5 Tricks Car Dealers Use to Lure You

Look out for these traps when buying a car

Salespeople often work on a thin thread that separates art from trickery, and when it comes to new or used cars, the various tactics they employ are worthy of a football team's coach notebook.

Since adding a car to your garage is not a stroll through the park unless you're part of the 1%, it's useful to get a grip on a salesperson's arsenal of persuasion.

Below you'll find five of their tools of the trade, which we hope you'll remember and counterattack when needed.

1. Versatile choice of words

Verbal communication is a salesperson's spearhead, and the best in the branch are highly-skilled in the mastery of words.

Of course, their job is to sell the car by all means, which includes telling you that a given model's price is "eight eight five zero" instead of "eight thousand eight hundred and fifty." According to CheatSheet, this way, the communicated price seems lower, thus getting you one step closer to an acquisition.

Furthermore, they might go for a different greeting, so instead of "How can I help you?" they might throw in a question like "Are you looking for an MPV or an SUV today?".

In this case, it's crucial to avoid the fear of saying "no" to a salesperson. Furthermore, use your smartphone to dig for more info on a model you spotted and think it suits your needs.

2. Offering unrealistic price estimates

In other words, low-balling. The scenario goes like this: you are looking to trade in your vehicle, so you'll need someone from the dealership to examine and evaluate it.

What the person checking your car will do is try to mask the scratches and dents in the bodywork or the holes and stains in the upholstery by expertly using his or her fingers to pinpoint and highlight any defects.

In the end, you'll end up feeling grateful for the price they had offered, although it's well below the car's actual value. Ideally, you can avoid this situation by getting a guaranteed offer for the car before its examination, although this depends on what you've previously negotiated with the dealership.

3. The useless upgrades game

Well, you might not need them, but the dealership relies on them to squeeze some extra cash from your bank accounts.

Similar to point 1) above, don't hesitate to say "no" to dealership proposals that involve a tire upgrade, paint protection, or a new/extended warranty plan.

As a rule of the thumb, Car and Driver advises that "basically, if it’s anything he offers you after you’ve negotiated your sales price, you don’t need it and you shouldn’t pay for it." As simple as that.

4. So-called Yo-Yo Financing

Yo-yos might be fun and simple toys, but when the same principle ends up in a scheme crafted by the dealership, things are not that en rose.

A Yo-Yo financing plan usually targets potential buyers with limited credit options. The typical plot works like this: you find the car of your dreams, it fits the budget then you agree on sales terms and financing offer, and that's that. But not quite.

Usually, you'll be allowed to take the car home although the financing deal is yet to be perfected. A couple of days later, the dealer calls saying the initial financing deal didn't get through. 

So, to keep the car, a new agreement must be signed, but this time the terms include a higher interest rate or a chunkier deposit.

The best way of eluding such nuisance is to independently, on your own, put pen to paper on a financing deal with a third party (a bank, for example).

5. Contract mistakes

Of course, as Business Insider points out, they're not your everyday innocent mistake but rather well-placed typing errors that somehow seem to favor the dealership and not the buyer.

The so-called miscalculations can involve anything expressed in numbers price, interest rate, downpayment and so on, but also other contract terms that put in a certain way, favor the dealership.

A sure-shot way of preventing the dealers from playing this card is to check, double-check and then check some more the paperwork. It might be a boring task, but it's better to be safe than sorry, right?

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