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AutoBuyology 101©

An Arts & Sciences Crash Ph.D. Course in CarBuyology 101©
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"It is a peculiarity of our social, educational, and economic systems that citizens graduate from high schools, colleges, and graduate schools without any instruction in how to purchase or service an automobile without getting taken for a ride every time. The automobile is the most expensive product people will buy, own, and operate over a lifetime, yet we take little if any time or effort in educating ourselves, our loved ones, and others in protecting our economy, consumers, and the auto industry from the many costly tricks of the Great American Car Deal." - R. Rand Knox

Tricks of the Great American Car Deal

A Partial List (There Are Many More!
Many, Many More Car Deal Tricks Awaiting You --
As Close as Your Nearest
Friendly Factory "Authorized"
Automobile Dealer.
So, Come On Down...!

Cheating in car sales and service practices runs the gamut from the little white lies including willful and accidental misrepresentations or omission of disclosures, shades of shiny gray areas, and the darker tone of lies and deceit of out and out fraud and theft. CARveat Emptor!

"Finding Reverse in this Heap"

inCARhoots?: Suppressing or Buying the "Free Press:"
Newspaper editors and publishers have gotten the message - print consumer friendly car dealing stories -- lose advertising revenues big-time. Even "On Your Side" (On Your Back?) type of TV or radio consumer assistance programs step gingerly around new and used car deal problems and issues to avoid ruffling the fenders of auto industry advertisers. Are car dealers and manufacturers inCARhoots with newspaper editors and media publishers? Count the number and veracity and usefulness of auto consumer friendly stories in your daily newspaper for a year or two. Discount fluff stories used to fill up gaps between ads. And take note of whether the stories are from national news wire services of from editors or writers of your local papers.


    Donate a minimum $15.00 or more and we will email to you a 4 page .pdf
    file containing 19 classic deal tricks sellers often use to inflate automobile
    costs, and additional auto consumer resources.
    Not tax deductible
    No return. No refund.
    Give Good Karma

  • {As reported by "The Rep" by e-mail November 22, 1997},
    (1). The U.S DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION reported that: "40% of ALL auto repairs are unnecessary, equaling $40 billion annually" [Have you been serviced by your auto industry representative lately?]. And,

(2). THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ATTORNEY GENERAL'S AUTO REPAIR TASK FORCE reported that: "Good [sic] mechanics will sometimes push unnecessary car repair work because of the temptation to make additional money" [push?]. And,

(3). The CALIFORNIA BUREAU OF AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR reported that: "70% of automotive repair technicians tested cannot diagnose & repair late model vehicles 1980 & newer" [What's that 'competitive' hourly labor rate for anyway?]}

Damaging undamaged or serviceable parts and charging for replacement costs

Curb Stoning is selling cars from the side of the street by used or new car dealers or scam artists posing as a private sale. Often these curb stoned deals hide salvaged vehicles or are used to move laundered lemons. Curb stoned vehicle pedigrees are often unavailable or doctored. (Rolling back mileage or selling "salvaged" vehicles from the curbside posing as a private sale vs. dealer sale). It has been reported that as many as half of all vehicles advertised in the classified sections of newspapers include one or another form of curb stoning. CARveat Emptor. Obtain a title search and contact former owners for verification of repairs, condition and mileage of the vehicle.

Price Gouging and deal (customer) milking (in all its odious forms), mooolaa...

Unchecked "Profit Creep" in manufacturer's invoices

Selling Extended Warranty coverage overlapping the manufacturer's warranty period (not bad if you can get it?)

Selling Unneeded or Redundant Undercoating or rust-proofing at huge profit margins (deal or customer milking)

Adding Already Included "Regional Advertising" costs twice or more (double dipping)

Bait and Switch or lure low (low-balling) and hard sell up (yup, old trick still works like a charm...) "Trolling for suckers..."

Guilt Manipulation Making consumers feel responsible or guilty for dealer errors or omissions which should have been disclosed is a common dealer trick to get consumers out of their faces and off their lot. One method of guilt manipulation is referring to legitimate consumer complaints or concerns as "consumer remorse." Consumer remorse exists, but undisclosed defects and hidden damage repairs or false representations should never be confused with consumer remorse. Consumer remorse is a legitimate and natural response for having paid too much for personal transportation, or for having made a mistake in purchasing the wrong vehicle based on a 10 minute test drive or under the pressure of the hard-sell. Do not permit dealers to guilt-trip you into believing that the sham factor in car deals is consumer remorse. Do not be guilt tripped or "consumer remorsed" into accepting sham deal or service practices.

