By on February 19, 2016

New Suckers At The Stock Photo Dealership

The Internet brings transparency to the car buying process and allows us to search the whole country for our favorite car. While shopping for a WRX a few months ago, I got quotes from dealers as far as 1,500 miles away. I ended up skipping the local dealers and travelling to a dealer 80 miles away in order to get the best price.

Leaving your immediate geographical area can be beneficial in many instances, especially if you can find a more competitive market that’s reasonably close. Unscrupulous dealers have caught on to geographical buyers who are only looking for the lowest price. These dealers combine geography and psychology in order to dupe buyers to come in and often get rewarded for their shameless behavior by making the sale.

Shopping for the WRX involved getting quotes from local dealers as well as dealers in a 100 mile radius around my home. I also requested a quote from a Colorado dealer as they are well known for having the lowest prices in the nation and shipping car all across the country. I took the quote from the Colorado dealer and asked all of the local dealers to match it. The ones near my home refused to come close but a dealer that was 80 miles decided to match it and I ended up purchasing the car there. My transaction went smoothly and the price was honored — but that is not always the case.

Many potential buyers will search and quote a new car way outside their immediate area and talk to dealers that might be located three or four hours away. Let’s say Bob is shopping for a new car and he sends quote requests out to many dealers. He receives a quote from a dealer that is three hours away that is $700 less than any of the local dealers can offer. He takes the quote into his local dealers but they state that they cannot match it as Bob does not qualify for all of the incentives. He decides that the local dealer is out to get extra profit and that a $700 savings is worth a six hour round trip. He picks up a one-way rental car for $70 and heads out to the far away dealer.

Once he arrives, he is happy to find the car he was quoted sitting out front and goes in to finish up the transaction. The salesman collects all of his information and informs him that the price will be $1,000 higher than they initially quoted him in the email since he does not qualify for all of the incentives. Bob gets angry and wants to storm out but he has already dropped off his one-way rental and told his buddies that they are going out for a cruise that night. He is now $370 over the price that his local dealer offered him but does not want to slink back after calling them a bunch of crooks.

Bob decides his best bet is to swallow what’s left of his pride and plead with the dealer to negotiate with him. The dealer is prepared for this moment and offers the same price as Bob’s local dealer. Since Bob is unwilling to swallow his pride twice and pay for another rental car, he signs on the dotted line and heads out for his three hour drive home. In the end, Bob ended up spending more for his new car and wasting six hours of time driving to a dealer that played on his desire to get the lowest possible price. The unscrupulous dealer gets rewarded and makes another sale while the transparent dealer loses time giving you a quote and test drive.

The far-away dealer relied on Bob not asking too many questions or checking the fine print and they will continue to thrive as there are many others shoppers just like Bob. The transparent local dealer lost a sale and if there are others like it that start hurting the bottom line, they might just resort to the tactics of the far-away dealer.

Internet pricing can be a powerful tool but you should always be sure to get the full price and read all of the fine print so you can get the best price and reward dealers that actually deserve it.

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224 Comments on “The Internet Pricing Bait and Switch...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Haven’t heard from Ruggles for a while so this could function as sort of a welfare check on him.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Dealer (Kevin): “Sure, sign here Shawna, and we’ll put this aftermarket alarm from 2004 on your new A7. Just $2,400.”

    Geoff: “Look, there’s a line!”

    Shawna: “Geoff, don’t touch my boob.”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Geoff is really giving Kevin the eyes, isn’t he?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        She has a look on her face like: “Ehhhhhh, what’s Tru-Coat?”

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I think Kevin is telling Geoff that if he can sleep with his wife, he’ll add the Tru-Coat at no cost. Geoff is down as long as he can watch, but Shawna is not enthused.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            He sold Shawna a bit short, she’s worth at least Tru-Coat and free stem lube for life.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Maybe we are assuming incorrectly that the “couple” is the guy and girl.

            Perhaps the girl is the sales”person” and she is stuck between the “boys” arguing over fabric and colour!

            don’t you see the love in their eyes and the annoyance in her’s!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Lou is right!

            She is thinking, “Just buy the [email protected] car already so I can go to the bar after work.”

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            bball40dtw – my journey to acceptance is complete. LOL

        • 0 avatar
          brettc

          Well with Tru-Coat, you never need to wax your car the whole time you own it!

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Haha, I didn’t even notice.

    • 0 avatar
      qfrog

      Last week I saw an A5 with a ravelco system added.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I’ve walked away from cars because of accessories dealers have added. I’m consistent in saying I won’t pay for anything except all-weather floormats. Usually that results in me getting a car without the extraneous garbage.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The dealer I usually buy from adds wheel locks (because Detroit) for $19.95. I could buy the same ones on Amazon for $16, but they put them on and I don’t care.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Wheel locks have no effect. Just hammer on a 12-point socket and use a breaker bar. It may be only $20, but it’s a wasted $20.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            There are enough people without wheel locks that wheel thieves move on to the next car. I worked auto claims long enough to tell you that they make some sort of difference. But if you have unique 22s or something special, wheel locks aren’t going to matter.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Better off with wheel locks. I’d rather be safe than sorry, in view of parking our car overnight at some motel somewhere in the great unknown.

            Put them on all the vehicles I owned with alloy or custom-steel wheels along with a chain hood lock and Club across the steering wheel.

            But many insurance companies offer coverage as part of the comprehensive glass-coverage option, for an extra premium.

            If I had full-coverage, loss of alloy or custom steel wheels would be covered, by higher premium.

            But all these precautions can still amount to naught as a friend of mine found out when his custom conversion van was stolen and hauled off on a flatbed trailer out of the parking lot at Red Lobster, while he was dining.

            By the time he was done with dinner his van was across the border in Mexico.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            The newest wheel locks have virtually no gap between them and the bore of the wheel. I’ve spent some fine time getting them off without the correct key.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            My dealer BMW REALLY wants to sell you wheel locks for $119.95 – to their credit, a good price for OEM BMW wheel locks. I categorically refused. This is Maine, nobody steals wheels here. Not a particular issue, just had me sign some BS not holding them responsible if my wheels get stolen while the car is in for service. No problem kids, I have zero insurance deductible for comprehensive claims, steal away.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            krhodes1, wheel theft is a problem in many places, including the Great Southwest where I live.

            The thieves have honed it to a fine art. Four guys drive up in a van, jump out with four pneudraulic jacks, four impact wrenches, four concrete cinderblocks, and in less than 60 seconds they’re gone with the wheels/tires, with the vehicle left on the cinderblocks.

            Better than racetrack mechanics. Faster, too, because they don’t install any replacements.

        • 0 avatar
          Zoom

          I local dealer group still adds pin stripping to a lot of their cars. $150 or something. Besides the cost, it looks stupid. I refuse to buy one of those.

          • 0 avatar
            MUSASHI66

            Mine does too – part of a $1000 packet. I had them the pinstripes as a condition of the sale

          • 0 avatar
            brettc

            I saw pin-striping on a new BMW SUV. My head came close to exploding. I guess some people like it or something.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            There is a white X5 in my neighborhood with a subtle navy blue single pinstripe. I think it looks great.

            Had I gotten a white M235i, I probably would have gotten the Motorsports stripe kit BMW sells.

          • 0 avatar
            nrd515

            I was looking at Chevy trucks back in 2000, and one local, but not real close by dealer had about six perfect trucks, all exactly the same, all I had to do was pick my color. So I drive over there, on Sunday, so I wouldn’t be hassled by sales people. Every one of them had crappy stuff added on, for an insane price. Pinstripes too. Actually, I don’t like pinstripes, but it was the other stuff that killed any chance of me buying one of them. They all had some off brand steps on them, and crudely screwed on, with hardware store sheet metal screws that already showed signs of rusting, “bed bars” on top of the bed sides. I had already emailed a sales person, and he sent me a message wondering if I had a chance to look at the trucks. I told him yes, and wasn’t interested in them as they had been “trashed” by the crap they added on to them. He replied back, “Everyone wants that stuff, so we just put it on! I don’t understand your comments.” I explained that IF the stuff was decent quality, and IF it had been installed correctly, I might have taken the deal, which was a good one, IF they took the $1200 they added for their “upgrades” off the price. Another thing I didn’t like was the stuff wasn’t on anything I saw in the pics of the trucks they sent me. I wouldn’t have bothered to even go out there, if I had seen it. I asked if it was possible to get the same deal on a truck without that crap, and the sales idiot said, “Well, not at that price, it was a special deal! Why don’t you come in and we’ll talk!”. I told him that wasn’t going to happen, unless he really did have an unmolested truck. He said, “Well, we have some coming in and I’m sure we can make a deal we can both live with!”. I told him thanks, and I was sorry I wasted his time. I ended up going to a GMC dealer and buying a Sierra that had almost the exact same options as the messed up trucks had, for about $50 more than the “great deal” price. That guy from the first place sent me emails for weeks until I sent him a pic of my new Sierra. He finally took the hint and ended contact with me. They still load most of their trucks up with that crap, but they keep a couple of them in the back “as delivered”, so maybe they learned something by my and other’s rejection of that crap they screwed on.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      My mom’s name is Shawna. But she definitely knows how to haggle at a car dealership, especially on a used car. On her most recent transaction, she got the dealership to discount a $20,000, one-year-old Sonata Limited to $17,200…*and* pay for the hail damage that was on the hood and deck-lid from a recent thunderstorm. She haggles better than I do.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Sales “professional”: ” Okay, this has been fixed. Tru-coat charge is still there because that’s applied at factory, and manager wouldn’t budge on manual labor, LED parking lot lighting, or car carrier pre-delivery surcharges.”

      Dude (presumed boyfriend/husband): “You see that color? That’s the wrong exterior color, b!tch.”

      Woman: “I really don’t have time for this. My anal bleaching appointment is like in 10 frickin’ minutes.”

    • 0 avatar
      [email protected]

      “Sure, sign here Shawna, and we’ll put this aftermarket alarm from 2004 on your new A7. Just $2,400.”

      If it’s the lady buying then it will be a Q7

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Ruggled

  • avatar
    94metro

    The only time I bought a new car I did the internet price matching dance with every dealer in the state. It was extremely difficult to get quotes for “out the door” prices as everyone wanted to talk about meaningless numbers like MSRP as a reference point. There were no surprises at the dealership in the end but I’m sure I would have been subject to a fun day of documentation fee negotiation if I hadn’t done the extra work ahead of time.

  • avatar
    Keith_93

    In a deal like that, everybody deserves themselves.

    Driving half way across the country to save a few hundred bucks is dumb on so many levels – even when it works.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Keith_93 – I do agree if it isn’t a huge price margin. I like to think of what my time is worth.

