How I Ripped Off Your Mother Buying a Car
This is a true story of my mother getting slaughtered at the meat processing center — a car dealership. This is her car buying experience.
She woke up refreshed. She could hear the birds chirping in the background. The sun was gleaming through the white colored curtains. It was 7:15 am. As she rolled over onto her back, her feet gently slid over to the side of the bed. She could feel her soft slippers beneath her feet. As she slid on her slippers, she smelt the coffee brewing. Ah! The aroma of fresh brewed coffee.
After a brief shower, she walks down the hallway eager for a cup of coffee. She stops by the front door to pick up the newspaper. As she walks down the hall, she pulls the newspaper out of the plastic bag. She notices an advertisement from ACME Automotive — “Huge Sale. Every Car Must be Sold Today. We will take any trade-in vehicle no matter the condition”. Your mom thinks for a moment. Nah! I don’t need a new car. It would be nice to get rid of the 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS with 19,445 miles. She pauses. Thinks again. A big smile appears. Yeah, I’m going to purchase a new car today.
Car Buying Experience
A few hours later, she drove to ACME Automotive with the advertisement in hand.
Now I’m going to change the tense and make believe I am the car salesman
I see your mother approaching.
I hear from the sales manager “up” — a term used to signify a potential customer. So I gracefully approach your mother.
Hello, I’m Tom. How can I help you?
I saw this ad in today’s newspaper “Huge Sale. Every Car Must be Sold Today. We will take any trade-in vehicle no matter the condition”. I have a car I would like to trade in.
Really. I’m sorry. I didn’t catch your name?
Its a pleasure to meet you Marci.
How much can I get for my car?
I’m not sure. We will have to let the used car manager checkout the vehicles condition. What kind of car are you interested in buying?
I saw this ad in the paper — 2017 Chevy Malibu for $19,999
Please come over to my desk and sit down. I will provide you with the best car buying experience you will have ever have.
I walked her to my desk. She sits down.
As the conversation unfolds, your mother tells me a lot about her personal life. I will use it against her during the negotiations.
The Bait and Switch
So Marci, I just checked our inventory for Stock #1234. We must have sold that car last night — actually we had one car, but that sold a month ago. Its a marketing technique that dealerships employ to get foot traffic into the dealership
Can you tell me what price range you had in mind?
I can find you a car for $20,000.
Yes. Let me see what I have in stock.
We have a 2016 Chevy Malibu that I can sell to you for the same price. Would you like to drive it?
Is it the same car?
Yes it is. Its a Chevy Malibu just like the one you were interested in.
Out the door we go…
A Big Mistake Sharing Information
During the test drive, I learn that your mother is going to pay cash for the car, her credit score is 720, and she lives alone.
We return from the test drive. She likes the car. I write out the offer. And here is what I say to your mom:
Marci, you said you wanted to purchase a new Chevy Malibu. You also said you wanted to pay $20,000 for the new car. Am I correct in what you told me?
I will present your offer to my manager to get his approval. Do you mind waiting?
O.K. I will be back.
Ready for the Games
Now we start playing games. I let your mom sit at my desk for 30 minutes. I go into the break room and surf the internet for a half hour. My timer goes off. I walk back to your mom and inform her that I can’t sell her the car for $20,000. Its below our dealer cost.
It is? How much can you sell me that car for?
How much are you willing to pay for it?
I’m not sure.
Make me an offer. I will take it to my sales manager.
Your mom thinks for a few minutes… I sit there patiently. I don’t say a word.
Your mom says she will pay $20,500
I rewrite the offer and tell your mom I will present it to the sales manager. I will be right back.
This time I go to the service department for a smoke while your mother sits at my desk.
I return 20 minutes later with a counter offer. My sales manager informs me that he can approve $21,000. Marci, its really a great deal. If you agree to $21,000, I can throw in a FREE Oil Change — little does she know, they are FREE for the first 2 years — complementary service for 24 months or 24,000 miles, but your mother doesn’t know this.
Marci, what do you say?
Well, you seem like a nice guy. OK. I will buy the car.
Thank you Marci, you will love the car.
I walk back into the sales managers office. SOLD. Little did she know the manufacturer had a rebate of $4000 on that car since it was a carry over model.
