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13 car dealer tricks to avoid Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our mission is to help you make better financial decisions by offering you interactive tools and financial calculators that provide objective and original content. This allows you to conduct your own research and compare information for free and help you make informed financial decisions. Bankrate has agreements with issuers, including but not limited to American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Earn Money The deals that are displayed on this website are provided by companies that compensate us. This compensation may impact how and when products are featured on this website, for example, for example, the order in which they may be listed within the categories of listing and other categories, unless prohibited by law for our loans, mortgages, and other home loan products. This compensation, however, does affect the content we publish or the reviews that appear on this website. We do not contain the vast array of companies or financial deals that might be open to you. Maskot/Getty Images

6 minutes read. published on October 06, 2022.

Writer: Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers to navigate the ways and pitfalls of taking out loans to purchase an automobile. Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are dedicated to helping their readers feel confident to take control of their finances with concise, well-studied information that simplifies complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate guarantee

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Car dealer tricks to watch for. These are a few tricks dealerships — even the ones that are legitimatemight try to use over you when it’s time to buy. 1. The credit counselor may tell you that you don’t qualify for competitive rates. And while this may be true in some cases but the salesperson might suggest your credit score is lower than it is, so you think you’ll have to pay a higher interest rate. How to avoid: Come to the store with your cash before you sit down with the dealer to ensure they don’t try to trick you. It’s better to get an auto loan to avoid having to depend on dealership financing. 2. The single-transaction strategy A lot of people think of purchasing a vehicle as a single transaction. However, dealers are aware of this. It’s really three transactions all in one: the new car price, the cost and the financing. Each of them is a way for dealers to earn money , which means that all three are ways you can save money. Avoid this: Treat every transaction in the same way the dealer does: separately. You can shop your trade-in at multiple dealers to obtain the best price. Also, bringing in typical prices for the car you’re interested in will help you keep the salesperson honest. 3. The payment ploy or finance department might hand out a great monthly payment — one you are likely to be eligible for. However, there’s always a caveat. In some instances, the dealer may have included a substantial down payment, or extended the term for the loan to 72 or . What to do: Concentrate on the cost of the car , rather than the monthly payments. Never answer the question “How much can you spend each month?” Stick to saying, “I can afford to pay X dollars for the car.” Also, ensure that the price you negotiate is in full prior to the trade-in or utilized. 4. The sticker shenanigan . The car price displayed on the window is what is known in the industry as the suggested retail price or MSRP. But that isn’t what is most important. You need to know the invoice price — what the dealer was paid. Starting with the invoice is much more straightforward than cutting off the MSRP. What to stay clear of: what vehicles are being sold for after taking into account any consumer or incentives offered by dealers. Certain hot cars are sold for sticker price and above. Prices will decrease as demand lessens. 5. The holdback scam Manufacturers frequently provide cash-based incentives — sometimes called holdbacks to encourage them to move models that aren’t selling well. This typically isn’t mentioned in advertising. What to do: Search for holdbacks or other incentives offered by dealers to the factory for the car you are contemplating. While it’s not certain you’ll see the seller offer any of these funds to the car you like but it’s a good idea to inquire. 6. Spot delivery financing A few dealers have been known to phone customers several days, up to weeks or months following the time having have signed a purchase agreement, to tell them that financing did not go through. It’s a scam. Spot delivery, also referred to as spot finance, was designed to get you to sign an loan contract with a higher rate of interest. The lender will know if you qualify for financing almost instantly. The goal of the later phone call is to persuade you to sign the loan that has higher interest rates since, as per their claims, they just found out you didn’t qualify for the rate that they offered at a lower percentage. What to do: Never go out of the store without signed contracts that spell out every single detail, and have every line filled in. Verify that you’ve been approved for the financing your dealer offers. If they have, they can’t retreat on the financing. 