Creating the Illusion of Equality, friendliness, cooperation and openness in the sales room. Dealers take pride among themselves in industry trade journals in donating excessive profits to charities--$100,000 here and $100,000 there. One way of milking deals (er, consumers. Moooo!) apparently is to provide round tables (Recall how the Viet Cong demanded round tables at the Paris Peace Talks in late 1960s and early 1970s?) which psychologically represents , equality, togetherness and non-confrontation. Tell the dealer you appreciate his or her charity, but that you would like to make a personal gift to your preferred charity instead of laundering it through the auto industry. Deduct your charitable gift from the car deal, and spare the dealer this added hassle.

Light, airy and open sales areas (ambience?) are also a way of exerting subtle "public" pressure on consumers to settle early or for too much or to not be confrontational. Dealers consult expensive consultants (value priced of course) to provide the sights, sounds and smells that are known to work best on the majority of consumers in milking excessive profits so they can boast about how much money (taken from consumers,-- take a deep bow America) they donate to community charities for the corporate benefits of tax deductions.

Avoid paying too much for car deals, leases and service and begin bragging about how much money you really saved on your car deal, and give to a charity of your choice, rather than to a charity of the dealer's choice. Beware the well constructed and contrived illusion of cooperation manufactured by dealers to lull consumers into paying too much or taking their eyes of the car deal ball: the best value for the lowest price.

Lease Buy-out or Payoff Packing Inflating the lease payoff price. Ford Motors is being investigated by 22 states for this customer service trick.

Some additional thinking about dealing for automobiles and car dealing:

Car Deal Coping Tricks (Don't Have A CAR, Man! and Save $450,000 on merely average auto ownership and operation costs over a lifetime) (Also See Tricks for Dealing With The Dealer)

Dealing for a car is a confrontational contact sport. Work out and get in shape for the ordeal. Get used to it, and sharpen your car dealing skills. Low-ball the hell out of the dealer, like dealers do to consumers on trade-ins, and like they highball consumers on new and used car sales and lease prices. Dealers typically inflate the prices of new and used cars 30% or more, so consumers should consider shifting the dealer's ding factor into reverse and low-balling initial offers by an equivalent amount or more. Give the dealer the square table treatment. Or better yet, find an acceptable alternative to the private automobile for personal transportation, and laugh all the way to the laughing bank.

Another way of feigning legitimacy or credibility in the auto industry is for newspapers which derive a substantive amount of advertising revenues from automobile industry advertisements and auto classifieds ads, to publish a list of "Top 10 Reasons" to buy from local dealerships or factory authorized dealers.

