The purchase of a new or used automobile can cause some anxiety. Consumers may feel this way because they know some dealers rely on fraud or misrepresentation to make a sale.
People just want to buy a car that will last a long time without getting ripped off. Unfortunately, the auto industry remains rife with practices that harm consumers. Some of these practices are illegal, while others are grossly unethical.
How to recognize these tactics
The auto dealership industry targets consumers in a plethora of ways. Let’s look at two of these schemes so you can recognize them if you come across them (or already have).
Dealer stickers: When shopping for a new automobile, you will see a mandatory official sticker on the car containing the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). Some dealerships add a dealer sticker next to the official one that increases the price with made-up charges or worthless vehicle options.
4-square close: This tactic involves the salesperson handing you a piece of paper with four squares. These squares contain the four financial elements of buying a car or trading in a vehicle.
- Price of the car
- Trade-in amount
- Down payment amount
- Monthly payment ranges
The salesperson wants to haggle with you over the figures contained within the four squares. They will probably visit the manager several times for approval of the terms you request. However, the odds are not in your favor. The 4-square technique confuses consumers into signing off on a car deal that benefits the dealership.
Fortunately, you have options in the wake of auto dealership fraud or misrepresentation. We recommend learning more about your legal options if you are a victim.