When I think of a bad car salesman, I think of the father from the movie Matilda. In this movie, the dad ‘fixes’ up and sells used and broken down cars. He is played by Danny DeVito, who portrays a perfect example of what the typical shady car salesman looks and acts like. He’s got slicked back hair, a fedora, a cheap suit, and a toothpick hanging out of his mouth.
Now this is real life. This isn’t a movie, and everyone you meet is not going to be the cookie cutter idea that you had in your head before you see them. Not all sketchy car dealerships are located in back alley, hidden lots. Some are just your typical looking dealership, but in fact are armed and ready to rip you off and never have to see you again.
A bad car dealer can look just like you. They can be charming, polite, and even a little pushy. They know all the tricks to get you to spend more, and they use them all the time.
Car salesman tricks
When you go into a dealership, you will notice a few things. Fancy cars are upfront, and on display. The crappier, used cars will usually be in the back, not visible to most customers. The salesman wants you to see these hefty price tags, and then feel a lot better about spending only $20,000 on a used car, rather than $120,000 on a brand new one.
Car salesmen will also offer payment plans for getting your car. You may tell them you just don’t have enough for a deposit, and that you can’t afford to get a car that costs that much. What they will then do is offer smaller, monthly payments, to lock you into purchasing something out of your budget. When the payments are broken up, it seems like a lot less to the customer, when really the salesman is getting the same amount of money in the end, so it doesn’t matter to him.
Sometimes they will flat out lie. Oh, that used minivan in the back corner? The salesman may say that it is in pristine condition, but when you take a closer look, you see bents and bumps on the fender. Salesmen will leave out information about the car, to make it seem better, in the hopes you won’t notice the scratches and marks.
Salesmen can pick and choose what they want to tell you about the car. They don’t have to tell you that the 100,000 miles on the car is from driving cross country twice, and that it can no longer go long distances. They won’t tell you that the gas tank is off, and you really have a quarter tank less than it looks like. They will only tell you the good stuff, and none of the bad.
Tips for buying a car from a dealership
You want to find a dealership that is honesty and wants the best for you. You do not want someone who is in it complete for the money, because they will not take into account your personal needs. Auto dealerships that care are the type of dealerships that you want to be looking into.
You do not have to go into a dealership blind. There is tons of research that you can do on the actual company, and what type of car you are looking for. Make sure you know what extras you need to purchase with your car, so that you don’t get roped into signing contracts for lengthy memberships or deals that really don’t help you out in the long run.
Last week I went to trade in my car at a dealership, and at the end there was a list of about 15 different add-ons that you could choose to purchase. One was $100 for discounted oil changes, one for roadside assistance, and many other amenities that are not 100 percent necessary.
Luckily, I was accompanied by my parents, who knew to decline all of these offers. They have purchased many cars in their lifetime, so I felt confident going into the dealership with them. If you have someone that you know is really good at getting deals, figuring out if someone is trying to cheat you, and fast at it all, consider bringing them along with you for help. It couldn’t hurt to ask, and could end up saving you tons of money.
Car buying tips and tricks
The perfect company to go with is one that has been around for a long time, and has tons of loyal customers. You want to make sure they have verified reviews, testimony from previous customers, and it helps if they are a family owned business.
You do not want to go to a dealership that has too many cars, because that means that the workers know less and less about each individual car, and won’t be able to give you all the information you need. You want to look for a dealership that houses around 70-80 cars.
If you have bad credit, that is okay, because there are many dealerships that will work with individuals who may not have the best credit, and still find them a car that is right for them. There are many car dealerships that will let you leave the lot that day, and usually all you need is proof of insurance, a driver’s license, and maybe proof of income.
There are many amazing car dealerships out there, but there are an equally number of sketchy and distrustful car dealerships out there. You want to work with a dealership that offers the lowest prices in the area, has reliable vehicles, and has great customer service.