Car Dealerships Complaint - Can't trust them - customer service

Review by tander on 2007-01-09
MINNESOTA -- I hate when you go to look at a car and the salesmen are so phony. You test drive cars and (knowing in the back of your mind) you're probaly going to get ripped off when it comes down to buying the car. I don't know if it's just me, but are they all like this when buying a car? Needless to say I left when the financing details came out because they weren't to my satisfaction.
Comments:12 Replies - Latest reply on 2007-01-18
Posted by S on 2007-01-10:
This is why you have to go prepared. Do your research on sites like Edmunds.com to get the invoice price of the car you want... then add $500 bucks or so to that price... makes it a fair price... they make a little... you save a little... No hassles. If they try to hassle, just leave and go to the next dealership.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-01-10:
Well there is always public transportation
Posted by David on 2007-01-10:
1. Be prepared by knowing exactly what you want including options and accessories.
2. Determine the maximum price you are willing to pay "out the door" which includes all taxes and fees in addition to your trade-in (no surprise charges).
3. Line up financing in advance from your bank or credit union for $1K more than the maximum you want to finance.
4. Have a down payment available.
5. Go to the dealer, offer 5% below your maximum as a starting point, negotiating only the "out the door" price.
6. If negotiations don't result in a satisfactory deal, go to the next dealer.
7. If negotiations are successful, make sure everything is written on the actual contract. If they say it will have a full tank of gas, you should see it in writing. Any accessories thrown in to seal the deal must also be in writing.
8. Read and understand all of the paperwork. Ask questions if necessary. Don't be in a hurry.
9. Once the purchase contract is signed, inquire about dealer financing. Compare the dealer's best APR for the same term and loan amount. If the dealer financing is better than your pre-arranged financing, take it.
10. Enjoy your car.
Posted by Extended Warranty on 2007-01-10:
I don't agree with trying to get an "out the door price". Sometimes people will ask for a ridiculously low price which will end with you getting walked or end up paying more than they had to. Your best bet is to find out everything that will cost you money and combat it separately. Find the lowest financing you can, compare dealer and credit union. I had very little credit when I went to buy my second car and credit unions weren't helping me at all with their high rates. I basically told the dealer the sale relied on getting me a reasonable financing rate (that was fair to both of us). Everyone thinks they are so smart because they can find out the invoice price on edmunds. Now while it is definitely beneficial to know that price, manufacturers know people are starting to learn this and are closing the gap with "invoice pricing" and are offering dealer incentives which aren't known about as much. Get quotes. You might notice some are offering a lower price than others. Some may be bait. Getting many quotes will definitely help you save a little money. Also, LOOK FOR EMPLOYEE PLAN PRICING ELIGIBILITY. You may be eligible for it based off a number of things such as who you know or where you work. I bought a 2007 mazda 3 gt, a car that had absolutely NO incentives, for $500 under invoice with splan pricing available through my employer (no dealer would give me such a price without it). Many dealers love these because there is no haggle pricing and they will be reimbursed a little from the manufacturer.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2007-01-10:
David, that was excellent advice. Always be ready and willing to walk away if something doesn't feel right.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-01-10:
I agree with chuck!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-01-10:
In the summer I bought a truck. I determined which vehicle I wanted via online reviews. I used Edmunds.com to get a good sense of the price and manufacturer incentives. I got online/EMAIL quotes via a request through the manufactures website. I used the EMAIL quotes as a bargaining tool to pit the various dealers against each other. I chose the dealership and truck based upon price, dealership reputation and proximity. There was no haggling, I dealt with the fleet department and not a salesman per se and I spent all of 15 minutes or so at the dealership closing the deal. I did pay cash so financing wasn't part of the deal. I must say it was the smoothest and most satisfying experience I ever had buying a vehicle.
Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2007-01-10:
The best book ever written about the car business (from the perspective of an insider) is "Don't get taken every time - the insider's guide to buying a car" by Remar Sutton. Get you a used copy from Amazon for a couple of bucks and you will be amazed at the tricks and tactics used. Let's face it, car salesmen train every day to make the most money possible from each and every deal - they aren't your friend and they don't care about you.
Posted by KCR on 2007-01-10:
The last vehicle I purchased (a 2002 Ford Explorer) was purchased on the "X-Plan", which is basically just higher than what ford employees pay. The best thing about this is you do your reasearch as to what you want and what options, then find the one you want online (searching the inventory at your local dealerships) and show up with your x-plan documentation. No discussion, no haggling.
Posted by tander on 2007-01-10:
There won't be any financing. I'm trying for a even trade my car is paid for already, that's why I didn't like the financing because I don't want or need to make payments.
I also noticed online when looking at the vehicles in question, they were cheaper online than in person.
Posted by tander on 2007-01-10:
Stew I thought paying cash or trying for an even trade would be easy and I could get a fair price. I decided to sell my car then use the money to but something. The car dealership went $5000 below what my car is worth, but he said something about retail price.
Posted by guskayak on 2007-01-18:
First off, as Dave Ramsey says, never buy a new car unless you have a million dollars, otherwise you can't afford it. A new car loses 60% of it's value in the first four years.

If you buy a used car check out the KBB.com trade value for that particular car. That price is a good estimate of what the dealer paid for that car. Add a thousand dollars to that and you are offering a price that is almost 500 lower than the national average gross profit for a used car. In other words you'd be getting a great deal.

What KBB.com says isn't perfect though. When it really comes down to it, the only thing that really matters is what the market demands for a particular car and that is why sites like Carsoup.com and Autotrader.com are so valuable. You do need to watch out for "repairables" and "salvage" vehicles but those are usually sold one or two at a time so it's hard to see a pattern. That being said, if you get a car with the remainder of the factory warranty you can rest assured that 99% of the time you'll not have a problem until far down the road (no pun intended).

So to summarize: Do your homework. Use the internet to compare apples to apples and when a cheesy salesguy see's you coming with a handful of printouts you'll have the confidence of knowing that he knows you're on to his games and you'll get a great deal. Or skip all that and buy at a once price dealership but know that many still charge too much and the only way to get a great deal is to compare deals on the internet.

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