      I drove 500 miles once to look at used car. The guy lied about frame rust even though I asked specific questions and he sent me pictures.

      He expected me to buy regardless of his lies due to the distance I traveled.

      My buddy and I promptly got in my truck and left. They guy was pizzed and I just chalked it up as a life lesson.

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        Well obviously you are very vulnerable in that situation. It’s a pretty naive person who shops that way.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          jim brewer – I was looking for a specific car, a 1968 2dr Galaxie 500. I told the guy that under no circumstances I would buy if there was rust in the frame. He lied and he assumed I’d buy due to distance.

          I sold 2 motorcycles to guys similar distances away sight unseen other than emailed photos. I was honest and they both went away happy.

          One goes on the premise of honesty and the only way in some cases to verify what you are told is to see for yourself.

          I like to drive and it was a fun trip.

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      “Driving half way across the country to save a few hundred bucks is dumb on so many levels – even when it works.”

      I agree – in my experience, when you need after-the-sale support (warranty service or whatever) you get way better treatment from the dealership where you bought the car – in spite of the fact that you can (theoretically) get warranty service from any like-branded dealer. The “repeat customer” motivation is pretty strong with most dealers – that is if they’re smart.

      I didn’t experience a bait-n-switch, but rather a bump in the advertised price. I saw the car I wanted on Autotrader for $2500 below invoice and thought, what’s wrong with it? (I had shopped around extensively and the best I found anywhere else was $1K off msrp) Turns out nothing, had 12 miles on the clock and was perfect. But by the time I got to the dealer (took me a month, I was out of town) they had bumped the ad price $500 (when I asked why they said they had done window tint, paint treatment, blah blah). I told them if they would sell it for the earlier price I would write them a check. We went back and forth a few times, I ended up giving them $100 over the earlier ad price. I was still very happy as I was out the door with tax and everything (and a lifetime powertrain warranty) for ~$500 below msrp – that’s OTD$. Still don’t know why they had it priced so low (a 2012 Golf TDI in Feb 2012, they were not having any trouble moving TDIs back then).

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    Honda dealer in Alabama pulled this tactic on me back in 2007. Because I was paying cash I didn’t qualify for the incentives, so the price we agreed upon over email was about $1200 higher in person. This is despite me verifying with him over the phone that I would get the discount. They wouldn’t budge on the price so I just walked out.

    Another dealer (also Honda) told me “Don’t bother shopping around on the internet. We own all the dealerships in this area, you’ll have to drive 250 miles to find one we don’t own.” Which only steeled my resolve!

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Honda dealers all think it’s still 1990 and the Accord is a decade ahead of every other sedan on the market.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Landmark Honda in Alexandria, Virginia is my go-to. Just make it clear that you want an out-the-door price before you’ll visit their lot. While many Honda dealers are crooks, the beauty of Honda only making their cars about five different ways is that if there’s one you want, you can usually get it from anyone. I just figure out what I want and then put it out for bid, stating that I’ll only consider out the door prices that I can write a check for before I leave my house. I don’t do trade ins, and I don’t dealer-finance. I know they want to finance you and claim all sorts of advantages, but this is a zero sum game. If it is good for them, it is bad for you.

        I worked at a dealer and learned the various games involving targeting the price that the buyer cared about and working the other numbers to your favor. Payment buyers get shafted on total out of pocket with long terms, too much down, low trade in value, etc. Selling price shoppers get shafted on interest rate, payment, term, trade in, fees, you name it. People that care about their trade in value end up paying too much for their new car and higher taxes as a result. I used to work this game to my advantage as a buyer. I would come in with a trade in that had some serious residual value. I’d emphasize that I didn’t want to pay too much for my new car. Then I’d let them assess my trade and never say a thing when they offered me sixty cents on the wholesale value dollar. I’d just keep working the new car price, and they’d smugly assume they were taking me for $5K on my trade. When I was confident they’d go no lower on the new car, I’d pull the trade from the deal and buy. It worked well and infuriated dealers. Thanks to the internet and the reliability of the cars I buy now, I just can’t be bothered negotiating that hard. I still get prices below all the published guides, and all I have to do is act nonchalant when salesman call to follow up on their unanswered bids and spend half an hour saying no to useless add-ons in dealer business offices when I pick up cars.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I got butt-rammed so bad from my first Honda purchase I vowed to never buy anything from a Honda dealer ever again.

          The only Honda I ever bought was a ’85 Civic. The deal was so bad that my dad, who was there to cosign for me if need be, actually physically threatened the salesman to give me a better deal. Given that Dad was built like a linebacker and the salesman was a greasy little lizard, I guess the threat was credible.

          Well, I wondered why pinstripes, floormats and rear speakers (a dealer added option at the time) got tossed in.

          I went back a few years later to trade the Civic on something else, and it was the same sh*t-show.

          MAYBE I’d buy one through a broker, or a used one, but no Honda dealer will ever get a dime of my money, on general principles.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I worked for the dealer in 1989. Honda was one of our many lines. The craziness of a few years earlier had subsided, but there was still a willingness to let any Honda customer walk that didn’t want to pay through the nose. The exception was the Prelude, which was already a slow seller with secret factory-to-dealer incentives. The guys that had been there when Hondas were red hot loved to tell stories of being openly contemptuous of customers.

            I asked about the Civic Real-time Wagon, since it seemed interesting on paper with its six-speed manual, AWD and Si motor. We didn’t have any in stock. My training manager, who’d been promoted after selling Hondas at just the right time, told me that the AWD wagons were great! The Honda reps keep the allocations really tight on them, so when winter comes around and the first snow hits, you can sell the two or three you get for the year for any price you want! Yippee! That was the mentality. They’d have rather reamed a few customers out of every penny they had than have sold two dozen cars for MSRP. The other brands we sold all had glaring flaws. This made the sales managers feel like customers would be lucky to leave with a Honda instead of something else. It didn’t dawn on them that people who didn’t buy our Hondas probably weren’t going to be buying one of our awful other brands. They were going to buy somebody else’s competitive product, or they were going to a dealer in a town less than thirty miles away that probably sold as many Hondas as we did to a population 20% our town’s size. Considering half the Hondas on our streets had their decals, you’d think somebody would have noticed.

            I haven’t even gotten into some of the dealer’s most vile ‘systems house’ tactics. If I told you the worst, you’d wonder why there weren’t shootings on a regular basis. With the dealership’s awful practices and worthy competition, you’d think they’d be history by now. Instead, they have sixty-one dealerships in VA, MD, and DC. Depressing. I’ve worked some pretty dynamic and exciting places that are now memories or shells of what they once were. The car dealer that was the complete embodiment of treating others the opposite of how you would wish to be treated yourself might have grown more than any other place I’ve worked.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Yeah, in ’85, it was pretty much either a Honda or Toyota (or some other Japanese brands to a lesser extent), or a complete P.O.S.

            I didn’t like the Toyota, so Honda it was.

            They kind of had you by the balls.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            In 1989, they didn’t have the local Toyota franchise. Since then, they’ve added Toyota as well as Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Jaguar, and Volkswagen to the Chrysler brands and Subaru they had in the ’80s. A big part of the business when I was there was Oldsmobile, and another loss since was Saab, although they were best used for selling other cars. I notice they don’t have Acura or Lexus, which makes me wonder if they’ve never had the customer satisfaction scores to land the best franchises.

          • 0 avatar

            Amazing. I bought a new 1984 CRX when you made a down payment and then a few months later when you got to the top of the waiting list you could actually buy the car. But even so, the deal was strictly MSRP plus tax & tags. I almost bought a Fiero, which also had wait lists, and it too was just MSRP plus tax & tags.

          • 0 avatar
            Lynchenstein

            I have had a similar experience at a Hyundai dealer in Victoria, BC. Will never consider one of their cars again.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          “I’d just keep working the new car price, and they’d smugly assume they were taking me for $5K on my trade. When I was confident they’d go no lower on the new car, I’d pull the trade from the deal and buy.”

          I like this tactic.

          I avoid the trade-in mess all together by pre-selling at CarMax. They give you a written estimate good for several days. So I get the firm commitment on the sale price of the new car then wave my CarMax trade in paperwork in front of them. If they honor it great I’m done – if not I drive back to CarMax and get my check from them. I also pre-finance thru a bank and if the dealer can’t beat that interest rate I get the bank loan. I’ve had it work both ways where the dealership had a special offer if I financed thru them and other times when they flat out told me they couldn’t match the deal the bank was offering at the time.

          The easiest deal I did was thru the fleet manager. He is the guy who handles business orders for fleet vehicles. As a result he pushes thru plenty of white, base model trucks. But I just had him order something different for me. Up front he told me the flat rate over invoice it would cost, we went over all the numbers I got online (from Edmunds), he agreed, so I gave him a down payment and then come back in 3 weeks when the truck arrived.

        • 0 avatar
          JonBoy470

          Thanks to the Interwebs and the power of M$ Excel, I can go into the dealer knowing what my target price is, and ball-park for what the payment will be, given my available down payment. I’ve had good luck by fixing many aspects of the deal from the get-go.

          The salesperson always leads with a “what’s the payment you’re looking for?” To which I respond “I know my income, and the market value of this car. When we come to a mutually agreeable deal on the door price of the car, and am supremely confident that I will be satisfied with the payments that result.” Since I know car salespeople are paid on commission, I am upfront as to whether I’m just kicking the tires or not.

          I proceed right to “I’m in a position to put down today (plus my trade if I have one) and I’ve already spoken to my credit union and qualified for financing at for . If you can beat that I’m all ears but otherwise I’ll just go with them. All I care about is the net out the door price, including destination, tax, tags and your dealer bullshit profit fee”.

          It’s also fun to do the math myself before the salesman is able to do it himself.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            My response is always, I don’t care what the payment is, I could buy the car with ONE payment if I wanted to. Because I could, but with interest rates <2% it would be stupid.

            I always make an appointment to discuss buying a car. I already know almost exactly what I want anyway, the most a car salesperson has had to do for me in the past 10 years is get out the leather sample book because I wanted to see what Oyster and Chestnut looked like in the real world.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      “you’ll have to drive 250 miles to find one we don’t own.”

      I used to work for a dealership group that had the monopoly on two brands. We never made such a statement to the customer. We’d try to keep them in a given store, but knew if they left and went to another one, we’d still have their business. In fact, if a customer came in and told us they were upset with the other dealer (that they didn’t know we owned) and we sold a car, the other dealer would get a referral fee.

