Unfortunately for consumers, salesmen have an incentive to lie. Pressure from a manager may be forcing them to close deals or else, find a new job. Though there are countless professional and honest car salesmen out there, others may look you in the eye and lie for their personal gain. Some of these are “little white lies” that are just part of the sales game, but others are serious untruths that can have serious negative consequences for you as the buyer.
The next time you go shopping for a car, keep these factors in mind and watch out for the scams and half-truths you might hear on the lot. Here are seven lies to look out for when shopping for your next car:
#1: “Someone Else is Looking at the Car.”
Sometimes, rarely, it may actually be true. If it is, typically the salesperson isn’t trying to rush the sale. In fact, quite the opposite. They’ll tell you that the car isn’t currently available because someone has already put down a deposit or the like. You’d actually appreciate that honesty because it keeps you from wasting your time. But if the salesperson is pressuring you to BUY NOW because of this, take that with a grain of salt. If it is true, oh well. Another car will come along.
#2: “That Car Just Sold.”
The old bait-and-switch is still in effect, although usually more subtle. When you call about a listing, you’ll be assured the vehicle is still available. When you get to the dealership, you find out it was just sold. Instead, the salesperson has something much better for you. Unless it sounds plausible, consider it a bait-and-switch and decide if you want to move on.
#3: “This is the ONLY ONE within 500 miles!”
If you are shopping for a rare car or a really popular color combo and trim level, and inventory across the country is in fact scarce – this could be true. But it may also be BS to try to get you to buy THAT car TODAY. If you did your homework, like I preach, and searched inventory at multiple dealerships, you will know if that’s true or not.
If you didn’t do that research ahead of time, just say, “Really?” Then whip out your smartphone, pull up Autotrader.com or Cars.com and search within a 500 mile radius for cars with those specs and see for yourself. Maybe it’s petty, but enjoy the expression on the salesperson’s face when you show him the list of 10 other cars just like this one, available right down the street.
#4: “If I can do $XXX / month, will you buy it today?”
Asking this question and you answering it is a way to get you into a box. Most of the time, they can start the negotiating process on THEIR terms. However, they can’t get you that monthly payment. But when you actually find that out, you have been trapped at the dealership for hours and may say yes just because you are fed up! If they can get that monthly payment, it’s usually by trapping you in a 72-month loan and with a large down payment.
#5: “This deal is only good today.”
This is a famous sales tactic known in sales training circles as “the impending event”. The goal is to put pressure on the buyer to make a decision RIGHT NOW because circumstances will change or the product won’t be available later. Just like the lie about someone else looking at the car. The reason they use all of these high pressure sales tactics is because statistics show that if you leave the lot without buying a car, there is a less than 20% chance that you will come back and buy the car from them versus going to another dealership.
Unless it’s the last day of the month, this is usually a total lie. If the pricing is inclusive of incentives from the manufacturer, they may expire. Because of this, the dealer may not know if you can get the same price tomorrow because those incentives aren’t released, even to them, until the 1st of the month. But if it’s not the end of the month, there isn’t a reason that the price you were quoted will not apply tomorrow.
#6: “We’ll pay off your trade, no matter how much you owe!”
This is a frequent radio ad tactic that is used by dealerships to lure in car shoppers who are upside down on their current vehicles, but really need (or just want) a new car. While this statement is technically true, it is extremely misleading. The dealer will pay off the loan on your trade BUT you can’t take that to the bank. Instead, that negative equity will get rolled into the price of the new car.
Again, if you do your homework beforehand, you should know how much your car is worth versus how much you owe on it. That will either need to be covered in cash or rolled over into a new loan. Don’t let the dealer mislead you into thinking they can make the negative equity vanish into thin air.
#7: “We’ll Forgive Your Extra Miles If You Lease Another Car From Us.”
This is a complete lie. They may tell you this when you are first considering a lease to begin with. They also try this at the end of the lease to get you into a new lease instead of allowing you to consider all your options. Again, this is a flat out lie.
The dealership doesn’t own the vehicle or control the lease so they aren’t able to forgive anything. The dealer is either going to take your leased car in on trade and then, just like on a normal trade, roll the negative equity into your next lease or roll the mileage overage into your next vehicle. Either way, you’re paying for it.
You can avoid these scenarios by asking detailed questions, negotiating over the phone instead of at the dealership and getting everything in writing. In writing with the sale manager’s signature will make it legally binding.
So, once again – do your homework, and set the pace to suit you so you won’t fall for any high-pressure sales tactics.