2. Playing coy with prices
If you hear that a vehicle costs $29,999 (or twenty-nine, nine, nine, nine) it may sound like something you cannot afford. But, hearing monthly payments of $455 per month may sound a bit better to you. By obscuring the real price of the car, car salesmen can make an expensive vehicle seem within reach. They can also get you to spend more by stretching out the payments or padding the final price with extras and upgrades.
“You should always ask for the all-inclusive cost of the car in order to price compare with what you find online,” Scott Chesrown, Chief Revenue Officer at Vroom, told The Cheat Sheet. “Most dealers will avoid showing you things such as fees, interest rate, and trade value. Instead, they will focus on the monthly payment and make sure it is something ‘you are comfortable with.’ The problem is that they are likely charging you too much for the loan, not giving you enough for your trade, and packing in a few additional fees to bump up their profits.”
Your best defense against this tactic is preparation. You should know both how much you can afford to spend each month on your vehicle, as well as how much you want to spend in total. Then, make sure to stay under both those numbers.