Sneaky Car Dealership Tricks to Avoid at All Costs

Sneaky Car Dealership Tricks to Avoid at All Costs

By Jake Schroeder
Fwac Zhdscvyj1aab5ff3uivxdycbehf7o9odwxdhn19l Wrtvasll3vk890fnz Uhwmycsayyey47myc6yobexfzeur Vcuhvssj3m48rhplypx Wlpja6ckof3don6rjsd3l Gx Jytz6dqw
Photo Courtesy: Helgi Halldórsson/Wikimedia Commons

Buying a new car can be exciting, but it can also be a total pain in the neck. You may be tempted to try and get the experience over with as fast as possible, but you should resist that urge. Take some time to research the process and learn the common ways dealerships trick their customers into paying more so that they can’t take advantage of you.

Always remember that salesmen work on commission, and many care more about the sale than your needs. You are the one responsible for watching out for you. Start by learning about the most common sneaky car dealership tricks so you can smoothly avoid them.

False Advertising

False advertising is nothing new for car dealerships. For decades, some of the less scrupulous dealerships have strategically designed ads to make customers think they're offering more than they really are. The car you see in a photo, for example, might be a scaled-up version of what they actually have on the lot.

Xdwb5jzwj8rmtypvgy9b Kfvdf8fntchoj4etgdnhs1vza95knedp8t5v5zjhynpc7eoxc7c6gcptnksacw5y Dkw7di4fljrkf Ftkroq8idsnt1ro2px2tgwerapj H3smpuiqxfiye9a9g
Photo Courtesy: Matthew Paul Argall/Flickr

Once you get to the dealership and see the car in person, you may find that it's a lower-quality, less attractive or slightly different model than you originally anticipated. For this reason, you should always approach dealership ads and commercials with a healthy amount of suspicion.

The Sneaky "Money Factor"

If you're thinking about leasing a car, be on the lookout for the "money factor." Also known as the "lease factor" or "lease fee," this number is presented as a tiny little decimal that most customers don't even know exists. If you're not careful, however, it can cost you big.

Pzms8yoimkj9hixmaawl2i13gofqtqhmfcnsbs0tm7gh85h4svw4lbp50qsrtwvekt 0 Hd1iy127w97j7jbrlwifi2i0cgvqus4bb0swxvtomjlx8eatxei761sjoajunjht4zi4kr3xhcmhq
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay/Pexels

You need to ask about the money factor and multiply it by 2,400 to determine the annual percentage rate (APR). Compare this number next to the typical APR to make sure you're not getting the wool pulled over your eyes about the rate you’re paying.

Tossing Out Some Bait

You might spot a car ad or offer online that seems too good to be true. It probably is. If you end up pursuing that offer at the car dealership, you might arrive to find that the specific car or offer from the ad is (sadly) no longer available.

Vhw3agrs7nrhxtvjdu2svpvd5380rv8feb9rk Btcslikjqmtn56nqurg68jhponq4ihtlzczebg2u Z5lzkpilnubjlsxtz4 5sgcwnbsdgvwpcfeotxe3kk1r2snkbtkqrlcjxtfjlmqxtzw
Photo Courtesy: Charles Haymond/Offutt Air Force Base

But wait! The salesman can assist you with a different car and a deal that's almost the same as the ad you saw — the keyword being "almost." Unfortunately, the new deal will inevitably be more expensive. In many cases, there was no special price to begin with, and they used the "deal" as bait to get you in the door.


Adding Bogus Fees

Purchasing a car is a long, exhausting process. Often, you simply want the whole thing to be over long before you get to the end of it. Resist the urge to give up and just sign! The closing is the most important part.

Qa6k32lzckik1x 02vsqd6rrtyksm Zqyzvfr6h3s5datmq2e4a0j1uiebnd8fm9lbclbcse31kd6uqcaxi7jtcrvr5zpekavxku1atifpodxam9wmy7junz13va0pklsadsfzisudazrlc0aw
Photo Courtesy: edar/Pixabay

You need to look at the numbers to see exactly what they're charging you and negotiate some fees, if necessary. Some costs are bogus, like a market adjustment fee or a loan payment fee. It's not wrong to contest some of them, and you should walk away from the deal altogether if certain fees don’t make sense and they won’t budge.