      Yea, it’s a bit messed up, but if a customer hates one of your stores, don’t give them a reason to hate all of them.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I worked at, for a short time in the early 80’s, a plumbing company in Las Vegas that had a very very bad reputation. They had complaints about them all the time in the local newspaper’s “Action Line”. To get around their bad rep, they had a bunch of fake “DBA” names that they had on magnetic signs that they would use to cover up their real name. They had this huge motorized Rolodex thing that had all the customer’s names on index cards, so they would be able to see what “company” they had called before (and had complaints about), so they wouldn’t accidentally send a truck with the wrong name on it. One time, I was told to take a water heater out to a customer’s house. No one told me I was supposed to put on of the “AAAA_______” signs on it, so the customer wouldn’t know who we really were. When I pulled into the driveway, the customer came out, yelling, “I didn’t know you were ____________ Plumbing, get the F*&k out of here!”. He refused to allow any further work to be done, and gave the plumber a check for the work he did, and sent us both on our way. Funny thing was, he called another one of our “companies”, and we still got his money anyway. We sent out one of the green trucks and another plumber, and he never had a clue. I never understood why they just couldn’t operate as an honest business. I guess that’s why I only lasted two weeks.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    That’s why you talk to them on the phone, scan/fax a signed agreement and send a deposit before you bother going out there.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      This.

      Somewhat related, when I was car shopping a few years ago, one dealership from 100 miles away or so offered to bring the car with the paperwork to my house. I guess this is a somewhat common thing for some dealers in WV.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    I’ve found Toyota dealers the worst at bait and switch. Thanks Toyota for helping me buy a Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That means they’re actually the best at the bait and switch.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      For me it was my local Scion dealer in 2005.

      After agreeing on the value of my trade, they claimed after a couple days that they couldn’t find a green xB1 stick “anywhere in the country”. They tried to talk me into something on their lot, instead. In an hour, I found several at a dealer 2 hours away. When I confronted them with this information, they said “go ahead and buy your car there, then”, so I did. I didn’t get quite the same trade value, but I have no regrets.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    I tried that approach of asking many dealers to bid several years ago with Mazda. Of all the dealers in Ontario, only one responded to me with an actual quote. Another did reply that I was two far away and even if they quoted me, I was probably going to take it to my local dealer to match anyway.

    Dealers have also caught on to the internet phenomenon in other ways. Looking for somewhat rare cars nation-wide, I have found many dealers have figured out how to fool the “crawler” services that scour other web pages for ads. For example, one used car dealer in Long Island advertises all their price as including a $2500 trade. This is very obvious on the dealer’s own web page, but the crawlers only pick up the price and description. So the unwary customer goes to them first.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I’ve had luck with the up front bidding. I did that first with my 2007 GTI and got my factory ordered GTI for about $2500 less than MSRP. All of the other dealers bid between MSRP and $1500 off.

      I think the bait and switch is easier for the dealers when you are trading. That adds a 2nd variable to the equation and they really can’t give you a value on a trade over the phone. Out of the 7 new cars I’ve purchased, I’ve only traded one. 2 were private sales, 1 was totaled.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The only time I trade cars, its locally. But what I would do if I were trading in a car at a non-local dealership is send detailed pictures and then tell them that they need to guarantee the trade-in price, so long as the odometer is within 1,000 miles of what I stated and the title is clean.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      Sending out a bunch of requests for bids on the internet can hurt you if you’re looking for a relatively rare car as I learned in 2012 when I bought my Miata and had a specific request. All the dealers I contacted started looking for it, and they all found it at one dealer in a neighboring state. All that dealer knew is that he suddenly had a bunch of requests for that particular car so he figured it was worth holding onto and holding out for a higher price…

  • avatar

    What always grinds my gears is seeing heavily discounted advertised prices by Ford dealers, but then fine print saying prices don’t apply to leases… Why???

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    A few years ago… well, almost ten years ago… I was looking for used Saabs, and fairly specific types of them at that. So I ended up driving a few hours to check out an example that looked pretty good on paper and in photos.

    So, I got there, and the thing turned out to be a total wreck. Dents, stuff falling off inside, windows not working, just a disaster. I told the sales dude I was done, and he pleads, “But you drove ALL THIS WAY and you’re not going to get a car?”

    “What, you think that I should cap off a useless drive by paying too much for a busted car? How does that improve my day?”

    Silence…

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Bahaha! You have a point. It’s better to cut your losses, especially on a used wreck, than to go ahead and buy the thing just because you drove all that way…

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’ve bought several cars far from home, but not with ‘internet pricing’. Internet pricing isn’t real anyway. I simply tell them I’m in town TODAY ONLY and they have one shot at getting my business.

    It sort of turns the tables on the “this deal won’t last” routine.

    The best was my 96 Grand Voyager, purchased 5 hours from home. We actually stood up to leave when they wouldn’t meet our price. They finally did.

  • avatar
    ericb91

    I’m a Honda salesman and I hate this part of new-car buying. Dealers in our area used to (I think Honda regulates it now) leave out the Destination charge in Internet quotes. Someone local sitting at my desk says “X Dealer 50 miles away is beating your price by almost $900.” Hmm.. Let’s see, the Destination charge on the Odyssey you’re looking at is $880. Would you think they might be neglecting to include that, and that they will add it when you are at their desk?

    “No! I checked! They told me it included Destination!”. This goes on and on. Some dealers give a blower price and neglect to mention the $799 worth of accessories already installed which are non-negotiable, or the $599 Document Fee on all of their cars.

    When shopping on the Internet, you have to ask point-blank: What requirements do I have to meet to qualify for that price (read: incentives)? Does that include Destination charge? What is your Document fee? Are there any other fees that I will be charged when I take delivery?

    If you ask ALL of those questions (if possible, get them written in email from the Internet Sales Department and BRING IT WITH YOU) you will protect yourself from the unscrupulous sorts.

    As a salesman, I don’t like Internet deals because all of the profit (read: Commissionable gross profit) is taken out. But I’ll take an Internet customer because it’s easy. There’s no negotiation; just pick your color. My dealership doesn’t do any of the tacked-on BS fees and all Internet quotes explain the incentives applied and Destination charge included. We don’t even mention College Graduate or Military incentives until the customer asks. As a consumer, that’s the way it should be, in my opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “I’m a Honda salesman and I hate this part of new-car buying. Dealers in our area used to (I think Honda regulates it now) leave out the Destination charge in Internet quotes.”

      Yeah, I got wise to this when I bought my TSX. Now I always specify “price including destination” in my emails to dealers.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    You know how salespeople are always begging for a perfect ten when you fill out the manufacturer’s customer satisfaction survey (service or sales)? That’s where you can really stick it to them if they do dumb things like this, or indeed before you buy the car. A call or email to a corporate rep will usually sort out this kind of dishonesty, especially if you’re a repeat buyer for the brand. Explain that you’re now considering a Mazda instead of a Subaru because the dealer had you drive 600 miles only to pull a bait-and-switch, for example. Chances are, that dealership and the perpetrating Internet sales manager will get in major trouble.

    Funny story: I had one blowhard salesman (who was really sort of secondary to the deal) jokingly threaten that I might one day go outside to find my tires popped with an ice pick if he didn’t get a perfect customer satisfaction score. I may or may not have responded that he would then, in turn, find that ice pick sticking out of his eye socket. Jerk.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Violence doesn’t sound like you!

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Well, I said “may or may not have.” But people who use their large stature to bully others—especially people that spend a significant amount of money with them—really get under my skin. It’s in the same vein of people as the finance manager who told me I should shut up when advising my grandmother not to buy a paint warranty, because *I* wasn’t going to pay for the paint if it got damaged…or the salesman who loudly asked me to leave when I was advising a friend that 21% interest on a new Camry LE was way too much money to pay and that she should perhaps consider alternate options.

        Yeah, I have a *thing* with rude staff at car dealerships.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          You just don’t get it, Kyree. How dare you demand a fair deal? Bars and strip clubs all over our great nation depend on these folks for their revenue!

          Get with the program!

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I had a salesman ask for a good rating. I down rated him even further for that remark. I even mentioned it on the follow up call my poor rating caused.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        It’s not just the car biz where this happens – I used to work for a homebuilder’s mortgage company, and a huge part of your compensation was tied up in customer service surveys. If you got even one that was 90% or below, you could kiss $2,000 of your pay for that month goodbye.

        And people would give you bad ratings for all kinds of reasons. One guy rated me extremely high on all the stuff that mattered – courtesy, communications, all that – but didn’t like his rate. I guess he figured I was really Ben Bernanke. Another survey was actually not made by the person who we financed, but by her boyfriend, who wasn’t on the loan or buying the house, and he sent in the survey with a big fat zero because the buyer kicked him out after she moved in.

        So, basically, I might as well have piled up four grand in my driveway, doused it in lighter fluid, lit it and done a “Dances With Wolves” fire dance around it.

        I generally try to be nice to these folks who get paid on their service surveys, unless they really don’t deserve it…I learned the hard way how important they are.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          If I don’t think they deserve a good rating, I give them a chance to redeem themselves (this happens more often with service surveys than sales surveys). I don’t even mind them asking for a good score because that kind of *is* their way of asking if there’s anything they can do to make the experience better. But threatening to bust my tires for a good survey score? That’s a no-no.

  • avatar
    BoogerROTN

    In 2011 I used TrueCar to price a 2012 Mazda5 Touring. At the time, TC could still offer a “deal” for those of us that hate dealing w/grease ball Cal Worthington types. Anyway, I triangulated the TC area between Seattle, Portland and Spokane; if I got a “deal,” it would be a cheap $100 Horizon flight to any of those locations. After some back and forth, I was able to get Doug’s Mazda in University (SEA) to sell me the car for $19,400. As I don’t live in Seattle (I live in Spokane, because I like to live like a king among the poor), I tried to get the two local Mazda dealers to pricematch the Doug’s deal and save me the free cup of Covey Run chardonnay. Nope, no go (“best” local offer was was about $1.1K more).

    So off to SEATAC I went. After an early-morning $40/20 minute taxi ride that left me smelling of falafel, I was at Doug’s Mazda. The car was there in the showroom, I presented the cheesy “TrueCar Certificate” (printed in grey scale, because my color ink cartridge lost its rainbow) to the “Internet Sales Specialist” and then spent an hour signing my name to things I didn’t really read. If pressed to put times to this lovely transaction, I’d say I got into SEA at ~8:30, dealership by ~9:15, deal done by ~10:30 and back home by 3PM.

    The moral of this stupid story is that there were “deals” to be had back when TrueCar offered some measure of real savings and dealerships weren’t fighting w/TC. Nowadays, the “internet sales” scam by local-yocal dealerships means having to qualify for Farm Bureau, Military, Police Guild and Third Nut rebates. I really think you could find better deals by simply giving up and going to a CarMax dealership…

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      Cal Worthington was a damn fine American (29 missions over Germany in a B-17):

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cal_Worthington

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Carguy67, agree on Cal Worthington! My brother worked for Cal Worthington in Long Beach and that’s how my brother got into the car business of his own.

