1. Buying a New Car: Introduction
  2. Buying a New Car: Signs It's Time to Buy
  3. Buying a New Car: Getting Started
  4. Buying a New Car: The 5 Best Safety Options
  5. Buying a New Car: Smart Strategies at the Dealership
  6. Buying a New Car: 5 Common Mistakes
  7. Buying a New Car: Sneaky Tricks Car Salespeople Pull
  8. Buying a New Car: Financing Your Purchase
  9. Buying a New Car: How to Spot a Great Car Deal
  10. Buying a New Car: Websites, Tools and Apps to Use
  11. Buying a New Car: How to Maintain a Car's Value
  12. Buying a New Car: Top 10 Takeaways

In addition to mistakes, buyers can also be sitting ducks for the slippery sales tactics and games car salespeople are notorious for playing. In case you run into a seller who fits that cliché, arm yourself with knowledge about some of the common games you may encounter:

Charging Extra for Standard Features

In some cases, salespeople will charge you for features that come standard in a vehicle. Many car buyers have been charged extra for things such as floor mats and head rests. Some salespeople will put these charges on the bill of sale and not mention them to the customer. For this reason, you should always read the sales documents carefully and scrutinize the fine print. Also check online to see which items already come with your model and shouldn't be extra costs.

Low-balling the Trade-in Value of Your Current Car

To begin, a salesperson will offer you an extremely low value for the current car you own. As you continue talking and negotiating, the salesperson will gradually, albeit slowly, raise the amount he’ll offer you for your used car. As this happens, you feel that you are winning the negotiation and getting more money for your car.

But the salesman started with such a low offer that you’re still getting ripped off. You walk away pleased that you got $4,000 for your used car, when really you should have gotten $7,500 for it. For this reason, you should sell your current car yourself, privately, then use the money for your new car.

Focusing on Monthly Payments, Not the Actual Price

You’re not paying $40,000 for this car. You’re paying $400 a month for it. This is how car salespeople want you to think. Don’t think about whether you can afford $40,000. Just think about whether you can afford $400 a month.

This psychological tactic is surprisingly effective. What it leaves you not paying attention to is the length of the payment plan, the interest rate you’ll be charged, and how much money you’ll actually have spent once the car is paid off.

Yo-Yo Financing

This is a trick where the car salesman tells you that the financing on the car you’re buying has been approved, or is about to be approved, and lets you leave the dealership with the car you’ve bought. A few days later, they call and tell you that the financing you thought was in place has fallen through; you now have to finance the vehicle purchase from another lender that charges much higher interest rates.

Protect yourself by having a car loan in place – or be pre-approved for a car loan – before you go to a dealership. At the very least, never leave a dealership with the car until you have actually signed the papers and have the loan in hand.

Taking Your Credit Card

The salesperson asks you, upfront, for a credit card. He or she takes your credit card to the back office and does not return with it.

They hold your card throughout the entire negotiation. You feel that you need to make a deal to get it back. You feel like hostage, and that is exactly the point. Just remember, you can refuse to hand over your credit card

The Bottom Line 

Not all salespeople are the same. If lucky, you’ll come across an honest and ethical car dealership that treats its customers with respect. That said, it is in your own interest to understand the tricks and games that salespeople can play so that you don't pay more than you should for a new vehicle.

Be sure to know what you want, how much money you can afford to spend, and stand your ground. Also, read over the details of a purchase or lease agreement carefully, taking the time you need to understand it. 

Buying a New Car: Financing Your Purchase
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