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How to Expertly Negotiate With a New or Used Car Dealer

BY: Alex Perrone

dealer with car documents

Buying a new or used car at the dealership can often seem intimidating. This is especially true if you are not used to negotiating. Now we at Endurance love and work with car dealerships a lot but we do realize a need for customers to feel a lot more comfortable with them. This is a way for both the car buyers and the sellers to walk away happy. Today on ShopTalk we’re giving you 5 expert tips when dealing with a new or used car dealer. Things you need to understand a car dealer will do or say so you can walk in ready. So without further adieu: here are things to be on guard with regards to car dealers.

Beware of any “Arbitration Clauses”

couple listening to car dealer

Arbitration clauses were introduced in the act of selling cars to legally protect the seller. Unfortunately they end up binding the buyer in ways that can be dangerous. To put things in simple terms, arbitration is legal speak for an agreement of one or both parties to waive any right to dispute the terms of a contract (in this case, the purchase of a car). Now there’s nothing necessarily wrong or illegal about arbitration clauses, granted you need to make sure the deal gives you enough in your favor before you sign for the car. However it is by nature tipped in favor of protecting a dealer from you. This is actually a negotiable point, you can opt to strike the arbitration clause from the contract before signing. Or you can continue to read and renegotiate terms. Not every dealer requires an arbitration clause before signing. If they do, just be extra careful about what you are agreeing to.

Know the Statute of Limitations on Claims

car sales contract

In the US there is Uniform Commercial Code. What that does is allow many product sellers, but especially car dealers to shorten the statute of limitations on any claims against them to a minimum one year. That means if, heaven forbid, you find something wrong with the car after sale, the statute of limitations may prevent you from taking any legal action against the dealership let alone making a warranty claim. Most states have a 4 year statute of limitations, so read that fine print.

Learn to Speak to Your Dealer

speaking to a car dealer

One of the most stressful aspects of buying a car is simply speaking to a dealer. They may throw a lot of big words you do not understand or promises and oral agreements. Anything that comes out of a car seller’s mouth is without any meaning or binding unless it is on paper. Ask that everything your car seller is promising to you, big and small; make their way transcribed on the purchase or lease agreement. Anything that a salesperson tells you but is not in writing can and in all likelihood will be ignored or forgotten by both the dealer and you. Long story short: get everything in writing.

When You Buy “As-Is”

couple buying a car as is

It is mandatory for every used car sold in America to come with a “Buyer’s Guide.” What this does is clarify that the car is being sold with some sort of warranty or “As Is.” Now only some states allow “As Is” sales.  What that means is the car is sold to you by the seller the current condition it is in on the lot. Thankfully the buyers guide will inform you of anything and everything possibly wrong with the car. So few customers end up reading this material but they really should. Know what is going on with that car before you agree to buy it.

Know Every Single Add-On Included on the Purchase Contract

dealer sales contract

The wisest car buyers never put their guard down even when they are getting the price for the car they wanted, or maybe lower. And they shouldn’t. It is standard practice of car sellers to include various add-on items to up the sale past the deal they are giving you. When they give you the purchase agreement to review read through it carefully. Do not be afraid to ask what all these extra items you are being asked to pay for are. If you ask, they will remove it and you won’t pay for it. It is that easy. So again read the fine print and don’t be afraid to say no to add-ons that may sound good but really aren’t necessary to dive off the lot with.

Buying a car is a huge purchase. That is why it helps to be a smart consumer. Read the fine print of everything before you sign the purchase or lease agreement. And finally, get comfortable when dealing with the dealer. We hope this guide was helpful to you and for more automotive financial tips, stay tuned to ShopTalk!

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