How to Avoid Bait and Switch Car Dealer Tactics

You read ”a car to buy” announcement. It offers a low price for that car and you do not want to miss the chance to get it. You immediately write the address down and take a taxi to the dealer’s place. But when you arrive you are shocked: the salesman is not enthused about the car you want.  He/she draws your attention to other cars with more features and with higher prices. This bait and switch is an old American scam to get buyers.

What is “bait and switch?”

The dictionary gives the following description: a sales tactic in which a customer is attracted by the advertisement of a low-priced item but is then encouraged to buy a higher-priced one.

The salesmen use this method to make you believe that you do not want this car, you want the other well equipped one which costs more money than the one you want.

Let us advise you how to avoid a dealer fraud.

Be careful when reading the ad

The dealers are careful to follow the law when placing ads. After reading the ad, do research on the Internet for that specific model to make sure it has the features you want. Find out whether it has a manual or automatic transmission, air conditioning, power windows. Try to find the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in the ad. Write it down and take this information with you to the dealer to confirm you are looking at the car you’ve seen on the announcement.

When you have no time to do research, you may be surprised and disappointed with the car that was advertised, for example, the car does not have air conditioning. In this case, the salesman switches you to a car which has the features you want. Of course with a higher price.

If this happens to you, you can go out from the dealer’s place. Think about if you want to deal with the person who manipulates you in this way.

Do not buy anything without negotiating

Take a close look at the fees in the deal. In this case, the dealers may tell you to pay a bloated sum of money per month. If you, as a consumer, accept this amount, the dealer sometimes offers some gifts: alarms, rust protection, VIN etching. He/she does this for getting the contract to reach the bloated price. You may not even understand that, actually, the accessories are not free, and their price is included in the sum you pay for the car.

When you do not negotiate the selling price you will usually begin negotiating from the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) (the list price, also known as the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), or the recommended retail price (RRP), or the suggested retail price (SRP), of a product, is the price at which the manufacturer recommends that the retailer sell the product) or higher. 

Be aware of your finance rate

The salesman can tell you whatever you want to hear about the rates. And when you sign a contract and take delivery, he/she may call you back in a month and tell you that the terms have changed. You can avoid this kind of problems by securing financing before arriving at the dealer or claim the dealer to show you a copy of the bank approval.

 Some dealers advertise a car with a low price, but then they show you another car with a higher price. So, avoid the dealer’s bait and switch tactics by doing research on the internet. Collect information about the car you want to buy and negotiate the price tags beforehand.