Sweet (Misleading) Words

Half of the battle for dealerships is getting customers into the lobby in the first place. They have a million ways to lure you inside, and one is by advertising outrageously good deals like free oil changes and tire adjustments. These deals are generally accompanied by the words "See dealer for details."

Tzrqtftth9gcvtrhlghaavzojawmlhbmulbfmwi7wbyuykrgn3c Cy3et Vzpfxuair1tt Kdgufrh0axrh0wgcjuux1onterl8awwtbuqgmg38cff7uwr4lva6qrn44p Jeqxfhhim S8e Sa
Photo Courtesy: Senivpetro/Wikimedia Commons

The details are where the whole thing could fall apart. They might present you with tons of paperwork or certain conditions that render the deal useless. It could also be a ploy to get you into the building.

Unnecessary Extended Warranties

If you have ever had a car with a seemingly endless array of problems, you might think an extended warranty sounds like a great deal. It covers repairs on your car after the regular warranty has expired, and as you know, repairs can get pretty expensive.

U5i9gaxxjomoud3ilov7m9vrokacswta6crj09o6rcpqg1lmdigt Rziytqv5m8k2gicusqyvzjzedyzfgb6eqnl3unx9ybarshgefluldkwx3nvrztwxtbvv2f1jetemm Fgmtztuzjlk1lcw
Photo Courtesy: franchise opportunities/Flickr

Consumer Reports reveals, however, that those warranties aren't actually worth the money. You usually end up paying more in fees than you ever would on repairs, which is a high price to pay for some peace of mind.


Special Rules for Leasing

Leasing a car isn't usually the best option for most buyers, but if it's a road you decide to go down, don't ever get an extended warranty on top of your car deal. A lease is essentially an extended warranty in and of itself: you often pay as part of the lease price for car repairs to be covered by the dealership.

Qgtx3ox5 Ikdejszh2hnmxgdduyfuou9mjcxykytaecndhzbtuu5qlvoncu0txktvqh77gxm20rsud2ehjmmlm9jvoefperclo Adpu0vqy Coml0lamwu0us7cl32gconf1kqvhqgcpikevtw
Photo Courtesy: Free-Photos/Pixabay

In this situation, an extended warranty is simply be extra money out of your pocket. The dealership shouldn't even put this on the table as an option. If they do, you know they're just trying to up their profit.

Hidden Details in the Small Print

Any time you make a deal that requires signing a contract, you need to make sure you fully read the paperwork. It might feel awkward to sit there for 20 minutes as you work your way through page after page of small print, but the dealers may be hoping you’ll rush.

Vaoctb8b4j5ny8rsxidszoht83g Kwhzpyyozra7 O6vheseab9lufbn2tqcpasd6 B2l3qtyypvxpvwzdlqj Q1k68u43p8snaimirbufdi4cfu7x67i4opdifcxz9sv9ds7gerq89dun9xcq
Photo Courtesy: Cytonn Photography/Pexels

Instead, take control of your decision-making and finances and read every last word. The paperwork is the only place where all the information you need is laid out for you, allowing you to catch any unexpected conditions or price hikes.

Suspicious VIN Etch Fee

If you haven't heard of VIN etching, that's probably because it's useless. Basically, your car's VIN number is etched into the glass of the windshield. Supposedly, this deters car thieves from going after your vehicle because they can't easily get rid of the VIN number.

Iclpejfd0mn2uzbiznuit2bjnc2lwtsek5vv6b2vszhj0 Brhgmaewx96sa Twebogbrycjztsqvcadrkfqbmuuvz775ef Q2csl6r1f5pkkg1vjzmhzobavlk5nzsx95obhd9rtwn2diwkxla
Photo Courtesy: Spencer Thomas/Flickr

Of course, many car thieves don't even know what a VIN number is, so the effectiveness of this method is questionable. It's also a way for dealerships to charge you an extra fee that is higher than a regular car shop would for the same work.


Pushing Extra Protections

When vehicles are made, they’re generally designed for the long haul to keep consumers happy. That means using the best paints, resilient fabrics and rust-resistant materials. Why, then, do dealerships so often try to sell you added protections for your car?

