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Dealer Advertising Scams to Watch Out For

Look through any Sunday newspaper and you'll see tons of dealership ads touting incredible deals. Unfortunately, most are misleading and designed primarily to get you to stop by the dealership (where they can apply high pressure sales tactics).

These ads usually include small print that nobody reads, with statements such as "all units subject to prior sale", "prices starting at...", or "for qualified buyers only".

It's best to simply ignore all dealership advertising and just use our car negotiation method, but for kicks, here are some common ads you may see:

Huge Discounts ($5,000 and Over)
These ads are usually found on vehicles that aren't selling well and come with large manufacturer rebates. You can get this type of discount at any dealership selling these vehicles. A more sinister version of this advertising scam is when a dealer adds bogus fees on top of the MSRP, then makes it seem like they're offering a huge discount.

We'll Pay You Money If You Can Beat our Deals
An ad like this seems enticing, until you read the fine print. To get paid, you would have to find an EXACT vehicle match at a competing dealer. The likelihood of finding an exact match is small, but that's not all. You would also need to have a completed purchase order from that dealership showing the negotiated price. Dealers know most consumers aren't going to go through all this hassle to get the money.

Brand New Car for $99 per Month
Again, you need to read the fine print on deals like this. There is usually a huge down payment required, or a balloon payment at the end. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Bad Credit, No Problem
Dealers that advertise this kind of stuff are dealers you want to stay far away from. They prey on individuals with poor credit and make more profit than you can imagine.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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