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Auto Dealer Sales Gimmicks to Watch Out For

Posted on November 27th, 2013

dealer tricksJust like many other key cities, Phoenix is home to many auto dealerships. Sadly, some of these are the shady variety. Shady dealers employ certain gimmicks just to make a sale, and listed below are five examples. As a car buyer, you should take note of these so you can avoid being a victim.


The old bait-and-switch tactic

This gimmick is old, but dealership sales staff wouldn’t retire it because it remains effective. Car buyers are lured or ‘baited’ to the dealership by an advertised vehicle, typically offered at a low price. However, when the buyers visit the dealer, they are told that the advertised vehicle is no longer available (the salesperson would say that it has just been sold).

Where does the ‘switch’ part come in? The sales staff would pressure the potential customers already in the store to buy something similar to the advertised vehicle, hence the switch. The vehicles suggested by the sales staff are more expensive than the advertised one.


The ‘yo-yo’ trick

This is another old gimmick that unfortunately still works, moat especially on car buyers with weak credit. The dealer sells the customer a vehicle and allows him or her to immediately drive it home, even if the financing is not yet finalized. Some days after the transaction, the dealer’s salesperson will contact the customer to bring the bad news: his or her loan application has not been approved. As a result, the said customer needs to come back to the dealership to get a new loan, this time with a higher interest rate.


The ‘walk-in’ ruse

Car buyers who walk into the dealership without taking time to do their homework are most vulnerable to this gimmick. When a dealership representative tells a potential customer to head on over to the store to talk, it seems like such a harmless thing. While it isn’t exactly harmful, it isn’t innocent either. The store is the dealership’s territory, so naturally they have the upper hand here.

If a buyer heads to the dealer without a game plan, he or she will not be able to negotiate properly. Given the setting, the salesperson will have the advantage and can thus successfully convince the buyer to do something in the dealer’s favor. Unless the buyer did research prior to negotiating in the dealership, he or she will not have the better end of the bargain.


The ‘impulse buy’ ploy

Eager to make a sale, the salesperson will ask a walk-in customer not about what he or she needs but about what had happened to his or her current vehicle. Note that the question is implied: instead of asking directly what had happened, the salesperson will inquire about what brings the customer to the store.

Once the customer says something about the current vehicle being damaged or too old, the salesperson will move in and convince the customer to buy another vehicle immediately. He will probably give his two cents’ worth on the condition of the car—saying that it is in really bad shape even if it isn’t—and recommend that the customer purchase a new one urgently.


The four-squared paper approach

This gimmick happens when the salesperson will be computing costs with the car buyer. This gimmick is called as such because the salesman will use a paper folded into four. There is something assigned to each corner: purchase price, down payment, trade-in and monthly payment. The salesperson will do the calculation, drawing the customer’s attention to the monthly payment so that former may make room for additional profit elsewhere.

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