Ysyt8hs4 J 3f2l1eds E8kofelv6tjdpqva0xnrokxa7b2ljibxp1gltn5e9jyzq 0qp9jvjfcfcgsvmryahnf0njwt0ga9c0riz H Pj0nrsnilwuglf39ul9puqmbp9ld5orvlw4nqaxc7q
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

It's generally advisable not to opt for any sealants, rustproofing or other "extra protections," as these are often merely ways for the dealership to add an extra line to your final receipt. You are there to buy a car, not to remake one, and that should be your first priority.

Models With Too Many Options

If you have ever shown up to a dealership, only to find the car you were interested in suddenly costs thousands of dollars more, it might be because of "dealer-added options." This refers to flashy extras like a sunroof or fancy add-ons, and they send the price right through the roof.

Jd7x0um227trwz Bbkyifgqg0azaiqg D3f7ok0a9hbyhl6rvg1rxuvsr Gpmxv8z2kklfggpt1mq79s4nydtdpmowv9 M0fpbv9e2 Cyrxuba45pukyacarnm0ztlj1jxvqxyb7coatjs Awq
Photo Courtesy: Josh Ferris/Flickr

Dealers may choose to do this because it's a way to make customers think they're getting an upgrade when they're really just getting up-sold. You shouldn’t accept expensive dealer-added options that you didn’t want in the first place.

Guaranteed Asset Protection

Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP for short) is essentially insurance that covers you in case the worst happens. If the car gets totaled, for example, and your insurance company doesn't award you a payout that matches your loan amount, GAP covers the difference between the two amounts so that you’re not left with debt on a ruined vehicle. Sounds awesome, right?

Gcy80wr2 Hrmofljqx86uvj2rsyh 00ldpjpbmgl1jhfphyxzfqzi7lsdfzpgeore Bkq7tnhu70go8hgl0dcvd S7ft5 Ppg5gk Roxcikxizsne8uxpbr0awgvojmn3teo8wpnyf2e08fwgq
Photo Courtesy: Pxfuel

Here’s the problem: Dealerships don't usually have the best deals on GAP insurance. Instead, look into buying it through your insurance company. It might be a lifesaver — and a money saver — but it’s not worth the high fees you would pay at a dealership.


Illegal Yo-Yo Scams

This particular dealership trick isn't just shady — it's downright illegal. Plenty of unsuspecting clients have been victims, however, so you need to be aware of it. A yo-yo scam begins with a customer taking a car home after supposedly closing a financing deal like normal. A few days later, the dealer calls to break the bad news: Your financing didn’t go through at the stated terms, and you need to return to pay a higher down payment or sign a new contract with much less appealing financing terms.

8moabneawx Wpyw4cledhktapkiv0zxfrehlpdrks9fevyydcbsj4 Ismz7xmsmg362ykq1kao2qgv20dhrhiviixyeqrmfajboyhoc696ud3bwwgjnmnogs34jlhvruexknucs8z1y8lpzzkw
Photo Courtesy: EveryCarListed P/Flickr

To avoid this scam, look for anything in the paperwork that says the deal is conditional and make sure all blanks on forms are filled in. If you’re already hooked, return the car and walk away — the deal they’ll try and force on you isn’t worth it. And if they threaten you, contact an attorney.

Talking in Terms of Monthly Payments

Salesmen will always try to sell you more than what you need or even want. They may offer you a grocery list of extra perks that you didn't know existed, each one costing quite a bit extra. The rising overall price tag often scares customers, so salesmen try to frame it in terms of monthly payments.

J5ejwatsx5qv0roznhovlmtxxf 7nhrkqm3b86x1lsk1xuc1rtqptxkcgqtnhoqo6pnrs0egpvijox0g Ldza R3la1bzgm1b9708pgxqebovlfqu6p Pqet0u9crscnccghqw2pvavtlfgw0q
Photo Courtesy: energepic.com/Pexels

Instead of telling you that the sunroof costs an extra $2,000, they will tell you it only adds $20 to your monthly payment. That makes it sound a lot more reasonable for something you don’t really need, doesn't it? At the end of the day, it still costs $2,000 — plus additional interest if you don’t pay cash.

On-the-Spot Delivery

On-the-spot delivery isn't always a bad thing, but it's something you should avoid accepting. This term refers to when a dealership allows a customer to take the car before their loan has been approved. Essentially, you're going home with a car before the deal is sealed.