    One such recent listing in the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner Classifieds stated that, 'Dealers must comply with all federal, state and local laws, as well as with all standards established by the vehicle manufacturer. If dealers fail to so so, they put their significant investment at risk.'
    Under ideal situations, perhaps! However, consumers should check out Time Magazine, July 25, 1995, and Dealer Business, November 1995, where industry insiders blame the manufacturers in Detroit for sleazy sales and service practices by dealers, (we wish we were making this up) essentially acknowledging and excusing legal and illegal sales and serve rip-offs. Competition causes cheating is the message these attitudes communicate to the industry and the public. The industry is acknowledging that it is not capable or willing to regulate or police itself in its own interest or in the interest of the public health and welfare. When it comes to paying the overhead, many dealers have shown a willingness to shave the truth, skirt the laws (where they exist at all) and ding customers. And, all too often, because of tenacious industry lobbying, the laws regulating the auto industry are soft and favor the industry over the consumer. Who owns the marketplace?
    We have received several messages from people reporting that they have been leased vehicles they intended to buy, without being told they were actually being "sold" leased vehicles. Time and again the manufacturers offered no assistance with questionable dealer sales practices, telling customers that it was a dealer issue and the manufacturer could do nothing about the matter. Legal? Perhaps, until a new federal law goes into effect in October (oh, what's the hurry) regarding lease deal disclosures, but this anti-consumer behavior and the many other legal and illegal tricks of the Great American Car Deal flies in the face of another one of the "Top 10 Reasons", which stated that, 'Dealers are committed to the community, employing skilled professionals, generating tax revenues and participating in civic, cultural and charitable activities. They value relationships with customers and a variety of businesses to build your trust and your loyalty.'
    Selling lease agreements disguised as sales agreements (just one of hundreds of car deal tricks) which has occurred and continues to happen around the country hardly seems to reflect commitments to legitimate consumer service values. (The argument that we must cheat you to stay in business to serve you is wholly incredible) Neither does the hundreds of other car deal and service tricks which are employed by this industry to rip-off consumers.
    Its nice however, to hear that the industry is donating some of its tax deductible profits to charitable causes., although actual figures are never stated. Having overcharged consumers, this would seem to be the least the industry might do -- to take advantage of the charitable tax deduction. However, consumers (many individuals and families) could put this money to equally or better personal, social and environmental uses and causes had they not paid for over-priced products and services or otherwise been taken advantage of through the use of unfair, manipulative and fraudulent sales and service practices.
    No doubt there are good and professional people at work in the auto industry. We suggest that this is as good a reason as any for cleaning up and degreasing the auto sales and service industry, including the auto-body subdivision. Invite the auto industry to get behind the Fair Car Sales and Service Practices Act legislation at state and federal levels.
    The first item on the above noted "Top 10 Reasons"... included Pricing; stating that, 'New car dealers buy direct from the manufacturers. This eliminates the mark-up you often get from middlemen.' Huh? Dealers are middlemen. They prevent consumers from buying directly from the manufacturers. In some cases dealers actually buy directly from a manufacturer's regional distributor, rather than directly from the manufacturer, too. So be careful to be critical of objective advertising in local or regional they are often industry and profit driven.
  • Automobile Industrial Complex: inCARhoots...?
    If the auto dealer or manufacturer does not get you, the bank or loan agent just may. CBS's 60 Minutes (January 12, 1997) reported that TrustMark Bank of Mississippi lost a jury case in which it as charged that the bank took out expensive replacement loan repayment insurance polices on vehicle deals, some of which the customers had fallen on hard times and let the original loan repayment lapse, but who eventually paid off the loan, and in one case reportedly the customer had not let the loan repayment insurance lapse at all, but the Bank was reported to have repossessed the vehicle and sold it anyway, and the bank purchased the expensive replacement loan repayment insurance which it billed the customer for anyway. In this case, which the Bank says it did nothing wrong or illegal, it was reported that the bank purchased premium insurance coverage upon deals which some customers had let their loan replacement insurance lapse. It was reported that the band failed to even alert the consumers that they had purchased the replacement loan repayment insurance until after the original loan had been paid off, in which case the cost of the replacement repayment insurance totaled more than the original cost of the vehicle.

    Customers should consider not purchasing loan replacement insurance. This is typically a dealer or loan agent add-on. If the bank or loan agency requires a loan repayment policy, consider obtaining a loan from another bank or lender that does not inflate the costs of auto deals and loans with unnecessary and inflationary loan repayment polices. After all, the lien holder holds the right to repossess the vehicle and resell it if the loan is defaulted. In many cases the loan repayment insurance is excessively expensive with inflationary (something for nothing) premium costs.
    • Etc., Ad nauseaum

    Unless you prefer sour citrus, avoid buying lemons.

    (March 2001)
    Chrysler is reported to be under review for laundering lemons through its dealers without proper disclosures. It rebought 50,000 Chrysler Lemons (not a popular model, we understand) last year. These lemons find themselves at dealer auctions and often do not come with the courtesy model of a notice that the vehicles were taken back from original consumers because they could not be repaired under the lemon law statutes. CARveat Emptor...

    (July 2001) Going Down that Road:
    Do not trade in your used or old car when buying or leasing another one. But if you do, check your state's contract or car deal recision law to find out how long the dealer has to cancel the deal and demand the car back and under what circumstances. Imagine trading your car in, driving off, only to find out days or weeks later that the dealer wants the car back and has already sold your trade-in? Don't trade in used or old cars--sell them yourself in a private sale. You'll be miles ahead.