        Remember the ad with the elephant? My brother was in that one, along with several others, in case Cal fell off the elephant.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    one of the advantages to being able to buy on plan means I never have to deal with this s**t.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      A/Z-plan is a glorious thing.

      “How much does this car cost?”

      “This much.”

      At. every. dealership.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        My last transaction lasted 30 minutes. The longest part was the GD finance manager’s spiel. I had to interrupt his 500 dollar 3M scotchguard pitch and tell him that I build the f*ckin truck and I was paying in cash.

        Stealerships. Working as a wash boy probably hardened me to the dark side of human nature early on.

        If you’re name is Steve Lang and you read this, go f*ck yourself with a Pinto you slimy bastard.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I’ve never gotten the hard sell on any of that add-on crap. VW, Saab, Fiat, and BMW, all the same “here is what we offer (gives printed page of add on crap), let me know if you are interested or have any questions”, and on to the paperwork signing. Mom had the same experience at a different VW dealer and Toyota.

          Closest is that for my latest BMW, they REALLY wanted to sell me wheel locks of all things. But that was the salesperson, not the finance folks. And they took no for an answer with a bit of back and forth.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Imagine how many vehicles Ford would sell if they just gave X plan to everybody.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Didn’t that go poorly last year?

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            I would be you’re right, but I don’t know. True cost is the way to buy. I got my twin brother in a ’14 4×4 STX F150 for 23 grand out the door.

            The beauty of the last MY of a platform.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Part of the reason why the “Friends and Family for EVERYONE” sales thing didn’t work because people apparently want year end discounts and incentives, not low prices to start with.

            The last model year of a Ford platform is typically a good bet. Sometimes the vehicles have been decontented by then, but 2012 Fusions, 2014 Edges, 2014 F150s, and 2012 Escapes were all GREAT buys new and are now the same used.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          That worked out great for GM, until everyone turned in their leased Tahoes and Suburbans for Civics in 2008.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @bball

          Everyone wants to think they got a deal.

          Look at JC Penney. They went from sales and coupons to everyday pricing that was LOWER than the sale and coupon prices, and they darned near went under. Went back to sales and coupons and sales have more-or-less recovered. It’s all psychology.

          And ultimately, there are those folks who will just pay MSRP either because they won’t haggle or it makes them feel good to be able to just walk in and pay. Why leave that money on the table? I hate the game as much as anyone, but I don’t blame dealers for playing it when they can.

      • 0 avatar
        zip89105

        @ bball40dtw Guaranteed! That’s how I bought my Fusion, without all the BS, and they gave me a better than X-plan price.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        The Z plan price might be the same, but incentives still stack on top of that, and that’s where things can get fishy. I once test drove a Focus ST, and asked for the Z-plan price. Instead of bringing me the invoice like he was supposed to, the sales manager wrote it down by hand. “That’s even less than Z-plan! Sign here.”

        Mind you, I was already aware at this time that Ford was offering a $1,500-$2000 cash incentive on the car. Another dealer offered me Z-plan, plus the full incentives (but I wanted to check out the ST2 trim, so I looked elsewhere). Yeah, the price that sales manager wrote down was about $100 less than the Z-plan, but he was keeping the rest of the incentive cash for himself.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Every Ford dealer should be bringing you the A/Z-plan invoice and show you the rebates from whatever Ford dealer site they use. If they don’t. they are dirtbags. It’s not that hard and they don’t have to work that much for those sales.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Yeah, the sales manager was an aggressive, pushy dirtbag. Too bad, because the salesman I did the test drive with was great, and a fellow ex-Marine to boot. I ended up not liking the ST anyway, and told him I was planning to check out the GTI.

            His response: “It’s the same car, so you should just buy this one.”

            Yikes! I did like the GTI much better, but decided ultimately to hang on to my Mazda a while longer. Maybe when cloth seats can be combined with a sunroof, I’ll become more motivated about that VW.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            As someone who owned a Focus ST and GTI at the same time, they are very different vehicles.

            VW used to offer the GTI with cloth and a sunroof. I owned ones for a few years. That sucks that they aren’t doing that anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Yeah, it’s really aggravating to me. I love a sunroof, but dislike hot, sticky leather. An S model with that beautiful sunroof would be perfect. Instead, I’d have to step up to the SE model for an extra 3 grand, for the one option I want.

            I’m curious, how would you compare to two cars? I found the ST didn’t fit me. The seats were uncomfortably narrow, the shifter wasn’t a comfortable in my hand, the steering was a bit numb.

            With the GTI, everything I wanted to touch was in just the right spot. And it looked more grown up. Maybe the ST is a better track car, but I just wanted something to drive to work, and for road trips.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The GTI is a Swiss army knife and the ST is a claw hammer.

            The ST is more fun and loud, but the GTI is the better everyday car for most people. The ST seats have to be broken in. It takes a few weeks. I don’t have any complaints about the shifters on either. They are different but both are good.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Thanks, that’s what I figured. Of course I didn’t get to drive the ST hard, while the GTI was fun at a much lower threshold. When it comes to those ST seats though, I couldn’t spend $20K+ on a car and “hope” the seats fit me in a few weeks. Especially when the GTI’s cloth seats fit me perfectly.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Being salesman on the losing end of that scenario many, many times, I have no sympathy for the idiot customers that fall for these scams. They deserve it for being stupid.

    Everyone wonders why car salesmen lie. It’s because customers don’t believe the truth anyway, so why bother.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      If that’s your mantra, go run some barbed wire through your urethra and do the world a favor.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      As much as I hate this statement, it’s true.

      After having sampled the car salesman lifestyle, I can tell you it’s nihilism at its’ very best (or at least it was back in the ’80s when I did it). Many of my coworkers were decent types, but there were way too many of them who were degenerates who put half their paychecks up their nose, or in some stripper’s g-string.

      There was one guy who bragged about being able to “high gross” people without mercy. I asked him why he was happy about that. Answer: three baby mamas.

      Everyone should try car sales for a while. Believe me, it’ll make you incredibly grateful for whatever job comes after.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      The moral of the story: Corrupt people soft pedal their own corruption.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        There is a reason why car sales staff routinely rate at the bottom of any survey where trust is involved.

        Ruggles was big on blaming the customer for getting fleeced. “They had it coming.”

        I pointed out that it used to be a common defense in sexual assault. He did not see the connection.

        Go figure.

        I do like Tresmonos suggestion.

        • 0 avatar
          dwford

          My point is is that people who insist on believing fairy tales despite reality being right in their face have no one to blame but themselves.

          See: Bernie Sanders supporters

          When I am telling the truth and am called a liar to my face, I find it hard to have sympathy when I am proven correct.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            This is a Actions have Consequences fallacy. Essentially your ill-suited behavior is a PUNISHMENT not a consequence. You’re presuming your own action is inherently good or virtuous (or atleast not a sin). The problem with the base of the argument is that the presumption of ‘if it happens, it should’ which is the Argument from Consequences fallacy. It’s kind of hard to figure out which part of your argument is what, I think the Argument from Consequences is your original response fallacy and then the follow up is Actions have Consequences fallacy.

            Though I would also point out that Bernie Sanders outpolls his rivals in the Republican party so there isn’t too much of a fairy tale.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @dwford – “Pleased to meet you
            Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
            But what’s confusing you
            Is just the nature of my game.”

            No sympathy for the salesman!

            How do you handle being called a liar and then are proven to be one?

            I deal with people who believe in fairy tales all of the time. Most are 100% compos mentis.
            Odd…….. I’ve never been called a liar

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Funny how everyone responding to my post assumes that I participated in the long distance price scams. I did not.

      People want to believe in the amazing deal, the free lunch, so to speak. But does it really make sense for one dealer to be ABLE to sell a car for thousands of dollars less than another one? No it does not.

      My point is that customers need to do their due diligence and not fall for these scams. I can’t feel too much sympathy if I tell you the stove is hot and you touch it anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        You’re full of sh!t, typical car salesman pond scumbag.

        I’ve had dealerships not be able be able to come within thousands of dollars on many of the new car deals I’ve negotiated.

        I’ve negotiated MANY (i.e. more than two dozen) deals for myself, family and friends.

        On a 2015 vehicle with a MSRP of just shy of 39k+, I negotiated a deal for a friend recently of a buy price of $31,4xx (n OTD price of 33,300 w/ Tax,Title).

        Suburban would only go as low as 33,600 (before TTL) on the same trim’d vehicle, and the manager told me to go buy it if it was “a real deal,” which my friend did (as I lined everything up).

        That’s the most recent of MANY such deals.

        You’re a lying, filthy scumbag.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          You could use a sedative or six.

          Pointing out that some things are too good to be true isn’t exactly an outlandish statement.

          If you’re allegedly saving several thousand dollars on a typical car purchase, then the higher price in that equation was some sort of over-sticker markup and/or a dealer pocketing a rebate, i.e. a price that you didn’t have to pay in the first place. There just isn’t that much room between MSRP and invoice.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            For your information, the vehicle was purchased in the final 4 days of 2015, and there was a massive amount of dealership $$$ available at the selling dealership (the largest volume one by far which gets massive incentive cash from FCA because it’s a huge volume dealership – so yeah, there really was a true, large sales price differential, as they had to make their expectedly high numbers, and I know that they they lost over $2,400 on the vehicle vs their true factory invoice ( because I know the zone manager for FCA who knows the sales manager at Parkway).

        • 0 avatar
          dwford

          If a dealer is willing to sell at a radically lower price than the competition, there typically is a reason, usually taking a large loss on a particular sale to hit a quota, and the kickbacks that come with it.

          My point remains that because customers cave and buy at the dealer that lies to them, they encourage the behavior. The customer’s lack of due diligence upfront puts them in the uncomfortable situation of having to walk from a deal, which most customers don’t have the stones for. So the cycle continues.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            As a car salesman, your general statements above p!ss me off as they either intentionally or unintentionally misinform people.

            I get truly incredible deals all the time negotiating for myself, family and friends, and have for 18+ years, good industry-bad industry/good times-bad times, by knowing how to negotiate.

            If your dealership isn’t of the type that is aggressive, or isn’t a volume’ based dealership that actually really does move vehicles at a loss in order to get manufacturer volume-based incentives that more than make up for those hits (see GM’s Brand Essentials Program as just one example of what every manufacturer offers high volume dealerships as bonus cash), that’s not a reason to claim amazing deals can’t be and aren’t gotten – I get them frequently (excepting limited run vehicles with extraordinary true demand or Euro-exotics, etc.).

            And by the way, even when I get a smoking deal, if the salesperson is straight up throughout the process, I make sure they get at least $300 cash in their hand that the dealership never knows about (especially on employee price plan deals where their commission is a flat $50), so my need to get a great deal does not come out of the salesperson’s hide (just the opposite).