A3 Gf6xe5f0j18vkxehhdeift8qtvvp2awv5hqr1cjsgldnle6dlmgpztiek7guioujkqdw4ez3hoxlvyz2u8tdbj1qal3k0weznqf5j5hzikgno9n1vyfdlm Bcf0u3cizd4 Fmwytpl7d3lg
Photo Courtesy: Negative Space/Pexels

Sometimes, it's simply an act of good faith for customers with high credit scores whose applications won't go through before the end of the day, but there's a risk it could lead to the dreaded yo-yo scenario. Even if you love the car, wait until tomorrow to take it home.


Unfair Trade-In Practices

When you're done with one car and want to trade it in at a dealership, make sure you do your research on its value as well. Many people are eager to get their old vehicle off their hands and move on with a new one, so they don’t fight for the trade-in value they deserve — and dealerships know it.

5jz3e4otit1twy8kxthvpyczo1bdsbvhoeitqh Wrilir Wlulwfndfofxkacpfhx4vgx 7txz2hsumvwub8jvuxwn72z97nfufua3ykztu5d8 Yifktbrgvxbeqaz 8jmocm7pjj5 M5k63q
Photo Courtesy: Yonkers Honda/Flickr

Dealers may start out with an incredibly low trade-in offer. Some initial values are so low that even if you think you're negotiating for a higher price, it still ends up being below the mark. Make sure you look into the true value of your car before completing a trade-in.

Focusing on Your Monthly Budget

Instead of asking how much you want to spend on a car in total, dealers often ask how much you want to pay monthly. The problem with this is that just about any car can fit into your monthly budget if you extend the duration of your payments.

380jct4ltptr 17u477uik 1ikji2t 76o9iedrdxrjh4dvvqyhv5ohpdrtjlf7musbs4zynuzqkfew3quon1kc29jiczhtkudsfkbmofvnbgzni58d8oxjn9sl7 Ppssfkro Pnewwkmkzq
Photo Courtesy: Pxfuel

If a dealer hears you say $300 is your monthly goal, they will simply look for a more expensive car that requires a six-year commitment instead of four. Don't fall into this trap, because the longer you make payments, the higher your interest will be.

Trade-In Plus Purchase?

It may seem like a good idea to trade in an old vehicle and purchase a new one in the same sitting. After all, you're saving time, right? Well, you might be losing money at the same time. Doing both at once allows the dealership to skimp on one offer while appearing to do well on the other.

Dtqvaektv2l0zjkwvb7rvpoqxytsiams Fmg0yjfpgtk6ow20hjvmart4dafz9 Vsmppaqepif5tygeuaeljdybdl 64jtl8ggodzjbzq Xbp2aw88wybf2mygefzz6ord7dyqc69ezxuny0va
Photo Courtesy: Ivan Radic/Flickr

They might offer an abysmally low amount for your trade-in but give you a good offer on the new vehicle, or vice versa. Keeping the two transactions separate helps protect you from this dealership trick.


The Dreaded Four Squares

There are some strategies in the world of car dealerships that everyone except the customer knows are a load of — well, you get the idea. One of them is the "four square method," and you will never see a decent dealership do it in front of a client.

Eik7krigbze2j7q Xhw4g5j6lsvxkj8v2h Ehfadmjm5o78j0iyzncrhy6ndcsbusnakz6g7v0d7ycniqfgkrrglhitf9aifwekw2dwbus6palhsnedsv2mdsvteuuy2mrsqolkakho8r Xwka
Photo Courtesy: Mary Cullen/Flickr

It involves drawing four squares for vehicle price, monthly payment, down payment and trade-in value. They do some bogus moving around of the numbers, but it's essentially meant to confuse the customer. This is a tell-tale sign that the dealership isn't a reputable one. Get in your car — not a new one! — and leave.

Lease Down Payments

One of the ways leasing a car is beneficial is that it's not immediately expensive. You shouldn't have to shell out huge sums of money when you first lease a car, but sometimes, dealerships can't resist looking for more money.

