Top 5 Dealer Scams You Must Watch Out For
Buying a new car? Or maybe you need a part replaced. Most people, especially before the advent of internet, would go directly to their neighborhood car dealership to get this deed done. Most of them, however, go home with or without realizing that they have just been ripped off. These days, you should be smart enough to know that some dealer representatives turn to some dirty tactics to earn some extra cash, at the customer’s expense. So to guide you, here are the top 5 dealer scams that you must watch out for:
- Dealer Preparation Fees. How can it make sense to have your dealer charge you a “preparation fee” to prepare your car? You’d be surprised how some dealers charge as much as $500 or more, when all they would really do is to peel off the plastic cover on your car, conduct (a mandatory) test drive, and install some fuses. There are even some dealers that print this additional fee on the order slip to make it look more official. Truth is, most of these costs have already been considered by the manufacturer in determining the car price, so guess what, you’re simply paying double. What you can do is politely ask about its details, tell them you know it’s not mandatory, and ask them to add a credit equal to the price of the fee. If they refuse, you’d be better of walking out of the dealership. But something tells me they’ll hang on to you even before you reach the door.
- Market Adjustment Fees. Here, the dealer will tell you that your selected vehicle is so popular, that they would have to add some fees (which can reach a ridiculous amount of a thousand dollars). They would even include an orange sticker next to the manufacturer’s MSRP sticker to make it look formal. Logically, even if a car is popular, if it is in stock, no one should pay extra just to have it. Manufacturers adjust their production based on the demand for certain models, so this shouldn’t be a problem. So the next time you encounter this, don’t give in, and make sure to pay only the exact amount specified in your manufacturer’s MSRP.
- Yo-yo Financing Scheme. Some dealers will scam you through a generous offer that not only will they arrange your financing for you, but you can also take home your car immediately. Of course, any customer would be pleased to walk in and walk out with a new car, only to receive a call from the dealer the next day, informing them that there have been problems with the financing application. They will then urge you to set-up a new application still directly through them, and that it would be your most convenient option, but wait: it will also be a “bit” more expensive. Never fall for this con! This will just make you pay more and the dealers earn more than they should. If you finance your car through a dealer, don’t give them the upper hand. You should make the extra effort to arrange your own financing. Also, wait at least 24 hours before taking your purchased car, to make sure that the financing issues are all settled.
- Window Etching Fees. This scam is not only ridiculous, it can also manifest in many variations. Put simply, it is when the dealers would offer to do something for you for “minimal” charges. In this case, they would offer to etch your VIN number to your car’s window, and charge you somewhere from $300 to a $1,000. Some people would think they are smart enough by negotiating the price for this ludicrous service. But even with a smaller fee, the dealer still gets to pocket some of your bucks. Again, the solution is to not be lazy: you can easily buy a D-I-Y window etching kit from a reliable auto parts store. It will definitely cost you much less, with equal quality.
- Extended Warranty. This is probably one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it’s amazing how many people still fall for it. In this scam, the dealer will leave you no choice but to purchase an extended warranty because according to them “the bank requires it for the loan”. Of course, this is not true. And usually, if you tell them to put on paper that they are asking you to purchase the warranty because it’s required, they would refuse because it would expose their dirty deed. Don’t get me wrong, extended warranties can have its benefits, but frankly, you are better off getting it from other sources. There are many better deals online for such things, and you wouldn’t need to pay money you’re not supposed to. \
So you see, if you are smart enough, you would easily be able to save money by avoiding any of these con-moves. These tips also extends when you are buying parts on authorized dealers. It’s incredible how much they blow up prices, when the truth is, you can get the exact same parts from other sources at much lower prices. These days, the bes