When you go to the car dealership, you’re probably just looking to get a fair deal on a vehicle that you need. For you, this is a utilitarian transaction.
But the car dealership likely views it as something far different, as they are only focused on making that sale. This is something that sales people do every single day, so they are vastly more prepared for it than any of the customers who walk in the door. As a result, they will play numerous games to try to make an unfair sale or even to manipulate their customers. Let’s look at a few examples of how this could work.
The pressure of time
In some cases, the dealer will try to invent a false sense of urgency. They may tell you that you can only get this price if you do it right now. They’re just trying to rush you into taking a deal that may not be a good one for you, but they don’t want you to take the time to actually think about it and weigh your options.
Covering up issues
In some cases, dealerships will even try to cover up issues that the vehicle may have. For example, if a dealership simply gets a new paint job to cover up the rust on a used vehicle, the vehicle may look to be in far better condition than it actually is. Other issues that sometimes get covered up include flood damage, frame damage, and even smoke or fire damage.
The bait and switch
Finally, some dealerships will do a bait and switch, which is where they advertise something that they’re not actually going to sell you. For instance, the advertised price might only be for the very lowest model of the vehicle, which the dealer doesn’t even have on the lot. They are simply hoping that the low price will get you through the door and they can then upsell you on a similar vehicle that costs more.
If you believe you’ve been taken advantage of by an auto dealer, be sure you know what legal options you have.