    Got Pumped? (October 1998) Just when the free (to plunder) marketeers thought it was safe to buy gas or breathe the air, its reported that gas station owners were arrested for installing "smart" computer chips in their "smart" fuel pumps which record accurate pricing for $5.00 and $10.00 worth of gas, coincidentally the same quantities at which "Weights and Measures" officials test gas pump accuracy. The "smart" gas pump gimmick chips permits gas station owners to gouge consumers up to 25% more than the price which is reflected on the pump dollar value gauge for amounts of purchase other than $5.00 and $10.00.

    So the moral of the story is, get your government representatives to make the gasoline industry stop its price gouging schemes and stop gas station owners from rigging their pumps to cheat customers, or pay inflated auto related costs. Democratic control over the marketplace merely represents a free society's self-esteem and sovereignty. There is nothing in the Constitution (yet!) which permits profiting by cheating and ripping off our friends and families.

    Then be absolutely sure that you are not paying more than the posted dollar per gallon. Pump $5.00 or $10.00 amounts of gasoline at a time. Pump gasoline in $5.00 or $10.00 increments to make absolutely you are not being pumped for fill-ups. Then go inside and pay too much for a cup of coffee, and tell yourself what a bargain the free market is...

    (October 1998) Just when you thought it was safe to let your children breathe the air, EPA discloses that diesel truck motor manufacturers used "rigged" testing equipment which showed the engines meeting EPS pollution emission standards at tested RPMs, yet in actual use, the engines are dumping excessive carcinogenic particulate matter into the air to the tune of millions of tons every year. Oh, and by the way, lung and respiratory diseases and problems are on the increase due to air pollution. Your government has struck a deal with the engine manufacturers and trucking industry which permits continued fouling of our air, to the consternation of environmental protection activists. Earth to trucking industry, "the environment and clean air are good for business, don't foul it up." Poisoning your consumers is not good for business.

    • System Selling is perhaps the dealer's biggest and most profitable weapon in the not so Great American Car Deal Sales War -- er., bag of car deal tricks. If consumers can master the dealer's "System Selling" tricks then they empower themselves in the tricks of the deal and are on their way to mastering the dealer and the big automobile deal. Don't buy, and don't let your friends, family, neighbors and enemies buy another automobile before studying the dealer's "System Selling" tricks that dealers school themselves in and reward themselves for in milking customers in the Great American Car Deal.

      Check out (at your library? or book store.) "Guerrilla Selling," by Jay Conrad Levison. Selling has become jungle warfare between industries and dealers with consumers caught in the cross-hairs of their cross-fire. Learn about what dealers and sellers know about consumer habits and general sales tricks to help avoid becoming a causality in the guerrilla sales battle, for your economic health. Shift "Guerrilla Selling" into reverse and become a Guerrilla Consumer ©-- ding the dealer and the manufacturer on every deal.
    • What You Are Getting Into / What You Are Up Against / Basic Training for Salespeople and Marketeers: The following is a course description from the Business & Management/Marketing Section of the UC Berkeley Extension Course Catalog (Not that all auto sales staff are college graduates, however they may apply general sales "closing" techniques which can include sophisticated psychological manipulation or tricks against customers to milk deals):

    "Consumer Buying Behavior"

    x461.7 (2 semester units in Business Administration) [Consumer manipulation?]

    Knowledge about the consumer is the necessary foundation for developing and implementing a successful marketing plan. Skillful investigation of consumer behavior enables you to see consumers through a microscope, improving your understanding of everything that affects their behavior [Remember the old days when consumers were human beings to be respected rather than objects to be plumbed and exploited for fun and profit...]

    This course covers theories and methods for analyzing consumer behavior as the basis for developing a marketing plan. You examine both internal factors (beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, emotions) and external factors (class, peer groups, family structure [family values?] , culture). Through lecture and discussion, the instructor identifies theories about the significance of factors influencing consumer buying behaviors. In case studies, you use theories as a basis for developing and applying marketing strategies.

    See similar courses variously titled under: Psychology of Buying, etc., at your local University or College Extension Programs.

    Are you considering buying or leasing a VW or other new or used car? Be Very Wary! It has been reported about industry insiders that they have said that due to an overly competitivized marketplace, profiting in automobile sales is extremely difficult without the "hard-sell." (Well, that explains it?) Some dealers excuse (when not denying it, apparently) unfair and manipulative sales and service practices on an overly competitive marketplace, placing blame on the manufacturers for saturating the marketplace with dealers and car retailers.