E1avwecntte7bsarh03kjrm38lbxrhsxarrcsh2tarpraxq99cngjq7ojqx Cmtl2n Xxrw2henrk38dge5obtybrpepa4mnom9ciwklhyh7kzv7s5 Y82lzuouz35j1teakyozurxcdtrdi4g
Photo Courtesy: Dillon Davis/Spangdahlem Air Base

If they ask for a down payment on a lease, you should definitely refuse. It will cost you a lot in taxes, too, and it isn't necessary. Tell them you want to pay it along with your monthly payments. This will be easier on your bank account and wiser in the long run.

Discussing How You Plan to Pay

If you think the dealer is your friend, then you are sadly mistaken. Their interest lies in selling you a car at the highest possible price and asking how you plan to pay helps them do this. If you admit that you want to pay cash, they are sure to offer higher "deals" to compensate for not making money from financing.

Z8z Xqptedhwkdyiy983o0w2cp65bz0jhaavr Srxa2vp8wc36u7euxnkhdibjyi5bki72xoov45 1lh1kyw Dltau1fvic Rh4vt2eigh62dgwwmfxac4p1plou4erxyxm8pjrtnrb4zlhlhq
Photo Courtesy: olyatv/Needpix

Technically, financing is the primary way dealerships make money. If you say you plan to finance, they might offer a better up-front deal as long as it requires a long payment period. To be on the safe side, don't reveal how you plan to pay. Tell them you want to focus on price only.


Selling You a Lease

If you walk into a car dealership with the intention to buy a vehicle, don't ever entertain the notion that you should lease instead. If you're already planning to buy, chances are good that leasing will not be a better option. Upfront costs may be lower, but it's not as beneficial as owning a car except under very specific circumstances.

Nqjx8anzubnduzpfkruzfttis2wdegfpxnajmnyqygk8qsnpo1p5obndrjilofmv4zmeuovaecraycfjtln Osx9u3ympwfshkx7akpgfapmnrwodxcc6qfwp7l6dnaw5xzmofvq6lhftc9oca
Photo Courtesy: Pikrepo

However, a salesman might try to talk you into leasing if they think it’s more beneficial to them. If they seem really eager about a leasing deal, it's probably because it will end up costing you more.

Educating You on Everything

If a dealer sees that a customer doesn't know anything about the process of buying a car, they will use that to their advantage. If you find the dealer is telling you a lot about things you've never heard before, it's a sign you should go home and do more research.

Rz53lhnx4ujbxjjomsugofuqa8kf97wnrosncfx77e7gppyxqgwucis0l9ktmnk Hkhcnkbqkeoxrwxw1sbg12990wylhbjdxjvra1j1quovx5tro1mbu9cx7qm Tif5ledq6ig6v8uq A Boq
Photo Courtesy: promich/Flickr

Trusting a dealer to tell you exactly how things work is not a good idea. They will simply bend information to their benefit and withhold anything that might deter you from spending as much money as possible. Read up before visiting.

Too Many Promises

When it comes to car dealerships, if a promise seems too good to be true, that's probably because it is. Beware of seemingly generous offers, such as paying off your previous car loan in full despite your trade-in value. They often add that amount to price somewhere else.

Aj0jni9lv7utl3jehx Yirvypvjv3lir08alr Xw16zh5w5 T Phe5yvay2tkt4rdbqp3qvqph0tke4ets7mjjaulv6brr4fcr0dvbn5dnxtk Egd4nilrd6dli 7c2c7se Sbjur5ou0 Slg
Photo Courtesy: Piqsels

They might keep your monthly payment the same, for example, but sign you up to pay an extra year or even two more than you anticipated. Stay sharp, and don't let shiny promises blind you from the truth of the transaction taking place. They dupe plenty of people this way.


Cheating You on the Interest Rate

Dealerships seek to take your money in many subtle ways. One of them is by charging you a high interest rate on financing deals. If you trust the dealer to arrange a third-party loan for you, they have the discretion to charge a higher interest rate than the loan institution.

Bp0catpoo7y75csuaozsr4 Bkdk Vxxujeyxslmbsvxng1d2mrdcjbcvnst2jdu Rdx9aovrmjnp4bim0px2kelvw Lfqvsii5j4em0njfehuzwhgnh1c25pbdo7gdguuv06qy1x10jf17cxrq
Photo Courtesy: Pikrepo

The extra interest goes directly to the dealership. This is why it's important for you to research loan rates on your own, with your own bank or credit union. It might be a headache, but it can save you a lot of money.

