15 Car Dealership Sales Tactics You Should Be Wary Of


Walking into a car dealership is like stepping into a tank with sharks—eager salespeople immediately hound you with phony smiles and overly formal handshakes. Your excitement about buying a new car is quickly buried in different sales tactics stemming from selfish intentions to make you spend more. Here are 15 sales tricks you should look out for at car dealerships.

The Pushy Salesperson

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When you set foot on the dealership lot, salespeople often surround you. The imposed pressure and urgency can be overwhelming. Without space to think or explore independently, every step seems directed towards making an immediate deal, dampening your initial excitement and turning it into discomfort and pressure.

The Hidden Fees

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Car dealerships are notorious for adding fees that significantly raise the overall cost of the vehicle. Documentation fees and unnecessary add-ons often hide in the contract’s fine print. Salespeople typically downplay these extra costs, portraying them as standard or mandatory, which can result in an unexpectedly high final bill.

The Extended Warranty Pressure

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Extended warranties are often aggressively promoted, with dealers highlighting potential future problems that could arise without additional coverage. By emphasizing the risks and costs associated with possible vehicle repairs, dealers seek to exploit your fears and upsell other products and services.

The Trade-In Lowball

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Dealers often undervalue trade-in vehicles by highlighting minor flaws or unfavorable market conditions. They do this to shortchange and manipulate customers into thinking the dealership offers are more generous than they are.

The “Limited Time” Offer

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Limited-time offers often instill a false sense of urgency, with sales teams suggesting that these deals are on the verge of expiration. Falling for such urgency can result in premature decisions, leaving little room for thorough consideration of all available options. Consequently, customers may experience regret after committing to a purchase without thoroughly evaluating the benefits and drawbacks.

The Credit Score Guilt Trip


Sales personnel may exploit concerns about credit scores by implying that your options are limited due to lower scores, which might necessitate accepting higher interest rates. Highlighting these limitations amplifies feelings of embarrassment and anxiety, subtly coercing you into agreeing to unfavorable financial terms.

The Add-On Overload


Have you ever felt pressured to accept additional features like rustproofing, paint protection, and fabric guard as essential? This pressure can make it challenging to refuse without feeling negligent. Extras often deemed indispensable by dealerships lead to a significant increase in the final cost—frequently without providing proportional value.

Use of Jargons


Complex jargon is frequently used by dealerships to detail financing terms, complicating the comprehension of actual costs. An example of this is emphasizing monthly payments over the total price of the vehicle, which shifts focus away from the overall interest accumulating over the life of the loan. Understanding these terms is essential to avoid agreements that could severely impact your financial stability over time.

The Test Drive Distraction


Test drives are most people’s favorite part of buying a car, as they’re an opportunity to take it out for a spin. But be careful. What should be a critical evaluation can easily turn into a leisurely chat. During these drives, a casual conversation initiated by the dealer might divert your attention from assessing the vehicle’s performance and identifying any issues.

The “Special Financing” Gimmick

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The truth is that salespeople are looking out for the business and their commission, not you. Regarding “special financing” offers, what’s presented as an exceptional deal often comes entangled with stringent qualifications or hidden drawbacks. Initially appealing, these deals can lead to disappointment and frustration once the full terms are revealed.

The Overly Long Negotiations

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Deliberately drawn-out negotiation sessions aim to tire customers, making them more susceptible to agreeing to less favorable terms. Fatigue becomes a psychological tool to weaken negotiating positions.

The “Manager Approval” Delay

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Often employed under the guise of securing a great deal for you, requiring a manager’s approval to finalize a transaction can introduce unnecessary delays. Employing such delays is particularly manipulative when the dealership is offering unfavorable terms. By making it seem as though they are going the extra mile to get approval for an exceptional offer, they aim to wear down your patience.

The “One-Price” Deception

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A “one-price” policy is often marketed as a straightforward, no-haggle pricing approach that simplifies buying. While it promotes transparency and ease, the reality can be quite different. Hidden beneath this facade of simplicity are often additional fees and optional extras that significantly inflate the final cost.

The “Old Model” Push


To clear the old batch of vehicles from the lot, it often involves positioning these older models as incredible bargains that strategically steer you away from newer, potentially better-suited vehicles. While this might initially seem financially advantageous, aggressive marketing primarily serves the dealership’s goal of inventory management.

The “Next Buyer” Threat


Brandishing the interest of other potential buyers in the exact vehicle is a common trick to accelerate your decision-making process. Dealers tap into the fear of missing out by suggesting that you might lose out on the deal if you delay, thereby exerting psychological pressure.


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