    • Value Priced? For whom? Auto manufacturers using value pricing schemes are posting record profits. Don't buy it. Negotiate value priced deals too. Merely calculate a fair mfr. and dlr. profit and make your offer and walk until the dealer talks. Try not to get sucked into paying too much, even on so called value priced vehicle. The consumer's value priced vehicle is one priced somewhere between what the dealer and manufacturer want for it and what it actually costs to make and ship. Don't pay too much.

    Even experienced car buyers may not be aware they are being taken or have been taken for the classic car deal ride or have been or are being dinged on tricky new car sales and lease deals. (Which brings up the existential question, have you been cheated if you don't know it, or if you don't care? What's the sound of a car dealer cheating another customer? Kaching, kaching!). Although there are reasonable and honest dealers and service shops in the marketplace (well OK, maybe), there are potentially many "tricks of the trade" awaiting experienced and novice new and used car buyers,-- enough so that consumers are well advised to be Very Wary of costly unfair, manipulative and fraudulent car sales and service practices when making purchasing decisions, regardless of how honest, friendly or fair the dealer or sales person appears to be. Even otherwise potentially honest people make mistakes or miss important details or facts, especially when dinner and a new pair of Guccis are in the balance sheet. Trust is a major factor in consumer purchases, especially expensive purchases such as car deals or leases. There is no proof-positive way of identifying the trustworthy from the untrustworthy or potentially unscrupulous dealer or salesperson (generally they look human, dress well, and smile warmly, friendly and nicely) in car sales and service except by risky and potentially expensive trial and error. Many new car buyers have discovered after the purchase (the sale?) that they have misplaced their trust. However, consumers may increase their chances of avoiding sour car deals and product quality problems by understanding some of the tricks of the trade, dynamics of the deal, and learning how to select personal transportation within personal budgets, calculate and budget the full cost of vehicle ownership, and negotiate price confidently and effectively.

    • Negotiate the dealer's and manufacturer's profit on all deals, because there is no guarantee that even if you pay more that the vehicle will not end up being an expensive and frustrating lemon, or that hidden and undisclosed damages, defects or repairs will not show up after a few months of ownership before the shine and the "happy sticker" wears off. And even if the dealer promises the customer service moon, there is no enforceable guarantee that if a consumer pays more that the dealer will live up to pre-sale service or other promises. The following is a partial list of some car deal tricks to be aware of and to avoid if possible (at all costs):

    "No bumper rating sticker on new vehicles...? No deal...!!!" (2.5 miles per hour bumper ratings, you call that a bumper? This you can thank President Reagan for, as it was under his administration that federal bumper strength rating were reduced from 5 mph to 2.5 mph). Hell no, no bumper, no deal! (Pick-ups and some sport utility vehicles are often sold yet without bumpers at all and are not required to have one by law, although they likely will be presented for test driving fitted with bumpers. Dealers often remember the high profit margin bumper "options" at the last minute just before placing a pile of deal transaction forms in front of the customer for signature. Is this mis-representation or just the industry's idea of customer service? What are bumpers for anyway? Cheap bumpers are a way for manufacturers to pass excessive costs downhill to consumers. A little extra in bumper protection would save consumers from higher insurance premiums and deductible expenditures for major damage caused by minor impacts. Ding, ding, ding...Remember, bumpers should only protect the vehicle from excessive damage in minor impacts, a killing crash is usually at a very low rate of speed of 35 mph or so and higher. So what is a 2.5 mph rated bumper going to protect? Ding the dealer and the manufacturer on price, quality and value, before they ding you on price, quality and value! Negotiating the dealer's profit is only a small fraction of the total car deal profit picture.

    Negotiate the manufacturer's profit on all new car deals first, then negotiate the dealer's profit. Remember that the dealer is merely an expensive inconvenience--a middleman in the car sales scheme.

