Straight Talk: Dealer Tricks (video)

Straight Talk: Dealer Tricks (video)


Matt Tinsley (Account Manager): This is another in Integrity’s series of Straight Talk videos to help customers become smarter and better-informed buyers. Today we discuss tricks and techniques that car dealers use to manipulate you. We want you to be able to recognize these tricks and have some idea of how to deal with them.

Preston Miller (Integrity Auto Service General Manager): Sometimes it’s embarrassing to say I work in the car business. Car dealers have such a bad reputation, and many have earned it. At Integrity we are building a portfolio of customers, not just selling cars, so we focus on customer service and helping customers. But other dealers see the world differently – they just want to book a sale and move on. It is dog eat dog and Buyer Beware.

Jeremy Willhite (Senior Sales Manager): Car dealers use a lot of tricks, too many to squeeze into a video short enough that you will want to watch it start to finish. But we’ll try.

Matt: You’ve seen the TV ads, the ones that promise something that seems too good to be true and then has all that fine print at the bottom that is too small to read and not on the screen long enough to read anyway. That is a come on, bait and switch designed to get you to come to the store hopeful that they might really have good deals.

Preston: Good luck with that. Don’t be fooled. If it seems too good to be true it is almost always too good to be true. They just want to get you to show up so they can work their sales voodoo on you.

Matt: The advertised super low monthly payment is almost always for their cheapest, most stripped-down model and only people with the very best credit will qualify for the low interest rate it takes to get a payment that low. Plus, the note term might extend out for 84 months. To put that in perspective, 7 years is how long it will take a 5 grader to graduate from high school.

Jeremy: Another trick is to say that an offer is about to expire so act now. More typically offers are refreshed the next day or month so they are still available to you. This is different from how we operate at Integrity. Yes, we have sales that run for specific times, but the urgency isn’t the sale price but that the vehicle you want will still be available and not sold to someone else. We are always going to work to get you our best deal, regardless of the time of the month.

Cody Miller (Inventory Manager): Another come-on is to promise a super low down payment. If it sounds too good to be true it probably isn’t true. There was a dealer who promised 99 cents down. Every once in a while someone might have qualified. The normal person would have to pay a lot more down. The goal was to get you to come to their store.

Jeremy: Once they have you in the store, they want to exercise power and control over you. They aren’t there to help you. It is almost wicked. They use techniques to manipulate your emotions and decision-making to get you to decide to buy, even if it isn’t a good deal for you.

Cody: One way they manipulate you is by making it seem like the salesperson is working for you, frequently going to a manager to see if they can do something for you. That is sales gamesmanship designed to make you believe the salesperson is working in your best interest. It is a deliberate power play that works against you. Make no mistake, the salesperson is working for the dealership, not you.

Jeremy: At Integrity we don’t do that. I’m a manager and I’m going to deal directly with you. I’m not going to hide in some office and play games. We are going to get right down to business and see what we can do to help you get what you need.

Cody: My job isn’t to sell you or play games. I am an Inventory Specialist. I am involved with choosing the vehicles we offer for sale, sometimes buying vehicles at auction, monitoring the reconditioning, and making sure vehicles are ready for sale. My job is to be smart about the inventory we have, inventory that other dealers have, and which vehicle models are the most mechanically reliable. I show you the recon we have performed on vehicles you like, including their CARFAX reports, and things like that. Buying a vehicle is a big deal. You want to be smart and informed. It is my job to help. I don’t get a commission, I am not pushy, and I can sleep at night knowing I am doing the right thing.

Jeremy: All that back and forth at other dealerships is frustrating and a waste of time. We don’t want to waste your time with a bunch of drama.

Matt: One of the worst things that car dealers do is “spot delivery”. It is horrible. Spot delivery is when they let you take the car home, leaving your car as a trade-in, but they haven’t really gotten you approved for financing. This leads to all kinds of problems, one being that they call you a week or two later and tell you to bring the car back because they can’t get it financed, you didn’t really buy it, and you can’t keep it.

Cody: It is embarrassing to drive a vehicle home, show it off to friends and family, drive it for a couple of weeks and then learn you can’t keep it. How do you explain that to your kids or parents or friends.

Matt: We have seen cases where the dealer even wanted to charge the customer for mileage put on the car while they thought it was a done deal. Not only do you have to bring the car back, but they want you to pay them a bunch of money for using the car while they were taking their time not getting you financed.

Preston: In the most abusive cases the dealer has already sold your trade-in, so they don’t have it to give back to you. Really, what the hell? Then what are you supposed to do?

Matt: At Integrity we are different and better. We provide the financing. We are the bank. When we say you are approved you are approved. Done deal.

Cody: There are even worse abuses. Some car dealers in Oklahoma City have a history of selling vehicles that have previously been in major accidents, including rollovers. They have the vehicles repaired, maybe at an out-of-state facility, and then sell the vehicles without disclosing that they have been previously wrecked.

Preston: Another trick is to buy used vehicles that previously were sold in Canada. There are a couple of issues. First, the Canadian system for reporting car accidents to CARFAX and similar services is behind the United States, so it is more likely an accident hasn’t been reported on a vehicle that used to be in Canada.

Cody: Another issue is that it gets a lot colder in Canada and the more extreme cold is hard on vehicles. Oil and lubricants don’t work as well or as quickly in Frozen Butt, Canada as they do in Oklahoma. It gets cold here, but it really gets cold up there. It has gotten as cold as 60 to 70 degrees below zero in a lot of parts of Canada. That is like 100 degrees below freezing. Imagine an engine that is being asked to start cold in that kind of temperature. The oil doesn’t work as well, the engine suffers extra wear and tear, and the engine won’t last as long.

Preston: The dealer trick is that they can buy Canadian vehicles cheaper, because there is greater risk, but then they sell them for the same price as if they bought them here.

Jeremy: But what does the dealer care? They just want to sell you the vehicle and then it is your worry, not theirs.

Matt: At Integrity we are different. We provide the financing, so your worries down the road are our worries.

Preston: Another trick is so-called lifetime, bumper to bumper warranties. If it sounds too good to be true it is probably too good to be true. We’ve looked at some other dealers’ warranty documents. There are “gotcha” clauses that give them excuses to deny coverage. The warranties turn out to be false promises.

Cody: At Integrity our Heartland Service Plan is licensed by the State of Oklahoma. It is a real deal, not some false promise. Our mission is to treat you how we would want to be treated.

Preston: All of the tricks that car dealers use show they don’t respect you as a person or a customer. We know dealers who are openly disdainful of customers. You are just a pocket for them to pick.

Jeremy: At Integrity we believe in the Golden Rule, to treat others as we would want to be treated. We respect you and want to help you. We don’t play games or try to trick you. We do what we say we will do.

Matt: We hope this information has been helpful to enable you to recognize and avoid tricks that car dealers use. If you are in the market, or if you just want information, even if it is a CARFAX report on a vehicle at another lot, come see us. It is our job to help you and hopefully you will want to join our family of customers.

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