          • 0 avatar
            Japanese Buick

            “I get truly incredible deals all the time ”

            I didn’t know that Deadweight was Donald Trump’s avatar on TTAC!

        • 0 avatar
          dwford

          Having nothing better to do than call dozens of dealers to find the one in a pinch for a sale doesn’t make you a great negotiator, it just means you have nothing better to do with your time. And signing someone up for an employee pricing deal definitely doesn’t mean you’re a great negotiator.

          There are many reasons a dealer will give a car away for a great price – sales contest, stair step incentive, end of the month, to help a salesman hit bonus, sales manager in a great mood, how many days on the lot that particular vehicle has been there, unpopular color or trim level, etc.

          This is all way into the weeds off topic from the original article. Do some dealers play the long distance price scam game? Yes. Do customers fall for it all the time? Yes. Why does it keep happening? Because the customer buys anyway, even after they realize it’s a scam. So it’s on the customer at that point.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            You’re just a hopeless moron and/or sell-side shill.

            In two hours I can have as many as 6 dealers bidding for business which results in my saving MANY thousands of dollars (a difference of $5,600 vs next-lowest dealer on a vehicle I purchased for myself in 2006).

            That’s a pretty “good use of my time.”

            Scumbag.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            And by the way, REAL salesmen love me.

            I’ve dealt with 4 different REAL salesmen multiple times because they know I’ll show up within a few hours with funds and an effective insurance binder and be ready to take possession once a deal is consummated (and they get $300+ of cash in their hand).

            Scumbag.

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            We all bow at the awesome awesomeness of the negotiating superpower of Deadwood.

            With his magnetic personality and sunny disposition I’m sure dealers are just delighted to sell that hot, in demand model for MANY THOUSANDS less just to him!

            Let’s just take a moment and bask in the warm glow of his awesomeness.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Hey Jaeg-off,

            I’m sorry for you that you’re an easy mark, lay down and prey for scumbag salespeople, and that you can’t negotiate your way out of a paper bag.

            I’ll negotiate your next deal for 50% of the savings vs your best deal.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Do Cadillac salesman love you too Deadweight?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I wouldn’t p!ss on a Clack-i-lack if it was on fire.

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            Next time I have a need for your heroic negotiating prowess I will surely let you know.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            You came in and tried to sucker punch me on a discussion not concerning you, Kevin.

            That 50% fee is firm, now. I would have done it for 25% but there are consequences for your actions, bro.

          • 0 avatar
            dwford

            DeadWeight you are truly amazing, then. You can find 6 dealers to even respond within 2 hours?? Let alone provide the exact detailed price quotes you want? Amazing indeed.

            How this turned into a self backpatting session for yourself is beyond me.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            dwford, after having read this entire thread, I have but one question: “Why do you guys even negotiate with dealers?”

            I cannot recall negotiating or haggling with anyone I bought a car from, new or used. They set the price, I bought the car or I walked away.

            Not siding with anyone here. Just want to know why you guys think it is necessary to negotiate.

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            Whoaa, consequences. That really harshes my mellow.

            Back to A-plan it is, I guess. And here I was already planning how to spend my share of the MANY THOUSANDS I’d be leaving on the table.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @HDC

            Why would you not? It’s not a time consuming endeavor if you do it right. For my M235i, I did my research in the BMW forums as to what I could and should expect for pricing on a Euro Delivery/Performance Center re-delivery M235i. Call that an hour of reading. That also told me which dealerships around the country were good at Internet deals. With planning to do Performance Center re-delivery (pick it up at the BMW plant in N. Carolina) it did not matter where I actually bought the car, I would never set foot in that dealership if I didn’t want to. So that gave me a target price. I then setup an appointment with my local, 2mi down the street, BMW dealer to discuss buying the car. Told them what I wanted, and to e-mail me an offer. Which was ~$3K more than my target price. I responded with, no, sorry, try again, here is what I am looking for. They got within $250 on the next try. Because their “doc fee” is much lower than most dealers, they actually met my bottom line price for the car, and I bought it from them. They still made ~$500 on the deal, which I think is fair for an order where they don’t have to floorplan the car, nor did the salesperson have to spend more than a minimal amount of time dealing with me. Not the absolute lowest price anyone has paid for one of these cars per the forums, but pretty close, $6K+ off MSRP. And they beat my credit union on the financing by a point.

            My time is expensive, but if I can save $3K-$4K by spending a few hours reading and sending e-mails I have no problem with that.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “My time is expensive, but if I can save $3K-$4K by spending a few hours reading and sending e-mails I have no problem with that.”

            Maybe MY understanding of “negotiating” is wrong because “asking questions about what is included” and “making counteroffers negotiating” are two distinct and separate ways to arrive at a mutually agreeable price.

            Allow me to clarify: after finding what I have been looking for and want to purchase, I ask the salesmanager what the store needs to sell this jewel for.

            They give me the price of $X. I ask what’s included. Once the “out of the door price” has been established, I either accept that, or not.

            That’s a far cry from, “I won’t pay for this or that” or “you gotta do better on this or that.”

            The back-and-forth is what gets buyers riled up. Walking away always results in the dealership coming after the buyer with “reconsideration” without wasting more time.

            Just my experience, and what works for me.

            Dealers have to make a sale in order to survive and they hate wasting time on a sale lost.

            Dealerships are not your friends. They’re out to fleece the buyer.

            Playing on their turf according to their rules on their terms is what costs buyers dearly.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Deadweight is one of those guys who fancies himself as a professional negotiator when buying a car, when the reality is that he’s too ignorant to realize or understand that the deals he negotiates aren’t nearly as good as he believes. A sucker is born every minute.

            In the end, the most important thing is if the consumer drives away feeling good about the deal he/she got, even if he/she got taken to the cleaners. In this regard, I think Deadweight is probably the world champion.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            TTAC is going to go to sh!t with all these parasitic, leech-like, pondscum, bottom-feeding, scumsucking, waste-of-cellular-matter, dumb-as-dog-sh!t car salesmen hanging out and commenting.

            Total bottom-of-the-evolutionary-ladder “car salespeople,” one step removed from dung beetles.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Looks like salesmen are what DeadWeight hates more than Cadillac…..

          Well, I guess Cadillac salesmen would be bottom of the barrel……

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Deadweight Hate” is screaming to be a regular column here.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @28-Cars, there you go, we need a DeadWeight – “What Really Grinds My Gears” column.

            “You know what really grinds my gears? Insufficient lubrication.”

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      @HDC: That is just your negotiating style. Many customers use the first best offer method, and do not counter offer the dealer. I don’t find that particularly effective, because it seems like you would need to visit more dealerships to get the price you are looking for, when you may have been able to get it from the dealer you are at by making a counter offer. Dealerships are money making enterprises, and the salesman and sales manager are paid on commission, so you rarely get the lowest price up first because they are trying to make a living.

      Personally, I never set foot in a dealership without getting internet quotes first. I will email the dealers directly – skipping all the car websites, Yahoo, etc. I email on a specific car that they have in stock, and tell them exactly what I want. Many dealers reply with bs boilerplate emails and ignore my quote request. Those are out immediately. Those that do reply usually don’t give me exactly what I want, so I need to get clarifying emails and I always make sure I get the same information from each dealer so I can accurately compare the offers. Then I go to the one I felt most comfortable with, and drive the vehicle, and try to negotiate a bit more after that. Never hurts to try. For my current vehicle, I knew what I wanted and what I wanted to pay, so I did the internet thing, but being lazy I really just planned to buy at my local dealer, so I just kept hammering them until I got what I wanted.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        dwford, I never of thought of my “style” as negotiation because my understanding of what “negotiation” entails is endless bargaining and back&forth, ad nauseam, until one side capitulates.

        It seems to me that my “style” frees both the salesperson and salesmanager faster to move on to the next customer.

        Your style also cuts through all the BS and gets right to the heart of the matter, even if you allow more back&forth with a dealership.

        When I’m buying, I give the dealer ONE shot at me. I’m not looking for the lowest price. Just the price I want to pay. I realize dealers have to make money to stay in business.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Hueberger in Colorado Springs is the real deal. They DO sell Subies for the lowest price in the nation for the price they quote with no fluff. I am kind of surprised you didn’t buy a one way and drive one home from there. They can be, in some cases depending on the time year, 5k or more less for a WRX due to Subaru’s stupid stair step that no one other than them can attain. And no, I don’t work there or do business with them. I really don’t care for Subies.

    As for what you are writing about Bozi, it is actually pretty rate and fairly bush league stuff. A great way to get a bad online review that sort of thing. Honda dealers perhaps may still participate in this sort of behavior due to the perhaps mistaken belief by some dealers that the product they represent is still the cats ass instead of the reality that it is just like everybody elses stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      MUSASHI66

      I talked to 2 Subaru delaerships in Denver, and they are all willing to meet Heuberger price. Also, they offered me the lowest trade in value on my cars.

      They do make it stupid simple to buy a car under invoice, get no stupid add-ons like pin stripes and nitrogen filled tires, and are definitely the place to go to if you just want to buy and have no trade in. Their selection is stupendously large, and you can be in and out quickly. I bought my 2008 Outback there, my ex wife’s 2007 Impreza Outback Sport, and my buddy bought his 2008 STi the same day I bought the Outback.

    • 0 avatar

      Their reputation is the only reason I even got a quote from them. If I had the time I would have loved to fly in and drive the car back but due to my schedule that wasn’t really possible. I considered shipping the car since rates are pretty low right now but luckily the semi-local dealer matched the price and everything worked out.

  • avatar
    USAFMech

    So, Ruggles is dead?

  • avatar
    MUSASHI66

    I just bought two Forester XTs locally – and I talked to Heuberger as well, which I’m sure is the dealership in Colorado you are referring to.

    Also, I bought an out of state car a few months ago – a 2014 FIAT Abarth Convertible GQ edition. I didn’t get any bait and switch because I finished everything from home and just picked up a car there. I email them, gave them my offer, and they accepted. I then did a credit application on their website. They ran my credit, everything was fine, they wrote up the deal, overnighted me the paperwork, I signed it after verifying it was as agreed, overnighted it back, and flew to Salt Lake City with my buddy. We picked it up, drove it back, and I have to say it was probably the easiest car purchase ever! I am having some little title issues – they recorded the wrong mileage when they took the car as a trade in, but it is almost solved, and I got $150 worth of gift cards as an apology.