    Consider these guerrilla car consumer tricks on your next or future car deal:

    • Learn all you can about the dealer's "System Selling" techniques (Remar Sutton's, "You Don't Have To Get Taken Every Time You Buy A Car"), and shift these deal manipulative techniques into reverse to back up the consumer role as service provider to the dealer in new car purchase and lease deals
    • Avoid buying new models first model year out - wait for design flaws and production problems to be found and worked out before wasting your money on another new car mistake
    • Negotiate the dealer's profit on all new car deals (ding the dealer) including value priced and no-dicker deals
    • Negotiate the manufacturer's profit too on all new car deals (ding the manufacturer) including (especially) value priced and no-dicker deals -- firm up your offer and walk until the dealer talks -- no ifs, and, or buts, make your offer, leave your phone number and W.A.L.K.
    • Charge a consumer's profit on all purchases (negotiate a lower price). If it takes five hours or five weeks to haggle a price, charge the dealer for the value of your time.
    • Obtain dealer and manufacturer personnel personal and business credit disclosures before dealing (name, bank references, credit histories, favorite charities and amounts given, home phone and address, driver's license, make, model and year of car, etc. Leverage the deal -- get this information as a prerequisite to dealing
    • Avoid time limited deals - any good deal should not be hurried unreasonably (beware of the CARveat behind advertised 0% down, 0% interest deals -- you can often do better by shopping and negotiating price between several dealers and lending institutions). Any time a salesperson says, OK--if you buy today, beat--feet & walk or sprout wings and fly and don't go back. You can back out of most deals even after signing a contract if you have not taken possession of the vehicle, which usually means driving it off the dealer's lot. Check you state statutes for specific laws in your area
    • Avoid advertisement motivated deals (Dealer's agenda vs. consumer's agenda) Buy or lease on your terms when you decide its time for you to do so -- under no circumstances permit the industry to dictate the timing or pricing of the deal -- this is the consumer's job.
    • Avoid being sold on any deal. Question and be skeptical of all sales representations and advertising. (The truth can be used to lead consumer to focus on frivolous deal or product factors and away from the more important consumer concerns of a deal or product.) Request and obtain documentation of all sales representations (IN WRITING!). Carry a voice activated recorder for back-up if possible.
    • Obtain a copy of the vehicle delivery, test drive and vehicle use log from the dealer before buying or leasing any new car. Obtain the name, address and phone number of the trucking company that transported the vehicle from the factory to the distributor and from the distributor to the dealer. Beware of trades between dealers as new vehicles with undisclosed defects or hidden damage repairs may be laundered purposefully or unwittingly from dealer to dealer by design or accident or mistake. Incompetence in this industry costs consumers untold millions in inflated costs. Vehicles on a transport truck or on a dealers lot may become a target for a disgruntled customer or random vandalism or merely be damaged by flying rock of debris on the road. Some vehicles have been damaged in transit by acid rain (See BMW ordered to pay consumers millions for repainting and selling without disclosures vehicles damaged by acid rain). Look for paint chips from pebbles flicked up by passing vehicles from nearly drive and roadways.
    • Obtain a copy of the transport report/receipt from the trucking company that shipped the car to the dealer from the manufacturer or distributor before buying. Just get it! Did the transport company damage and repair the vehicle in transit? Was the "ding doctor" called in to suck out, buff up and detail the dents?
    • Have new cars inspected by an independent auto body repair shop and mechanic prior to buying. (Charge the fees for this back to the dealer. Its not your fault that you cannot trust that the new or used vehicle has not been damaged or repaired with full disclosures). Remember, BMW is fighting a four million dollar court judgment for repainting damaged new cars without disclosures. If Sears and BMW dinged their customers without disclosures, then who hasn't or doesn't?
    • Remember, while everyone talks a great game of conservative and family values, when it comes to the Great American Car Deal, many are too happy to pass their problems off on someone else for a profit if possible, or certainly at the least amount of loss. CARveat Emptor!
    • Obtain or estimate and deduct manufacturer "value-subtracted" costs such as advertising, liability litigation for negligence or poor design, congressional lobbying and political contributions, excessive executive salaries, golden parachutes and pensions, etc., from your final offer. Between 3% and 5% or more is a good guesstimate. Ding, ding, ding.
    • Do not provide free advertising for the dealership. Remove the dealer's monogrammed license plate mount frames or negotiate for a generic set of plate frames as part of the deal. Unless the dealer pays you to drive around with his or her name and phone number on the front and back of your car, you are providing a free service to the dealer at your expense -- you are paying for the dealer's monogrammed license plate frames. Set the proper assertive consumer demeanor and demand payment for the service of advertising or have the plate frame removed and replaced with generic or no message frames. It is especially important to remove the large plate-sized dealer advertising cards placed inside the plate frames until the real license plates arrive, often weeks or months later, unless you receive proper remuneration for your advertising service. Consider not paying for the dealer's advertising license plate cards too. Consider charging the manufacturer an advertising free for buying any new car early in its release year as new cars on the road serve as an advertising service to the manufacturer and the dealer.
    • Determine your deal risk or dealer ding-dong factor. This is your charge to the dealer and manufacturer for putting up with the risk and rigmarole of dealing for something as common as personal transportation. Deduct your ding-dong dealer factor from your final offer too. Imposing a cost to the dealer and manufacturer for the uncertainty of dealing for automobiles, if economic theory holds true, should result in a better dealing atmosphere, (but don't leave a down payment on this).
