts in mind will help make your next trip to the dealership rewarding instead of regrettable.