    As for my local XT purchases, I got the quote from Heuberger and dealt with them and 2 more local dealers, ones closest by. Heuberger quote (about a grand under invoice) was my starting price as well, they just could not give me a good trade in value. If I was buying without a trade, I would just go there and not even bother in Denver. The one where I bought my previous 2 Outbacks gave me way too much shit – stupid fees and dealer add ons, and a low trade in value, so I walked. Of course, they called back – while I was signing the paperwork for my new cars.

    The place where I did buy the cars – Shortline Subaru – surprised me, as I tried buying there before and they never had good enough of a price. This time, they gave me 1.9% interest, $300 under Heuberger price per car, and best trade in value offer – closest to KBB and NADA. Finance office did try to change my loam from 60 to 63 months and they did try to sell me extended warranties, but that was all to be expected.

    On another note, odakle si Božidare?

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I did a fly-n-buy last month, from Vegas to Phoenix, on a used ’13 Sonic.

    I was looking for a cheap hatchback with cruise, not being very particular. This one came up at $3k less than anyone in Vegas was asking.

    Rule #1: don’t take a cab to the dealer. Have them pick you up at the airport. My salesman did, without question.

    When we got there and I saw the car, I discovered why it was $3k lower. It had more wear and tear than any 3-year-old, 30k mile car ought to have, and mismatched tires to boot.

    It was still a fair deal, just not the screaming bargain I was thinking I was getting. A $150 one-way ticket to PHX and a 5-hour drive home later, I went to Costco and put on new tires.

    All in all, I didn’t get a helluva deal, but I did get $10,500 worth of car for $10,500 and 8 hours of my time. By the time I’m done with the car, all the excess wear and tear won’t matter.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Ah, yes, Internet buying. While I was shopping for my Buick a few years back, I went to look at a car that a dealer had advertised on its website…with the price in big day-glo yellow numbers on the windshield. I began negotiating and they tried to get me to buy it for $500 more than they had it listed for on the website…or shown in the pictures with aforementioned day-glo numbers.

    I picked up my phone and showed them the picture. They STILL wouldn’t even honor that price. I walked out and the idiot followed me.

    And we wonder why Carmax is in business…

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “And we wonder why Carmax is in business”

      Because people don’t realize how much they are getting hosed.

      I wonder if we surveyed people what their reactions would be?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        They aren’t as bad as you’d think. I’ve been shopping for a used car and they’re pretty close to being in line with the market for the one I’m looking for. Honestly, a couple of hundred bucks on a $15,000 purchase might be worth it to me to avoid the stupid hassle some of these folks put you through.

        What I REALLY hate about them is that you can’t shop their lot on Sundays. Some disembodied voice tells you to leave before they call the cops. Buzzkill.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Show me the model you’ve been looking at and we’ll check the tape.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            2014-15 Ford Focus, <25000 miles. Zip 80201. Prefer manual.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ok where is the Carmax link you were looking at?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Freed

            So if we go to the tape, the 14 SE sedan trades low 9 to 12 extra clean nationally and in your region most 14s being traded have double the miles and trade mostly in the 9s. The 15 in your region trades 11-12, so IMO seek the 15 and not the 14 in Denver.

            Now let’s look at Carmax in Federal Heights, CO.

            MY14 Focus SE sedan/auto for $13,9 which I like for its no miles. We know the extra clean Foci do roughly 10 so you’re forking over 4K plus TTL for the Carmax privilege.

            http://www.carmax.com/enus/view-car/default.html?id=12650121&AVi=3&amp;
            No=0&Rp=R&D=90&zip=80922&
            N=4294963136+4294963135+4294961473&
            Q=e96522c5-bc14-4c56-92c3-0d73e79db3de&
            Ep=search:results:results%20page

            Here’s a 15/auto in South Jordan, UT with 12K for 13,9 as well. We know the 15 is worth more right now so the spread here is thinner, I’d say 2-3K.

            http://www.carmax.com/enus/view-car/default.html?id=12740789&AVi=0&No=0&amp;
            Rp=R&D=90&zip=80922&
            N=4294963136+4294963135+4294961473&sY=2015-2016&
            Q=e96522c5-bc14-4c56-92c3-0d73e79db3de&Ep=search:results:results%20page

            Personally I am looking to spend a pack +/- a small commission, not 30% on margin, but these prices are not as obnoxious as some of the Carmax ones I have seen in the past.

            MY14 Ford Focus SE sedan – national

            02/17/16 CALIFORN Lease $12,300 3,158 Above SILVER 4G A Yes
            02/18/16 DETROIT Lease $10,300 3,281 Avg BLACK 4G A Yes
            02/18/16 PITTSBGH Lease $11,300 3,699 Above BLACK 4G A Yes
            02/18/16 DFW Lease $10,800 5,123 Above RED 4ET A Yes
            02/18/16 MISS Lease $10,800 7,442 Above RED-RR 4G A Yes
            02/18/16 TX HOBBY Lease $10,100 7,541 Avg GRAY 4G A Yes
            02/18/16 TAMPA Lease $10,600 9,812 Above CHAR-UH 4ET A Yes
            02/17/16 HAWAII Lease $11,250 10,354 Above WHITE 4G A Yes
            02/18/16 DETROIT Lease $9,700 11,954 Avg GRAY 4ET A Yes
            02/18/16 DETROIT Lease $9,500 13,344 Avg WHITE 4G O Yes
            02/17/16 CALIFORN Lease $10,100 14,402 Avg BLUE 4G A Yes
            02/18/16 CHICAGO Lease $9,800 14,705 Avg WHITE 4G A Yes
            02/18/16 PA Lease $9,300 16,069 Avg WHITE 4ET P Yes
            02/18/16 CHICAGO Lease $9,100 17,390 Avg MDRED 4G 5 Yes
            02/18/16 SO CAL Factory $10,500 18,324 Above WHITE 4G A Yes
            02/18/16 TAMPA Lease $10,000 18,895 Avg CHAR-UH 4ET A Yes
            02/18/16 DETROIT Lease $9,200 19,514 Avg BLUE 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 PITTSBGH Factory $9,300 20,667 Avg DKGREY 4G A Yes
            02/18/16 DETROIT Lease $10,300 21,309 Avg BLUE 4G A Yes

            south west

            02/17/16 DENVER Lease $8,700 38,137 Avg WHITE 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DENVER Lease $8,300 37,987 Below WHITE 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DENVER Lease $8,200 48,589 Below RED 4ET A Yes
            02/17/16 DENVER Lease $8,000 51,106 Below GRAY 4ET A Yes
            02/17/16 DALLAS Lease $10,400 24,323 Avg WHITE 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DALLAS Lease $9,700 37,827 Avg WHITE 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DALLAS Lease $9,500 46,676 Avg SILVER 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DALLAS Lease $9,400 40,446 Avg RED 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DALLAS Lease $9,400 40,142 Avg BLACK 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DALLAS Lease $9,400 40,021 Avg RED 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DALLAS Lease $9,300 45,927 Avg RED 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DALLAS Lease $9,100 42,493 Avg WHITE 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DALLAS Lease $9,100 42,309 Avg RED 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DALLAS Lease $8,800 46,640 Avg BLACK 4G A Y

            MY15 Ford Focus SE sedan – south west

            02/11/16 DFW Lease $12,700 4,888 Above J7-GREY 4G A Yes
            02/11/16 EL PASO Lease $11,200 10,770 Avg SILVER 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DFW Factory $11,900 12,301 Avg RR-RED 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 SAN ANTO Lease $11,100 13,099 Avg GRAY 4G A Yes
            02/16/16 DFW Factory $12,000 13,182 Avg UX-SLVR 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DFW Factory $12,500 15,842 Above UX-SLVR 4G A Yes
            02/16/16 DFW Factory $11,700 16,649 Avg Z9-BLUE 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DFW Factory $12,300 17,134 Above UX-SLVR 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DFW Factory $11,800 17,228 Avg YZ-WHITE 4G A Yes
            02/16/16 DFW Factory $11,600 17,269 Avg RR-RED 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DFW Factory $12,500 17,282 Above Z9-BLUE 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DFW Factory $11,100 17,549 Avg UH-BLACK 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DFW Factory $11,100 17,634 Avg UX-SLVR 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DFW Factory $12,400 18,448 Above RR-RED 4G A Yes
            02/17/16 DFW Factory $12,300 19,006 Above J7-GREY 4G A Yes

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @28…

            You’ll have to excuse me because I don’t know exactly what that data means, but I’m assuming the prices below are what these are going for at auction, right?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You are correct, FreedMike. That’s your baseline for extra clean (<20K) and clean.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            28, I always see those numbers, and I wondered the same thing. I mean, I figured they were probably auction prices. But what do you mean by baseline?

            Negotiate up from that price? Because I’m sure they’re a lot costlier at retail.

            Thanks.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @TMA

            There are/were two mainstream wholesale metrics, MMR and Black Book (may be more now I dunno). Black Book was more popular but at a cost whereas MMR is free. There are deals to be had below these metrics but by and large one of these two metrics is used as a baseline (years back we literally bought localized Black Book pocket guides every week for $5). The idea is you the wholesaler need to know what “the block” is paying for the product you wish to buy or sell.

            The issue today is you as Joe Nobody do not have access to this information and thus you don’t really know what a used car is worth. You have KBB and NADA and generally speaking both are peddling fiction for the dealers. I am providing the actual data on vehicle transactions on a national level (unless stated otherwise). So if you were in the market for a Focus, this is what the block is paying. You probably are not going to get their price and you probably won’t understand all of the fees involved which you end up paying for (buyers/sellers fees, post or pre sale fees, title fees, house pack etc) but this should be your jumping off point. I don’t want to hand Carmax 4K, plus TTL, plus whatever else BS they want to charge, just for the privilege of being their sucker and nor should you. I’m a reasonable buyer but I refuse to hand over all kinds of margin due to ignorance of the industry I once served.

            So to finally answer your question, this is what the car is worth and your target price should be in the vicinity of what is posted. Don’t try to beat the house, but win some and then leave the table before getting greedy.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Ah, learned I have. Thanks!

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    I’ve had good luck using Costco’s car buying service. The only problem is that not many dealerships work with them, and you may have to go a good distance to get the car you want. I purchased a Ford Escape a few years ago and the transaction was very smooth. Costco must pay the dealers to not hassle their customers!

    • 0 avatar
      zip89105

      My friend bought a 2016 F250 last November via Costco’s buying service when Ford was having their X-plan sale. The Costco deal was $2000 under the X-plan price plus a $750 Costco cash card. She scored big-time. Of course she got stuck with the Oxford white color, but she’s happy with her 4×4 loaded Lariat 6.2 CC.

      • 0 avatar
        MrGrieves

        Yeah, if you are in the market for any major services or products, it pays to check Costco to see if they have any promotions going. We replaced our ancient HVAC system thru Costco and got a $1000 cash card, in addition to a discount on the installation. Some people think Costco has lousy customer service, but to those people I say, “Have you ever shopped at Sam’s?”