    • Consider lowering your insurance deductible for the first six months to a year of car ownership for undisclosed defects or hidden damages which the dealer or manufacturer may not honor under warranty after sale, especially on negotiated profit deals. Your insurance should not and may not pay for dealer responsible defects, however proving responsibility once the vehicle is off the dealer's lot is difficult and time and money consuming -- dealers are banking on it. Shop around for best insurance values too.
    • Check carefully for razor blade thin clear-coat scratches which may have been caused on the dealer's lot by vandals of disgruntled consumers evening up a sour deal, or manufacturing defects. Check the top of vans for rust holes caused by rocks tossed or kicked-up from nearby streets or sidewalks. Check vehicles carefully for hidden damage, defects or repairs. Very carefully. It is not unheard of that car dealer detailers have gotten grease stains on carpets or seats when fluffing up a disheveled "new" car.
    • Negotiate a thirty, sixty or ninety+ day return clause in your purchase or lease agreement, or obtain a similar vehicle from the dealer or manufacturer for a thirty day trial period prior to making a final purchase decision. This might include a one month rental fee, which could be applied to the purchase of the vehicle if you end up buying it after living with it for a month. A fifteen minute test drive in the presence of commission-biased dealership sales staff is not realistic for making such an important and spendy consumer decision. (So this is customer service?) Don't keep repeating this stupid mistake that dealers and manufacturers are only too happy to help you make. An alternative may be to rent the vehicle for a week or two to thirty days and receive a credit for the rental fee if you purchase the car from the dealer. Negotiate this service carefully.
    • Consider not signing dealer delivery checklists, and unless you accept (dummies do!) a deal without warranty, avoid signing "AS-IS" statements that may be purposefully or "mistakenly" placed among the other many deal transaction forms, even for new vehicles. Dealer delivery checklists may not accurately reflect the true condition of the vehicle, and signing it may make having undisclosed dealer or manufacturer responsible predelivery defects, damages or repairs addressed by the dealer or manufacturer after the sale more difficult.
    • Compare total car ownership and operating costs. If this information is not available from the dealer and manufacturer, get it from the American Automobile Association (AAA) or other auto club. For instance, AAA reported that at 20,000 miles per year the 1992 Ford Escorts cost $5680 per year, 1991 Ford Taurus's cost $6780 per year, and 1991 Chevrolet Caprices cost on average $7500 per year to purchase, own and operate (ON AVERAGE! Your experience may vary!). Multiply these figures over the expected duration of ownership for an estimate of your total costs of car ownership and operation. Hell, multiply this over your lifetime! Is it worth it? Negotiating fairer dealer and manufacturer profits will reduce the overall total cost of car ownership. These savings you can put to better personal, family or social uses. Keep in mind that manufacturers employ engineers whose responsibility is to squeeze suppliers to milk as much profit as possible out of its products. Squeeze back.
    • Consider that a lifetime of car costs could rise to over $550,000 for an average priced vehicle driven 20,000 miles a year. Imagine the great public transit system we could have if a small fraction of all the money we all spend on private automobiles, gas and road building and maintenance was used instead to plan and build efficient and reliable public transportation and frequent and timely high speed inter-city train service...its not too late to get started down the right road, er...track! Gasoline is not a forever proposition, and prices will go up dramatically as the world's supply diminishes. Plan for the big change now to avoid the impacts of the big crunch.
    • If the facts support your position, consider taking your claim to the court of public opinion, if all else fails. Creative and well done signs on vehicles (or windows) will help others become aware of your problem with a dealer, manufacturer or vehicle. Consider sharing your car deal experience (good or bad) with your fellow commuters by letting them know what to avoid in their next car deal with a particular product or dealer.
    • Learn about the dealers' SYSTEM SELLING techniques and adapt these strategies in giving the dealer the dealer's treatment. Throw the dealer's System Selling techniques into reverse and use these techniques to make the dealer and manufacture value your consumership -- the value of your business as a consumer. And imagine a future car deal when the dealer is intimidated by consumers on car deals, like most consumers now are intimidated by dealers. Pleasant though, eh? Make 'em tremble in their shoes, but watch for undisclosed defects and hidden damage repairs on new car purchase and lease deals, especially negotiated dealer and manufacturer profit deals. System Selling is one of the dealer's biggest car deal tricks. Master this and you're free to master all of the other tricks of the trade. CARveat Emptor!
    • When leasing (not advised unless you know what you're doing and what you-re getting into) your next new car, be careful to have the dealer quote in writing (have it notarized) the rate of interest or the lease rate you are paying on the lease and specify in writing the credit for any trade in or rebates and other negotiated deal credits. Many states do not require such disclosures which are required on direct loans, and dealers have been ripping off customers on credits for trade-ins and rebates or other negotiated credits. Two thousand or more auto consumers in Florida reported being leased vehicles they though they were and intended to purchase outright. Hum, must be more of that good old customer service the automobile industry brags about in its advertising. Dealers have been stealing commissions of 3% to 10% or more than the highly inflated MSRP on many vehicles because of slippery lease agreement forms and non-disclosures of important consumer information. CARveat Emptor.
    • Dealers typically inflate new and used car prices 30%, expecting to settle for 15%-25%. The savvy guerrilla consumer shifts the dealer's tricks into reverse and puts the peddle to the mettle. Its a consumers marketplace, so wield the power. Give the dealer the dealer's treatment, in reverse. Where the dealer would highball the consumer, consumers should low-ball the hell out of the dealer. If the dealer is highballing by 30%, consumers should low-ball by %60 or more and negotiate up to your price. Remember car buying is a job, not a popularity contest. You are not there to make the dealer happy or to be the dealer's friend. The dealer's job is to rip you off. The consumer's job is to rip the dealer off. The winner gets the Darwin Survival Award. Everything of value is negotiable.