Time Is Running Out

Dealers — and salesmen in general — will always tell you that time is running out on whatever deal you're interested in on a particular product. They try to intentionally create a sense of urgency, hoping you’ll rush through the process while overlooking red flags and agreeing to things you wouldn't consider if you had taken your time.

Hyqqfzif8br Wcjcggaexfqnweg6nuhynjyphn6vpjdtttibsix7efbuspjyrvgaku Cjdr1i Vqxk Alkiynop Vx3o5uwwajw1ru7jrfw8t7lcgqlwonedjrj1i1bpkwasofn7nouiwh5nw
Photo Courtesy: Piqsels

This is simply selling 101, and you shouldn't fall for it. Sometimes, certain deals do expire at the end of the month, but these opportunities typically come from the manufacturer and have well-advertised deadlines. Make sure you visit various places and explore your options before committing.

"You Need to Come In"

It shouldn't be difficult to call or email dealerships and ask about their prices. However, they will try to tell you that you need to come into the dealership to get the real offers. Hold firm and push them to give you some numbers over the phone or via email.

Pg5pgxjd86qrjknpq1buppf1dfotxfbia3fnhjkmm1itn6oydkxhahxh8ou5alllxvvoog4jqcwdriecxajdczpqbmef Gpteumsohestaes Yx6p4ajjrydlgmdkufurn09lfunz9f Dak2qa
Photo Courtesy: Jean Beaufort/Needpix

This is a good way to compare prices among dealerships, so you can go to the best one — assuming they don’t change the numbers on you after you arrive. (Leave if they do.) Doing these sorts of comparisons often gives you the best chance at getting a good deal, as dealers always want to out-sell their competition.


Tricking You Into a Different Deal

If you've researched car loans on your own and have been preapproved at a certain interest rate, good for you! If you're curious whether the dealership can offer a better deal, that's a great idea, but don’t give too much info to the dealer.

Xqc925lzgbxokg8bj9x7tbqvhhzwtn Vowg 85h5vbafgpjl Jqfdnpfdegywlh9l4rbysrsloapty3ia0tm4x70dmxgtehd6dtoxi2r G5l1luy6zno6rmmmolbbbp4btgqt8dpd5cl3n5a8a
Photo Courtesy: Piqsels

They will probably ask what your outside lender offered, but you should keep your lips sealed. They could use that information to give you a deal that looks better in comparison but still isn't the best they could possibly offer. It may seem strange, but withholding information can be beneficial.

Timing Is Everything

Dealerships are constantly working with quotas and preparing for new models to arrive. These cycles often affect the deals they offer customers and could work to your advantage. In late summer, for example, they are already thinking about new cars that will arrive in the fall months and around the holidays.

Ikovmhy25uz2c57unqfg2xm9qbqrovmj81swpznkctfi8lunrqfzhucheqquu6uvwaqf7f48p6cgshctxttujeisn2upu4bnkwggixu7omy44aiu5nwtbspqf9qktdticzaffkujbe7qkuh Ja
Photo Courtesy: Pxfuel

They need to make room for those shipments and get older cars out of there fast. That means better deals for shoppers like yourself. Shopping at the end of the month is also a prime time for better deals, as that’s when many salesmen are trying to top off their monthly quotas. Work with these schedules if you want the best prices.

Keeping Your Guard Up

While salesmen are still people worthy of respect, and some of them may even genuinely help, you should probably treat them with a healthy dose of skepticism if you want to get the best deal. They are trying to make a living, and the drive to succeed generally prompts them to put their own interests above yours. They fib about the pros and cons, availability and one-time offers for a living.

Bpmjrvdmkqptrdbjgyyoyzimev8cnlxmr6iljviuekr5wvikvkxj6evrnp1qntbqetecl8yjsb3jj0umjrxnkmzle6kgqmlcbbevn7tyys Vzwlx0ttq Fnubm Uwiwwm98 03 R0log9f1hkq
Photo Courtesy: Amtec Photos/Flickr

You should be wary about the information you share with them and try to keep your poker face on at all times. Negotiate the total price above anything else and don't be afraid to contest fees that look bogus to you. If you take your time, you could end up with a deal that is truly beneficial.