Car Buying Secrets: 3 Games That Salespeople Play


Let’s start with this: contrary to the stereotype, most people who sell cars (both new and used) are generally honest. They’re people who take their kids to soccer practice, help their neighbors move, and try to live happy lives. In short: they’re real people like you and me.


Yes, we all know what’s coming next: just as every profession has its bad apples — doctors, lawyers, and we won’t even start talking about politicians! — there are a small number of car salespeople who sully the reputation of the entire profession, because they’ll say just about anything to get you to sign on the dotted line.

Fortunately, you can defend yourself by becoming aware of three games that shady car salespeople play when you go shopping for a stylish, safe and reliable vehicle:

1.  The Monthly Payment Game


The number that matters most to you is the actual on-the-road cost (more on this in #2). Don’t fall into the trap of focusing only on the monthly payment amount. If that happens, while your monthly expense may be affordable given your current budget, you could end up paying thousands more because your car financing or lease extends for years longer than you realize.

2.  The Real Cost Game

Many dealerships have giant colorful wall signs that feature a price tag that seems extremely attractive. However, sometimes — and frankly, most times — the actual, bottom-line price of the car is significantly higher once all of the extra fees are tacked on (e.g. licensing, freight, etc.). Don’t sign any deal or provide any deposit until you know all of the costs; not just the big, happy number on the sign!

3.  The No Test Drive Game

Salesperson showing vehicle to potential customer

This game is often played in dealerships that are very busy and have several in-demand models. It happens when salespeople refuse to let you test drive their car without putting down a deposit. Simply put, this is ridiculous. It’s not as if you want to take the car home and drive it for a week. And don’t fall for the “your deposit is refundable” line, either. Getting your money back if you decide not to purchase is going to be very difficult. You may even have to go to court!

The Bottom Line

It bears repeating: most car salespeople are generally honest. Sure, they may exaggerate. But there’s a big difference between stretching the truth, and outright lying. Most salespeople don’t and won’t cross that line, if not out of ethical and moral considerations, then out of the fact that they want you to buy more cars from them in the future, as well as refer your colleagues, relatives, friends and so on.

Yet with this in mind, some salespeople do indeed play games such as those described above. If you come across any of these tactics, then disengage immediately and find another potential seller. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later!

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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