I write up the contract with TTT (tax, tag, title), plus the $999 documentation fee. The fee is actually $395. As I am writing up the purchase agreement, I let your mom continue to sit at my desk alone. Now she has been in the dealership for 3 hours, including the test drive. I have your mom fill out a credit application. She informs me that she is going to write a check for the full purchase amount. I tell her, No problem. I still need you to fill out the application. And she completes it. I know exactly what I am going to do.
The sales manager approaches Marci. Hello Marci, I’m Steve. I am the Sales Manager of ACME Automotive. Here is my business card. If you need anything, please give me a call.
I am not done stealing your mothers money yet
I sell her on a 3 maintenance plan. The car already comes standard with a 2 year plan. She takes the bait for $1295. I ask her if she needs accessories for the car. She politely declines. I ask her if she needs floor mats? She says yes, hesitates, then offers a rebuttal.
Doesn’t the car comes standard with floor mats?
Marci, no they don’t. I can ask my sales manager if I can get you a discount. Would you please excuse me?
I get up. Walk over to the parts department and ask the parts manager how much are floor mats for the Chevy Malibu. He informs me $199. I add 25% to the price of the floor mats ($199) to show a selling price of $249. The contract will show $249 minus 25%. Your mother will pay full price for the floor mats. No discount.
Marci, my manager said he would approve a 25% discount. Do you want them?
Yes, I will take them
I walk your mom over to the finance managers office where I let her sit for another 20 minute. I walk back outside for a smoke. I return then sit down next to her. I finally offer her a bottle of water. I ask her if she has any questions. We talk about your family — how proud she is of her kids and grandchildren. I even pat her hand a few times, like I care — how pathetic. I don’t care about her or any of your family members.
I return back to the finance manager offers where your mother is patiently waiting. I show her the purchase agreement with the selling price of floor mats, minus the 25% discount. She is very pleased and smiles.
The Shark of All Sharks
The finance manager walks into the office — all smiles.
Your mom is alone with the worst shark of them all. The finance manager would steal from his own mother. And guess what? He is going to steal from yours too.
Hello Marci. How are you doing today?
I’m doing great. Tom is a nice man.
Yes he is. He is our number #1 salesman. I know you have been in our showroom for a long time. Please accept my apology (I couldn’t really give a shit how long you’ve been here). Lets try to get you out of here as soon as possible.
Let me go through the paper work with you. Here is the agreed price for the 2016 Chevy Malibu $21,500, $1995 maintenance contract, $199 floor mats, plus documentation fee $995, plus tax, tag, title. By the way, how long do you typically keep your car?
Well, a long time.
I Smell Blood
Marci, if you keep your car for a long time, I suggest you purchase an extended warranty. Here are the options available, plan A, plan B, and plan C. If you keep your car for more than 3 years, the current warranty is only good for 3 years, I recommend you purchase plan C for $2995. Its a bumper-to-bumper warranty. Each time you bring in the car for service, your deductible will be $50. Marci, I’m not sure if you are on a fixed income or not, but car repairs are very expensive. If the transmission breaks, it could cost you $5,000 to repair. Wouldn’t you like to know that you would never incur that kind of expense on a fixed income? I have all of my family members purchase an extended warranty. It provides a piece of mind. Don’t you agree?
Well, sort of. I’ve never had a car break down that cost me a thousand dollars.
The Sympathy Offer
Marci, I totally understand. Let me know if you want me to remove the extended warranty.
A few minutes passes in total silence. At this point, your mom is thinking about repair costs. The finance manager doesn’t say a word. Its a sales strategy — keep silent until the buyer speaks first.
Your mom is not sure what to do. The finance managers chimes in…
Marci, here is what I will do. I will give you a 10% discount. I never do this (I’m such a lier). This is only a one time offer. Once I complete this transaction, you will not be offered this option again — a total lie.
You mom takes the bait. The finance manager adds the $2995 extended warranty to the purchase agreement.
Marci, our dealership offers a unique solutions that eliminate the need to wax your car. For $995 we can apply a special clear coat to the vehicle that eliminates the need to have the car waxed. It also protects the car from harmful elements that can destroy the paints surface. Would you like our dealership to apply it to your car?
Well, I’m not sure. If I get it, can I get the same 25% discount?
Marci, I would be happy to apply the same discount.
Ok. Please add it to the purchase agreement. (you are suck a sucker Marci. The spray cost less than $100 dollars)
Marci, our used car sales manager appraised your vehicle. Its only worth $500 based upon the year. (its actually a collectors car. These cars are rare and collectors will pay in excess of $50,000 We will apply a $500 credit toward the finance agreement as part of your down payment.