    Caution: Do not be emboldened or lulled into a false sense of security about going out to buy a car merely because you are aware of some of the tricks of the car deal. Car dealers know all the tricks of the trade and consumers are no match for dealers who have practiced their crafty ways seven days a week for decades. Dealers are all to willing to assist you with your next new or used car deal or lease mistake. CARveat Emptor! Beware, well constructed and manipulated truth is another trick dealers use to bamboozle consumers on produce quality, price and value. Obtain information from several sources before making expensive car deal or lease decisions.

    Guerrilla car consumers:
    (1) don't buy cars,
    but if they do, they
    (2) target and practice on a few dealers before settling in for the kill, er., closing the trunk, er,. deal,
    (3) do their homework,
    (4) never pay a dime more than any vehicle is really worth,
    (5) milk dealers of unincluded extras,
    (6) do not permit dealers to steal fuel or other items between test drive and drive off,
    (7) share car deal tricks with all their friends, family and associates,
    (8) practice their walking and flying skills, & go carless to save real money over a lifetime,
    (9) negotiate (ding) the manufacturer profit on all car deals including no-haggle or value priced deals,
    (10) obtain copies of all deal paperwork and materials and read them away from the dealership, and have them reviewed by an attorney prior to signing
    (11) negotiate a better manufacturer warranty
    (12) negotiate a better "lemon law" manufacturer take back clause
    (14) obtain from the dealer all credit and businesses information which is requested by the dealer of the consumer.
    (15) etc.

    Headlines of the future:
    'Car consumers post record profitsavings, car dealers
    and manufactures benefit from trickle up effect.'

    AutoBuyology ©
    CARveat Emptor - CAR BUYER BEWARE©
    Tricks of the Great American Car Deal©
    © Copyright 1995-2012, R. Rand Knox. All Rights Reserved.
    Not for use, reuse, sale, resale, or fee , in whole or part,
    without written release, license, or permit from R. Rand Knox.
    Safe-Car-Deal-Sex © Copyright June 1996-2010, R. Rand Knox,
    © CARveat Emptor, All Rights Reserved.
    Happy wheeling and dealing,
    -- virtually and really...


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