7. The illusion of insurance A few dealers might attempt to convince you to purchase an insurance policy when you’re purchasing your vehicle. One kind of insurance, called gap insurance , will cover the difference between what the car is worth and amount that you owe on it. It’s generally an additional cost, however if you are interested typically, gap insurance is cheaper when bought from the same source as your regular . Another popular option is credit life insurance, can pay off the amount of your loan if you die before you’ve had the chance to pay it back. If these policies interest you, you will want to know what you’re purchasing and if you have the option to decline it and shop around to find better rates. The markup on these policies when you purchase them from a dealership is often huge partly because the insurance companies who sell the policies to dealerships offer huge discounts — everything from cash to first-class trips in order to promote the policies. What to do Avoid a bind: Do not simply accept the insurance plan offered. Certain insurance companies include the benefits of gap insurance as part of their regular comprehensive automobile coverage, so check there first. As for the credit-based life insurance you’ll likely want to steer clear of it. In most cases it’s not a good idea for you. 8. The price looks tempting to finance the purchase of a brand-new car. However, this deal may not be the ideal one for your budget. First of all, the majority of finance incentives are offered for shorter time frames, and you’ll must have a great credit score. For short-term loans like 24 – or 36-month loans and even on an affordable car could be sky high. In addition, you may be better off finding the financing yourself and accepting the rebate offered by the dealer in the event that one is offered. Let’s say you’re interested in an automobile worth $20,000 and receive $4,000 as a trade-in. You can choose between zero percent financing or financing at 3.49 percent with the option of a rebate of $2,000. The length of the loan runs for 36 months. Through the loan you’ll end up in front by more than $1200 if you take the rebate along with 3.49 percent financing. 3.49 percentage financing. What to do Calculate the amount of money you’ll earn over the term of the loan to figure out what offer is best for you. 9. The rollover ruse It can be tempting to trade for a more expensive car prior to paying for the car you’re currently driving. One method that some buyers take advantage of this is to roll over the balance of their current vehicle to the new vehicle loan or lease. This is a risky option. You’ll end up paying more on the second car than it’s worth. In the parlance of the automotive world it’s a ” ” on the vehicle. If it is totaled in an accident, or you decide down the road to sell it, you will end up writing out a big check to cover the remaining sum of your loan. Avoid this you from having to roll over an old car loan into a new one. Instead, try to get the best price by trading it in or via a private sale. And if you can’t, stick with the car. If you do not need a new vehicle, there is no reason to buy a new car before you have paid off your old one. 10. The long-term trick There is nothing legal or even fraudulent about dealers offering loan times that extend for 6 or 7 years. For one thing, the majority of cars last longer than they did in the past, and mean your monthly payments are lower. Still, it’s not ideal. It’s likely that you will have to pay more for your vehicle than it’s worth since your vehicle is depreciating more quickly than you are paying it off. How to avoid: If you are considering the possibility of a lengthy loan duration, you should scale back to an affordable car that is better in line with your budget. 11. The balloon bamboozle Similarly, certain dealers will try to convince the purchase of a vehicle for unrealistically low monthly payments in the present, but with a more substantial balloon payment towards the time of the loan time. In some cases, this can be a legitimate method to finance the purchase of a vehicle. For instance, you could have recently graduated and be confident that your income will rise when the balloon payment due. But for most people the balloon payment simply means rolling over the remaining amount into an additional loan. What to do: Be wary of such offers, and be aware you’re financial position could be altered by the time that the balloon payment is due, and you might struggle to pay it. 12. Bait and switch The bait and switch happens when you’re looking for a car, and the dealer is able to get you behind the steering wheel of another one. Dealers can use deceitful strategies to get you on the lot only to inform you the car you want isn’t on the market and then try to get you to purchase another vehicle, usually at a greater cost. How to avoid: Stick to what you’re looking for. If you did your and know what you’re searching for, then you don’t need to doubt your own thoughts. Try another dealership that has the car you want. 13. Contract cons Look out for clauses that are hidden within the fine print that you might overlook. They could come in the form of modifications to the loan term, add-ons that you never agreed to, or any other service that could result in significant expenses. A legitimate lender won’t try to dupe you like this however it is important to be careful. If you spot any discrepancies, make sure you point them out. If the dealer refuses to make the necessary changes take it off the table. Tips to avoid this: Read carefully through the contract. Ask about all charges and ensure the terms are clear to both you and the dealer. Make sure you keep an original copy of the contract in case anything comes up in the future. The bottom line isn’t supposed to be an experience in which you are tricked, and you walk away feeling like you’ve paid more for your car. Knowledge is power, so consider these common dealer maneuvers to ensure you aren’t getting fooled. Find out more


Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She is a specialist in helping readers in navigating the ins and outs of securely borrowing money to buy a car. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances through providing concise, well-researched and well-documented details that cut otherwise complex subjects into bite-sized pieces.

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