We found this article in Automobile magazine. It’s a good read. Know that what you read below will NEVER happen at DriveWise Auto! We’ve been saying for a while now that finding a great price on a vehicle has become easy. Finding a company that also provides great service and that you can trust….not so much!
Let’s Make A Deal
as adapted from the Nov 2012 edition of Automobile magazine
written by Ezra Dyer
Thousands of years ago, man invented the wheel. And then, a few minutes later, man sold that wheel with full undercoating and extended warranty protection against flat-spotting, stone cracking, and mammoth damage. “Extended warranty cost only two tiger pelts,” said man. “You smart to get. Now we talk service agreement.”
Not all car dealers are scheming villains, but the car-dealer culture is such that even the honest organizations resort to tricks that would shame a carnival barker. When I recently bought a car, negotiating a price was the easy part. The real battle begins when I attempt to collect said car at that price.
First, the salesman hands me a piece of paper detailing the price breakdown. Buried within that list is a $795 charge for a service agreement. “I didn’t agree to this and I don’t want it,” I say.
My rejection causes no little consternation between the sales guy and the manager. They really want me to have the service agreement. “We can’t take this off,” says the manager. “It’s the law that we have to provide it.” I might have laughed in his face…there’s no law requiring car dealers to charge $795…but I ultimately agree to keep the stupid service contract. [Then,] I venture deeper into the belly of the beast to talk to the title guy.
The title guy’s job is to finalize your paperwork while selling you all sorts of other stuff that you don’t need. First he tries a move I’ll call the double-upsell. He proposes some really ridiculous add-on warranty. When I reject it, he says, “OK, then we’ll just go with this cheaper one,” as if I’m obliged to sign up for something. “I don’t want that either,” I tell him. I’m buying a certified pre-owned model that already has a six-year/100,000-mile warranty.
“But that only covers the powertrain,” Title Guy argues, proffering the second major lie I’ve heard in the past half hour. I reply that, in fact, the warranty does cover everything, bumper-to-bumper, with a modest deductible. “That sucks,” he says under his breath. “I mean, it sucks for us. It’s good for you.” What sucks for me, sir, is that you would’ve just happily sold me a warranty that duplicates the warranty I already have, if only I’d let you.
Eventually, I escape with the car I wanted at the price I agreed upon, but they don’t make it easy. And that’s why people abhor car dealers. You know that you’ll be forced to run a gauntlet of charlatans attempting to mug you each step of the way. One GM dealer I visited had every car marked up over MSRP, right there on the window sticker, which was amended with a “low availability cost adjustment.” Because those Chevy Traverses are so rare you should definitely pay over sticker to get your hands on one.
Unfortunately, where dealer ethics are concerned, it seems the market has spoken and the shenanigans-based business model wins. And thus, car buyers and car dealers remain adversaries.