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      We bought our Honda through Costco. Might have been able to haggle a bit lower than their price, but wifey wanted a car TODAY! and I was fighting a hangover. Totally worth saving the hassle. The dealer didn’t have the exact car we wanted, but he was able to trade for one with another dealer in the area. Worked for me.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    I remember my folks buying a 2000 Grand Marquis GS in 2004, when I was still in undergrad after our beloved police interceptor Crown Vic was demolished by a drunk driver (I was the only one in the car, swerved across 3 lanes to hit me for a turn he was clearly going to miss at 70 miles an hour).

    The biggest dealers were just starting to advertise online around then and my mother was sure we could find a solid deal on a new car. A 4-year old Grand Marquis was about 10-12K depending on options at that point, our internet deal was 8500, out the door. We drove up to the biggest dealer in the region, he had what was effectively a mall parking lot for cars and was building a network of dealerships at a slightly smaller location just for overflow.

    We walked into the used dealership area with print out in hand, we pointed out what we wanted. Took it for a test drive. It was effectively identical, just dark interior instead of tan….We went in to talk numbers and immediately they started telling us it as a 10.5K car, we pointed to the documentation verifying it advertised at 8.5K and he went to his manager. Some debate later they came back with it at 9.5K, saying that price was wrongly put it in and should have been set at the new number. My mother pointed out that it was false advertising and she had the time and patience to sue them not just for the car but for the pain and suffering along with punitive damages. There was a tense momentary stand off of about 20 seconds before he acquiesced with the manager standing over her and my father standing up staring the manager down while I just stood back (not my fight in this case).

    When we filled out the paperwork just before they signed I caught they slipped 10.5K back onto the additional signature sheets and we had another tense standoff and threatened to call the local police while I held the paperwork for fraud arrests. By that point we were emotionally exhausted and got out of there signing on the dotted line for 8.5K and they threw in a free service package which we refused because we had our own mechanics and the sooner we left to never see those people again the better.

    I’ve NEVER had a great time buying cars except once when my folks went in and bought a car in an hour with no haggle because the salesman was a constable my mom knew through some friends so nobody was trying to cheat the other.

    My folks even respect leaving some meat on the bone, they’re not trying to squeeze a dealership when they go to buy. But just being an outright prick sets them off like no other. I’m more passive when I see that, I just walk out rather than dig my heels in, it isn’t work the high blood pressure.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      “My folks even respect leaving some meat on the bone, they’re not trying to squeeze a dealership when they go to buy.”

      Exactly. I don’t want the dealer to go out of business – they need to be there to service any future recalls should that happen. But I ain’t rolling over….

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        And you can always walk away if you don’t like a deal. Dealers hate that!

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          I’m actually a bit rueful because my xB is about a year away from being sold off and I’m going to start a new note. I’m thinking of atleast three different models so I won’t get caught in a bind if I can’t find what I want.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Very wise to start thinking about it now.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            It’s nice not having a car payment…I do not miss it but it also does nothing for my other debts (i’m in a governmental program, 10 years clears the remainder of student debt).

            I’m starting to seriously look at Ford Transit Connects because I have a trike that I like to take places and the xB is just too small in practical terms. :(

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m not knowledgeable on the Transit Connect but some of the folks around here certainly are fans.

            I think this is the program you’re referring to:

            https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service#qualifying-employment

            I’m not a tax advisor but I think when they cancel the debt they tax it as income but maybe not under this program.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Even if they did (I’m pretty sure they don’t) I’ll atmost pay a few extra grand that one year rather than keep giving them money hand over fist. My debt isn’t even that high but I purposely extended it to 25 years just to minimize payments knowing I would get the forgiveness.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Based on this I think you’re excluded.

            http://www.finaid.org/loans/forgivenesstaxability.phtml

            However said “bill” seems to run about 25% which is no joke for those in the hundred thousand club:

            “The O.M.B. assumed that 400,000 borrowers from 2012 through 2021, each with a beginning average loan balance of about $39,500, would each eventually receive loan forgiveness of about $41,000. Yes, you read that right. The forgiven debt will be more than the original balance, albeit many years later.

            At $41,000 of loan forgiveness, the federal tax bill could easily be over $10,000 depending on your tax bracket. There are also state income taxes to contend with, depending on where you live.”

            http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/15/your-money/for-student-borrowers-a-tax-time-bomb.html

            I seem to recall this being tied to the bankruptcy law of 2005 where forgiven debts are now considered income. ‘Murica, f**k yeah!

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Ouch, yeah, 28, I’m excluded. I’m in the government employee & educator distinction, I double up on that benefit. I’m going to have close to 100K forgiven because I purposely extended it so the interest rates act like a house. If I did it over 10 years and paid it all off I would pay off less than 100K total. But the payments are low, less than what I would pay for a new car.

            Why they would consider loan forgiveness a form of taxable income is beyond me but that’s why you can’t let neocons run things. They do these kinds of self-beneficial arguments then try to shoulder the argument onto everybody else. :(

  • avatar
    slap

    A local dealer Ourisman, pulls some of this crap on used car prices on the internet – internet price if you meet all of the qualifications (military, college grad, etc). And then they want to tack on a $995. reconditioning fee to that.

  • avatar
    azulR

    Somewhere back there was a comment about Toyota dealers being the worst, and it was a Toyota dealer that tried to pull this on us.

    We’d been off and on about getting a Venza and the last few were slowly disappearing from dealers lots. Her old Taurus started getting even worse and prompted by that we looked around and found a decent deal in the version and color she wanted at a dealer about 300 miles away. The closest dealer with an identical car was 100 miles away and eventually they did an almost price match. We had an agreed price via email, and I was careful to get an out-the door quote.

    So when we turn up they try to do the hard sell on protectants etc, which were easy to say no to, but the kicker was that they’d done a loJack install that they wanted us to pay the best part of a thousand dollars for. Eventually they ate the cost but only after it was very clear that we were not going to be treated like this and were heading home.

    I would strongly advice against any dealing with Roseville Toyota.

    I don’t like the Venza at all, but it’s not my car. What is noteworthy is that it’s heading to our local dealer soon for accumulated small faults, not what one would hope or expect in a new car.

  • avatar
    A09

    Referring to Bob in the story, I was in his same situation last November; but I prevented the bait and switch by specifically requesting the buyer’s order. Before giving the dealer my deposit, I requested the buyer’s order with my lienholder and loss payee information added with the transaction details. Having all of this completed before I arrived at the dealership saved me from all of the headaches. When I arrived at the dealer to take delivery, I had a cashier’s check in hand from my credit union for the full amount shown on the buyer’s order.

    Once my salesman sent me to the finance desk, I made it clear that I would not be written up for anything beyond the amount on the cashier’s check. After listening to his spiel on the service contracts for ten minutes, I was handed off to the title clerk and cashier to close the transaction. I was in and out in 40 minutes since I couldn’t be shaken down in the finance office.

    Using this approach resulted in the easiest vehicle transaction I ever had since buying cars new in 2002. It helped that I had no trade or dealer financing.

  • avatar
    countymountie

    Bought my 2014 Charger RT Max in Oklahoma City towards the end of the model year. The dealer had a great price and was pretty upfront about their pricing and add-ons. No dealer around Denver could touch it, especially since I didn’t want AWD which is the most common configuration around here. I arranged local financing and didn’t have a trade so it was a pretty straightforward deal. Flew in on an $80 airline ticket and a letter from the credit union.

    Because they’re a car dealer and it’s the internet, I had a local family member check the car out first and make sure there were no surprises. The only hassle was my failure to see the benefit of an extended warranty (the car has less than 7k on it after 18 months) which the sales manager assured me he was not making money on. I don’t think I would use the dealer for any other type of sale but mine was a pretty decent experience. I had a few hours of time invested but almost none of it inside the dealership which was a plus in my book.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It’s called the Otis trick, because Otis makes elevators and elevators go up.

    You don’t have to drive very far to experience it. It’s the oldest trick in the book. It has happened to me, such as when I bought my first new car: I (politely) declined all of the efforts made to extract more cash and eventually walked. The salesman ended up chasing me as I was walking off the lot, and I had deliberately parked my car off the lot with this possibility in mind. (I gave the guy time to catch up with me.)

    One of the keys of negotiating car sales is that you want the sales team to know as little about you as possible, and certainly nothing that indicates that there are reasons why you will capitulate. Any information that you do reveal should be subtly engineered to give you leverage; telling a car dealer that you have traveled a long way out of your way to visit him is not one of those facts.

    And you should be willing to walk, no matter what. If you have to eat the cost of the rental car and the time lost, then so be it. And ironically, if you are willing to eat those losses, you will be less likely to incur them.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      This.

      And, if you want a great deal, don’t be set on one car. Sit down and put together a list of what youn consider “equivalent” deals. Say an certain Accord fr $22K, and a Camry for $21K, A Mazda 6 for $22.5….. Even better if you are flexible wrt class of car; say between wagon, CUV, SUV and Crew Cab. And, don’t be set on the exact date of purchasing. Just keep your list, and loiter around dealerships and the internet until a deal you can’t pass up comes along.

      In addition, don’t be hung up on buying over leasing. Short, 24 MO leases, are where deals can be the most bizarre, if you manage to catch just the right shade of brown that noone wants and the dealer is sick of, at the exact time there is lease support from the captive, and yo don’t mind doing a Euro delivery etc…..

      In general, the more flexible you are, the more leverage you have. If all you care about is the best deal, and couldn’t care less on what, as long as it has 4 wheels and an engine, you’ll get a good deal.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Wow you guys have had some deplorable dealer experiences. The Chevy dealer I go to will find me exactly what I want, whether its on their lots or not, and offer me a good price without any BS.

  • avatar
    ganong

    I had a very good experience recently. I was in the market for a new Lexus GX (don’t get started about the grill,wanted a reliable BOF with old school interior design plus you can’t see the grill when you are sitting inside). None of the dealers in a 200 mile radius were willing to budge more than 2000 off MSRP and all had documentation fee of 500$. I expanded the net and a dealer from Dallas (950 miles from Tucson,AZ)sold me the exact color and options for 500 below invoice, 5000 off MSRP, no dealer added options and a doc fee of 123.00$.
    Everything was so transparent and in writing that I did not shop locally after the guy sent me the price in writing, just flew to Dallas with the check, picked the car and drove back.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    Personally, I just bypass the dealer model entirely. Part of the reason is the sharp depreciation of buying new, but a lot of it has to do with the hassle. My wife, on the other hand, prefers new.

    The recent experience that my new wife and I had choosing between her Outback Limited and a 4Runner this past December confirmed my distaste of this method of buying cars. We went through this process–going online and making appointments with four dealers.