Marci, let me go through the purchase agreement one more time. Purchase price of the 2016 Chevy Malibu $21,500, extended warranty $2995, maintenance contract $1295, floor mats $199 documentation fee $995, = $26,984 plus tax, tag, title.
I am not finished stealing your mom’s money. Remember your mom said she was going to pay cash. The finance manager is going to convince her to finance the vehicle.
Cash Verses Finance Manipulation
Marci, your mentioned to Tom that you wanted to cash for the car. I recommend that you finance the car. With interest rates being so low, it might make sense that you keep your money, invest it into the stock market where you will achieve a higher rate of return. Have you been watching the market lately? Investors are seeing double digit gains. You are a smart lady. Doesn’t make sense to hold onto your money?
Yes it does. It’s been very active (your mom doesn’t want to admit that she isn’t following the stock market, so she agrees)
Marci. I conduct business with many lenders. I can compare rates and get you the best interest rate (I get her mind off the decision of purchasing the car with cash onto getting the best auto loan with the lowest interest)
What rate do you think you get get me?
Let me run your credit and I’ll tell you in a few minutes. Your credit score is 760
Is that a good credit score?
Its an OK score.
What is a good credit score?
850 (less than 2% of the population has a 850 credit score)
Oh really? Can you still obtain financing for me?
Based upon a 760 credit score, I can offer you 4.5%. Hold on one second. Let me call one of my top lenders. Maybe I can get you 4.1%?
In reality, your mom qualified for 2.9%. As a finance manager, their goal is to increase profitability. In doing so, they steer all transactions to lenders who offer kickbacks. And the rule of thumb for the dealership to receive the rebate, the loan must not be paid off within 60 to 90 days. Each leader has different rules
Your mom insists that she would prefer to write a check. However, the finance manager persuades her to finance the car. He explains that she can pay off the loan after three months without any penalties. She agrees. Signs the purchase agreement, finance contract, and then is asked to wait in the service department until the clear coat application is applied.
In this scenario, the salesman sold my mother an extended warranty and a maintenance contract that she really did not need. She was overcharged for car mats, convinced her to finance the car (because dealerships don’t want cash buyers), and charged her $995 documentation fees that should have cost $395. By the way, did you pick up on the purchase price of $21,000, but the salesman wrote $21,500?
My mother wrote down the selling price of $21,000 on the newspaper, but became overwhelmed with the purchase agreement. She just agreed and signed.
She walked in wanting to purchase a $20,000 car. She walked out paying almost $27,000 plus TTT for a car that was a year old 2016 verses 2017. She owned a classic Chevelle SS that she purchased new. The dealer told her it was worthless.
This is a true story. It happened to my mother. This was the worst car buying experience any family member can have.
I went back to the dealership the following day. They basically told me to go to HELL. The Chevelle SS was SOLD. Your mom cold pay off her loan in 30 days. I contacted an attorney. He said I had no recourse.
When anyone walks onto an automobile dealership lot the sharks begin to prey on the bait. They speak in code:
“A potential customer is an “up,” a new salesperson is an inexperienced “green-pea,” and a buyer with no credit history is a “ghost.” Taking up too much of a salesman’s time without actually buying? You’re a “stroke.” If you’re lugging paperwork around—like newspaper ads or car reports—you’re a “professor.” And “one-legged shoppers” are customers without their spouses, which is a regular excuse for why they can’t buy right now—gotta ask the old ball and chain!Keep in mind, nobody is your friend. Car salesman will lie to get a sale. If a prospect walks onto a lot to see another salesperson, and that salesperson is off, they will lie and tell you they no longer work there just to get the sale.”
They will employ every tactic possible to rip off the consumer. Don’t let your mother fall victim as described in this blog post.
As the saying goes, Buyer Beware!
P.S. I only showed you a few tactics that car salespeople employ to maximize the profitability of each sale.
In my next blog, I will talk about other tricks car dealerships play. Here is a hint:
- Preying on your lack of information
- Making it all about the monthly payment
- Making deceptive payoff promises
- Pushing you to lease
- Saying the deal is only good now
- Trotting out the old bait-and-switch
I will follow up with additional blogs on car buying tips. I will teach you how to buy a car without sitting in a dealership for more than 30 minutes. Please subscribe to my blog.