If you’ve been following this blog, my podcast or even my daily vlog over the past several weeks, you know that I have been looking for a new truck. I did not NEED a new truck, but my 2012 Chevy Colorado was going to need some maintenance repairs (breaks and tires) as it was approaching 60,000 miles.
I started doing my research and I was originally going to replace my truck with a 2016 Colorado. I was comfortable with my 2012 Colorado and thought that it would be an easy transition. I thought wrong.
Although I truly understood that car dealerships were not the most honest or ethical of businesses. I soon came to realize the tricks that are used to lure people into and to purchase from their dealerships.
- Bait and Switch – Dealerships will dangle a popular model of vehicle at a pretty good price. They will even tell you that they have the vehicle on the lot only for you to find out when you get there that the vehicle had been sold earlier in the day… but they have a similar model with half of the options for $2-$3,000 more.
- Incentive Pricing – Dealerships will advertise vehicle prices in the newspaper and on websites at incredibly low prices only for you to find out when you are at the dealership that the advertised price has ALL incentives included. This means that in order for you to qualify for the price that was advertised you would need to be a recent college graduate that is an active member of the military that is also a full-time farmer that currently owns X-type of vehicle that has never owned X-type of vehicle… Basically, you have no shot in hell of getting the advertised price.
- Being held hostage – If you are trading in a vehicle, the dealership will take the keys for the vehicle and will not give them back to you until you purchase or demand them back (even then it takes a while to get them). I have had to literally threaten to call the police and have them charged with theft before I got the keys back.
- The test drive – The first thing that a Car Salesman wants to do is get you in the vehicle. They want you to smell that “New Car Smell” and fall in love before you know whether you can afford the vehicle. It will be easier for them to talk you into spending more than you planned if you cannot do without the vehicle.
- The Wait Game – When discussing the price of the vehicle, trade-in or financing, the salesman will always have to leave you to discuss XYZ with their manager. They are not doing this. The longer that you sit there, the better for them. If you haven’t noticed, when you are sitting in a Salesperson’s cubical it is usually white or grey with very few personal items in it other than posters of that Dealership’s cars or maybe even a model of a make of vehicle that they sell on the desk. This is done so that they only thing that you mind will focus on is the vehicle and how much you want it. The longer they take, the more that your mind will try to convince yourself that you can afford it.
- The Shame Game – No matter what amount you give the salesperson as your maximum amount, they will almost always come back with a price that is more. When you hold your ground on the price, they will come back with “Well, that only works out to be $15 more a month” or something to that effect.
These are just a couple of examples that are used when purchasing a vehicle. The only advice that I can give is to stand your ground and be aware of what is trying to be done to you. When you are asked for your keys, make sure to get them back before you even start talking about the price of the vehicle. If they pull the “It’s only XX amount more a month”, I will reply, well if it is only XX more, you shouldn’t have a problem lowering it to the price I requested then (They will always change the subject.). As for the “Bait and Switch” and “Incentive Pricing” I can only say to do your homework before you go to the dealership. The Internet is a Car Dealership’s worst enemy and the consumer’s best friend. There are plenty of resources out there where you can check on a dealership’s reputation, how much your trade-in is worth, how much you should pay for the vehicle you are looking at and more…