For many aspiring car owners, dealerships are the fastest way of owning a set of wheels. Although the process seems easy from the customer’s point of view, there are actually a few secrets to the trade that you may want to know about. Before you begin your transaction, here are four truths that you should know about purchasing a car from a dealer, compiled by Philkotse.com.
1. Not all dealers can be trusted
With so many dealerships out there, you run the risk of being cheated and fooled in a variety of ways. Marketing and friendly demeanor aside, remember that dealers are still sellers and not every seller can be trusted – especially if you only happened to be introduced to their sales agents via the internet.
Before you agree with the agent’s offer, you may want to cross-check your preferred vehicle, especially its price and the included freebies offered by competing dealerships.
Ask the dealer if they have an official website, or at least an online page dedicated to reviews of the product, as well as aftersales customer assistance. If the dealer doesn’t have a website or any other online presence, it could be a bad sign since you won’t be able to check customer feedback regarding their service.
Remember that a dealer is still a seller, and not every seller can be trusted
>>> Read more: 8 problems with dealerships that car buyers should be aware of.
2. Low prices don’t always mean good deals
If you got hooked by a vehicle’s unusually low price tag, think twice. It may be a problematic model that’s impossible (or very costly) to fix, and the dealership may be just keen on cutting their losses by disposing of it at fire-sale prices.
An unusually low sticker price could indicate a problem that the dealer is not willing to fix
If you happen to spot an unbelievable deal online, you need to be cautious about the offer. Third-party e-commerce sites can’t ensure that every listing on their site is honest, and you may need to filter these offers on your own, to see which ones are legitimate.
If you spot an unbelievable deal on an online site, restrain yourself from jumping on it right away
If you decide that the offer is quite tempting and you have a gut feeling that it may be on the level, you can arrange a meeting with the dealership representative. Here is a checklist of the things you need to take into account when meeting up with a dealer and inspecting a car:
- Meet at a public place or the actual dealership. If the dealer doesn’t have a website, you can still consider the offer provided that you meet with him either at a public place like a plaza or at their physical retail space.
- Make a visual inspection of the car’s exterior. Once you meet up with the agent or sales rep, you can check out the vehicle right after exchanging greetings. Take a look underneath the car first to make sure that there’s nothing dripping. If you see liquid pooling into a puddle from below, use a stick or a similar object to take a sample of the liquid and put it into clearer view.
Do not touch the liquid directly with your fingers; there’s no way of knowing whether it is hot or corrosive, either of which can seriously injure you. If the liquid is black, green or red, this could be coming from the engine compartment and may require a considerable amount to fix. If the liquid is clear, it’s likely water from the airconditioning.
Inspect the body of the vehicle, watching out for dents, unnecessary creases
- Inspect the body of the vehicle, watching out for dents, unnecessary creases or uneven colors; these could be signs of the dealer attempting to salvage the vehicle from a major accident and then selling it.
- Check the tires. After you inspect the body of the vehicle, make sure you also inspect the tires. Scrutinize every tire for signs of cracks, bulges, cuts, punctures or abnormal damage that was not disclosed by the seller. If you do find damage, you can either freely walk away from the offeror negotiate a lower price.
>>> Also read:
- Buying tips: 6 things you need to know about the dealer's invoice.
- How to do a used car check like a real dealer.
3. Know about other fees
The dealer’s fee, also known as documentation fee, is a type of hidden charge that may or may not be disclosed to you at the beginning. Usually non-negotiable, the fee goes into processing the sales contract and other miscellaneous documents as part of the transaction.
Other types of fees that you may be charged with are local fees including taxes, registration fees, and other mandatory charges. These fees are non-negotiable and are absolutely necessary. Many of these fees are already integrated into the car’s sticker price, which enables dealers to offer perks such as free registration and free one-year auto insurance.
The dealer’s fee is a hidden charge that goes into processing the sales documents
>>> Check out: Car buying tips & tricks to avoid hidden fees from dealers.
4. Dealerships often have promos
Just like any other product on the market, dealership vehicles can also be sold at discounted prices provided that you’re lucky (or informed) enough! Some say that the best time to visit a dealership to buy a car is around holidays like Christmas or New Year when dealerships drop prices in an effort to clear old stock and make way for new inventory.
Another tip to spot discounts and promotional gimmicks is by following your chosen dealership branch on their social media accounts; make sure you follow a legitimate page, especially if it’s updated with persuasive advertisements to get more clients.
You may also want to keep your eye out for flyers and banners that can help you in your search for discounts from your preferred dealership.
If you’re lucky, you might chance upon great deals from your preferred dealer