6 Ways to Counter Tactics From Car Salespeople
Car salespeople sell cars every day, but you probably only buy a car every few years — at most. It’s no wonder you may be concerned with used car salesman tricks. Feel more confident when buying a new or used car by preparing for common car salesperson tactics.
6 car salespeople tricks and how to counter them
The No. 1 way to prepare to do business with car salespeople is to do your research: Know whether you’re looking for a new or used car, make a list of the features you want and understand your budget. The more you know about your financial situation and the auto financing available to you, the more power you’ll have to counter car salesmen tricks and tactics.
The trick: Focusing on monthly payments
One of the first questions a car salesperson may ask you is if you have a monthly payment in mind. With that bit of information, a salesperson and sales manager can manipulate the purchase price of the car, financing terms and trade-in allowance to give you the monthly payment you want. Taking the dealership’s offer for your ideal monthly payment could mean you end up paying a lot more money overall with higher interest rates and a longer term.
The trick: Fixating on the trade-in
You know what you paid for your current car and how much you need to get out of it. Car salespeople may manipulate the trade-in value of your car to make the price of your new car seem more appealing. For instance, if they boost the trade-in value of your car, they may offset those savings by inflating the price of your new car or adding unwanted extras.
The trick: Marking up interest rates
Car dealerships are eager to find financing for you. That’s not out of the goodness of their heart — it’s another way for them to make money from the deal. The dealer can take compensation for negotiating car financing on your behalf, meaning a higher interest rate for you. Dealers and lenders are not obligated to provide the best rate available to you.
A lender proposes a rate to the car dealer based on your credit score, called the buy rate. The dealer can add its own markup or a higher interest rate to compensate them for handling the financing. It’s possible to negotiate with the dealer to land between the buy rate and the markup rate.
The trick: Dragging the process out
Car salespeople are prepared to draw out the process if it helps their negotiations or wears you out. They may propose various combinations of the purchase price, trade-in value, interest rates, down payments and aftermarket options. They usually don’t let you look at the proposals very long, so it’s hard to keep track of the offers.
Be prepared for time-wasting tactics. One of the most meme-worthy is the salesperson going back and forth to talk to their manager.
If you’ve been at the dealership a while and you’re ready to leave, don’t be afraid to take a break or go home. The salesperson knows that if you’re tired and hungry, you’re more likely to accept their terms to end the ordeal.
The trick: Pressuring you to act fast
Alternatively, car salespeople may pressure you to answer specific questions or commit to an offer quickly to better understand what motivates you. “The pressure of the impending event” is another common pressure tactic: for example, “This APR deal expires today!”
The trick: Not explaining fees and add-ons
It’s in the car salesperson’s best interest not to fully explain any extra fees you may need to pay, and they may try to sneak in extras like an extended warranty that you don’t necessarily want or need. A dealer may advertise a car at a bargain cost, but then jack up the price with add-ons like window tints, door guards and fabric protection.
Some dealer fees are unavoidable, like taxes, title transfers and registration. Those fees are set by the government, and the dealership collects the money from you and sends it to the appropriate agency.