    The first dealer never responded but we arrived anyways. I kind of knew why: my wife and I specified that we have our own financing. Bad idea, in retrospect. The sales (or finance?) manager met us after the test drive. Very shortly into the conversation, he insisted that our bank could not match their financing and wanted to pull a credit report to “see if we could do better than our bank”. Of course we said no, we secured financing through our bank–we just needed to pick her car.

    His rebuttal was the zero down. I explained again that we secured our own financing and we did not want a ding on my wife’s credit report for an inquiry to “find out for the heck of it”.

    We intentionally wanted to put towards a down payment of $6000 to shorten the term of the loan but didn’t give him the satisfaction of creating yet another argument against our decision.

    For some reason the interaction of this guy reminded me of an overly enthusiastic dental surgeon hyped up on laughing gas. Too hyper, too pushy. Apparently, I have forgotten how the sales process works. Saying no just adds fuel to the fire.

    We left.

    Working with the other three dealers was similar process. At that point it was working with a dealer that would endure our firm “no’s” to finance, addons, gizmos, accessory packages and extended warranties and would not hide potential discounts and savings or obscure them through technicalities seemingly made up on the spot. Easier said than done.

    Just one was a bit more graceful but not by much, so we went with them. I’m in shock that in all cases, the buying process was treacherous–after all, we were helping them clear out one unit of their 2015 inventory, a favor of sorts.

    In all cases, we had to endure the phony friendliness and their patronizing in an attempt to sympathize with their agenda.

    Yuck.

  • avatar

    Wow. I just bought a 2016 Spark from an out of state dealer. We agreed on the out-the-door price over the phone, I put $1000 down with a creditcard over the phone, told them I’d bring a cashiers check for the difference. Later that day I arrived, they got the check, I got the car, never a hint of any pricebump.

    In 2014 I bought a new Grand Caravan over the phone the same way, showed up with a check, no funny business. I’m surprised that’s not the case everywhere.

  • avatar

    There is still the classic red car with green interior trick. I saw and drove a few used loball cars I found on line at new car dealers. They do have a car for that price. They omit the clear front end damage or the amazing pong left by a 5 day a week commuter carpool of chain smokers. Now that you are here, would you like to look at……

    I’ve not had too many bad buying experiences. I don’t ever trade in, I know what I want before I go, do the basic research. I have gone with dealer financing and gone private, which ever is better.

    Cars.com is a great resource to learn price spreads of your specific model. Search cities around you as well. Luxury cars are definitely more expensive in the NYC metro area than, say, Albany or upstate. I specifically also didn’t want a car that lived in NYC….the streets are that bad. Carfax will also tell you how long the dealer has had that used car-that bit helped in negotiation. I confined my used car shopping to new car dealers, on the theory that anything dodgy went to auction so you were starting with a better chance.

    I’m sure my occupation keeps some of the more devious stuff from ever showing up. My last two F&I guys just sort of waved a white flag.

    A NYC Toyota dealer, from whom she’d just bought a red MR2, did try to pull my mom back in “to renegotiate the deal, or you’ll have to come back today with the keys”. Mom’s a commercial real estate maven. She said “sure, exactly where should I drop the car ?”. She didn’t get a call back.

    We loved Mom’s Baby Ferrari.

  • avatar
    smilespermile

    Just bought a 2016 Avalon Hybrid Limited. Did all kinds of price comparison within 300 miles. I had a soft spot for the local dealer and just asked that they match the price. You would have thought I was asking for a kidney. After the final price was negotiated, I informed them we were paying cash. “You mean you have your own financing?” No, I mean I’ll have a bank check for the price we just agreed on. The look on their faces was of utter disgust.
    My wife and I went home and took showers we felt so slimy.
    We told our salesman we didn’t even want to talk to the general manager about scotchgard and undercoating. He said it’s the law. When we went in, he already printed out all the decline forms so we signed and left. He asked if we had ever had a bad experience at a car dealership and was that why we wanted out so fast. I calmly explained that it’s you (dealerships) that have created this system of negotiation and nebulous pricing, so as a consumer I have to be willing and able to be a jerk otherwise we get taken advantage of. He then, with a straight face, explained how they only make a couple hundred per car and that with this sale they weren’t making anything. My wife and I literally laughed out loud and left.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I’m gonna miss our local slimeball car dealer…Clay Cooley Nissan only lasted about 9 months in Cincinnati…guess nobody in this market liked his pompadour hair and TX accent with the “shop me first, shop me last, either way, come see Clay” tagline. My parents tried to buy a new Rogue there, because they had dealt previously with the family that owned the place for decades, the Falhabers, and were so turned off by the tone of the place they went up the street to Jeff Wyler Honda and bought a CRV. So Cooley’s sliminess cost Nissan USA a sale too, and put some money in Honda’s pocket. Jeff Wyler took over from Cooley, so hopefully sanity will return to Colerain Avenue.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    What I don’t understand about the example given, is why would you travel more than across town without a set in stone signed deal already done? And for sure, at that point, if something was amiss, I would turn around and leave so fast their heads would spin, no matter how far I travelled.

    I bought my ’08 Saab Combi from a dealer two states away. The entire deal was done over the phone and via fax/e-mail. I walked in, looked at the car, went into the finance office to give them the check from my CU and was on my way home in about 30 minutes.

  • avatar
    readallover

    We walked after being told that the $299 doc fee was `state law`. I told him to prove it, he ran to his manager who said they did not have the time to do so, but `everybody` knows it is the law. They called for 3 solid weeks to tell us the manager was willing to take $100 off the fee. The salesman simply could not fathom we bought a car from somebody else. He stopped calling when I started laughing when he told me I must have paid too much and I needed to bring my new car and contract over to prove it. GM dealership (I should have known better at the start).

  • avatar
    redrum

    Around 10 years ago my sister got a below-invoice end-of-year price quote for a Volvo S60 from carsdirect.com. It was from a dealer about 40 miles away. She went down for a test drive (arranged through the site), decided she liked it, and told the salesman she wanted to go ahead and buy it. The salesman took one look at her carsdirect quote and said “Oh, that must be a mistake, there’s no way we could sell it that low!” and quoted her a price $1500 higher as the “best we can do” after talking with his manager. She actually believed him but walked away on principle. The next day she got in touch with her cardirect rep who confirmed the price was correct and proceeded to make all the sales arrangements for the quoted price (he thought she was just going down for a test drive and didn’t realize she wanted to buy it that day). She picked up her new car a couple days later with nary a word from the salesman or manager that tried to screw her over.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I live in N KY and am familiar with Cooley’s advertisements. I didn’t realize he was no longer in business, but that does not surprise me. My wife bought a new 2013 CRV from Wyler Florence and although it was not a terrible experience it was not one that was pleasant either. If we buy another Honda in the future we will go through the Cosco buying services. One of my least favorite dealers is Tom Gill who use to have an outstanding service department but now has a terrible one. Tom is another slick salesman with his son joining him in the family business.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    Your premise is that our carbuyer is too stupid to figure out and double check what incentives he qualifies for. So write about that, not driving to get a bargain. Because that’s not what your example was all about.

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    I would thing it’s generally better (unless there is a large price issue) to work with a local dealer and actually maintain a relationship. You’ve got several years of lease/ownership to go through, and in the long run, fair responsive service (available locally) is more valuable that a few hundred on the original purchase. When you need warranty work, you’re probably going to do better with a shop 20 minutes away, that sold you the car in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      Zoom

      I’ve heard this argument often…from people who work for dealers. Are you saying a service department will treat a customer worse because they purchased a car from somewhere else?

  • avatar
    oldowl

    Any dealer rating services worth checking, such as Dealer Rater? Some dealers have their own and will include a few negative comments. Just bait?

    We keep a car at least five years, pay cash via our own financing, and sell our old car to private parties rather than trade in. We can wait for, or order, the color, features, trim levels, etc., etc. that we want.

    We prefer dealing with somewhat local dealers (we live in a rural area about 70 miles from a major metro region).

    What strategy to employ to get exactly what we want at a reasonable price?

    • 0 avatar
      MrGrieves

      I don’t trust dealerrater one tiny bit – there are a few dealers that have nothing but hundreds of perfect reviews written in perfect English grammar… which is a major red flag. Dealerrater claims all their reviews are fully vetted from regular folks, which I absolutely do not believe. To quote the Admiral, it’s a trap. The site is a heavily disguised sales lead generator.

      Word of mouth seems to be the best forum. Ask your coworkers, especially people who have grown up in the area. You’d be surprised how much history some of these franchises have.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Sure, dealers figure out psychological ways to get the maximum dollars out of the most customers. This tactic is as old as dealerships and negotiable prices have existed.

    There are several strategies to avoid this sort of behaviour:

    1. Walk out of a deceptive dealership,
    2. Don’t get yourself into a situation where you need to buy a car today,
    3. Don’t be fooled by a particular “dealer special” that is usually a bait-and-switch, which is related to the next one:
    4. Know what car you want and the price you are willing to pay. Don’t let a dealer convince you otherwise, and finally,
    5. Talk in terms of out-the-door price, so that the dealer must figure out whether and how to accommodate you. Your only responsibility as a customer is to say Yes or No.

    I realise and understand that some pressing situations and limited budgets force people to buy a car with urgency, but in those cases one must simply be aware that dealers can and frequently will resort to these tactics. Knowledge is your friend. Get an agreement in very explicit writing if the dealer is far away.

  • avatar
    3XC

    Some perspective:

    My current profession is the law, I am an attorney.

    Prior to this, I was a collections agent.

    Prior to that, I was a car salesman. You could say I have experience working in fields that the general public finds distasteful. By leaps and bounds, the most deceptive, mendacious, reptilian co-workers I have ever had were in collections. Did you think I’d say automotive sales? They were the nastiest to their co-workers, and the least willing to mentor or assist new hires, but in terms of lying and deception, a distant second. In fact, of the many sales people who came and went, only one was a true hustler in the sense described in this article. The rest would take money from the gullible when it was thrown at them, but wouldn’t outright lie to customers.

    For the record, lawyers are honest to their clients. The perception of attorneys being crooked comes from the OTHER guys lawyer, who simply said and did what he needed to say and do in order to get the best possible outcome for his client. If your ex-wife had a better lawyer than you, my deepest sympathies.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I use to think that buying from a local dealership you would get better service but that is more of a myth today as is that when you are on a trip stop at the restaurants where you see more truckers. Truckers also take a lot of Tums. In today’s world the local dealership is more likely to be owned by a large dealer franchise or chain. Most of the service advisers and mechanics come and go from most dealerships. Better to go to an independent mechanic after your warranty runs out.

    I think the next new vehicle I get I will go through Cosco’s buying service.


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