Car salespeople aren’t necessarily evil, but they’re the only people who can prevent you from getting the best price for your next car. It’s a good idea to keep these four car dealer traps in mind the next time you decide to go car shopping. Doing so might save you the gut-wrenching regret of being screwed over and forced to overpay for your new vehicle.
Dealer Trick #1: Negotiating on Monthly Payments
When the salesperson starts talking about monthly payments, watch out.
Clever salespeople want you to focus only on low monthly payments because it gives them room to inflate other variables, such as the loan interest and length. This increases the dealer’s profit — while you spend thousands more on the car overall.
Some dealers pull out what’s called a four-square chart, which is confusing as hell. A former car salesman unveiled on The Consumerist how that shell game is played: You’re put on the defensive and worn down with tricky math, while the salesperson appears to knock down prices.
Counter Strategy: Don’t even discuss monthly payments. Tell the salesperson you can talk financing later, but first want to know their best price.
Pay for the car in cash or get your own financing if you can, but don’t reveal how you’re going to pay until after you’ve negotiated down the total car price. (Dealers may be less likely to negotiate if they know they can’t profit from your financing.)