Consumer & Personal Injury Litigators

The psychology of the sale: Red flags when buying a car

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2021 | Dealer Fraud

When you are in the market for a new car, there are many different options you may be looking into. You might want to buy a car, truck or van. You may have a specific model in mind or only a price range to consider.

Some dealers may try to manipulate buyers who aren’t clear about what they want to buy or what they’re looking for. They might try to get them in a vehicle that is more expensive than what they need or to sell them a vehicle that really isn’t a good buy at all. As a buyer, you need to know the psychological tricks dealers use to be able to protect yourself against being taken advantage of.

What kinds of psychological tricks do dealers use?

Dealers want to make sure that you get to the lot, so one of the things they’ll do is offer a low-ball price online or over the phone. Then, when you arrive, they may be told that the first person told you the wrong price or that you were misquoted. This is why it’s important to print out a screenshot of a sale price if you see it online or to detail down what was said. If this tactic is used against you, you may want to leave the lot, because it’s dishonest at best.

Another thing that some dealers will do to try to get you to trust them is to see if there is something you have in common with them. Maybe you’ll chat about a common interest or simply be the same race as the sales person. In either case, that commonality makes it more likely for a buyer to take the bait, so it’s something to look out for.

Finally, some dealers will use guilt to keep you on the hook. Since most people don’t want to walk away from buying something after spending hours on the lot, the dealer’s sales team may try to keep you there as long as possible. This can turn negative for buyers if the car they are sold isn’t right for them or is a lemon.

While most of these psychological tricks aren’t outright illegal, you do need to watch out for them. When a dealership is capable of lying to or manipulating customers to buy, those actions are red flags that it’s time to walk away.

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