When going to a dealership, there’s a lot on your mind. First and foremost, it’s what type of car you want to buy — sedan, crossover, SUV, truck, compact, hatchback, etc. There’s a lot to choose from, and I get that it’s exciting. But, that’s not what you should be focusing on. You should be focusing on how the transaction is going to go down, and what you can do to help yourself when it comes to getting a better deal on the price of the car and accompanying loan payments.
What can really help you? Learning about some lesser-known information in advance, which can then be used to your advantage while at the car dealership.
Verbal Contracts are Unenforceable — Get it in Writing
With a car dealership, unless the deal is in writing, it isn’t enforceable. This means that whatever the salesman told you on Friday afternoon about picking up those free floor mats next Monday doesn’t have to be honored. You could get there, and the salesman might have forgotten to let the manager know. Or, the dealership could just be trying to trick you into buying unnecessary add-ons.
Trust me, the floor mats are the best case scenario for that equation. Imagine if that happened with something like a warranty? The point is, unless it’s in writing, assume it’s not going to be honored.
Don’t Ever Pay Cash for a Deposit!
In the same vein of leaving yourself a paper trail, never, EVER, pay cash for a deposit on the car. Why? Because, there’s no paper trail. If they take a deposit on a vehicle then sell it to someone else before you make it back, then you might never see that money again.
Demanding it back could require a much more costly and complicated legal process than just showing a credit charge, which is a lot easier to dispute and proves you gave the dealer a deposit for a vehicle.
Learn About Fees the Dealership Charges for an Accurate Offer
The MSRP stands for Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. You might have honed in on the word “suggested,” which is the right thing to do. Why do you think the industry only ever uses the acronym? Because it’s a suggested price, not a fixed one. Which means you can haggle to get the price you want – most of the time.
The best way to do this is learn about the fees and charges that a dealership has on the vehicle. These can typically be done away with, and help save you some money. That’s why it’s always suggested to start at the true market value price of a vehicle, then haggle up.
As long as you aren’t low-balling them on an offer, you’d surprised how quickly they’ll seal the deal if it looks like you know your stuff.
There’s No Need for Them to Copy your Driver’s License
Finally, there is no need for them to copy your driver’s license or social security number. They might say they need it for test drive purposes — which they do — but they also might run a credit check on you, potentially damaging your credit, and getting more information about you than you might like.
A way around this? Simply bring in copies of your driver’s license, and put on it that they’re not allowed to run a credit check. That will stop them dead in their tracks, and prevent your credit from getting damaged. While the intention of the dealership might be honest, it can still lead to negative results in the end.
These are some of the more lesser known tidbits of information from the automotive world. Combine these with common sense and the other tips you’ve learned online or from experience, and you’re on your way to grabbing a new car effortlessly and at a great price.