We write about products and services that we use. This page may contain affiliate links for which we receive a commission.
“How much do you want to pay each month?”
That is typically the first question you’re asked when approached by the car salesman or car financing officer on the lot.
Keep in mind that this question has nothing to do with how many years you will be making the monthly payment on the car, or how much the car even costs.
Many first-time car buyers fall for this trick… once. But after this hard-learned lesson, they pay close attention to the price next time they buy a car.
Even more experienced car buyers can be caught in car salesman tricks of the trade.
Here’s what to watch for…
Unscrupulous Car Salesmen
Offenses revealed through this investigation included:
- Add-ons that are “stuffed” or hidden under a pile of papers that you sign
- Car dealer lenders defrauding both the banks and the lenders
- Car dealer lenders charging higher interest rates than necessary and splitting the difference with the lender
Popular Car Salesman Tricks
The guilt trip: Car salesmen will volunteer information to you that other people normally wouldn’t. They will mention that they have kids in college. They will talk about their kids’ need for braces. They will mention an upcoming wedding. They will try to make you feel like you owe it to them to give them the sale.
Misplaced items: Car dealerships will require you turn over your drivers license, the keys to your car, or perhaps the title and registration of your car to determine trade in value. After your test drive, it will take the clerk forever to give your items back to you. This is to give the salesman more time to work on you.
Allowing you to take the car home overnight: Some car dealerships will allow you to take the car home overnight. They want you to fall in love with the car and not want to return it. If you do take home a car overnight, do your best to not get attached to it.
Limited time prices: Car dealers will tell you that a price is valid for today only. Or that other people or looking at it, or something equally ridiculous. If they will offer a great price today, chances are they will offer it again in 30 days. Take your time and get the car you want, not the one they talk you into.
Getting personal to make friends: Have you ever noticed how friendly some car salespeople are? (Should you have a problem with the car after the purchase, they won’t be nearly as friendly.) They want you to feel like they are someone you can trust, or they want you to see them as a friend. This is a tactic to make you put your guard down and trust them to sell you a car.
One way to avoid this type of deception from car salesmen is to buy your car with cash!
Even if you can’t buy your new car in cash, then get financing for it before stepping onto the car lot. This is Rule #1 from The Consumerist.
More Care Salesman Tricks
- Confessions Of A Car Salesman (an 11-part series)
- Used-Car Salesman’s Training Manual (25 tricks they use to charge you more)
- Psychological Sales Tricks Of A Car Salesman (the tricks they use at each stage of the game)
I have been a certified tightwad striving for financial freedom since I became pregnant with my first child — and I decided to find a way to stay home with him full-time. I enjoy sharing my personal experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future — which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.