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Old 04-07-2014, 04:59 PM   #1
FlamingRectumSyndrome
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Question Buying Without Getting Reamed

I keep running across random comments about how screwed up Toyota is with their "no haggle" pricing scheme that keeps non-current vehicles on the lot. Also keep hearing mention of ripoffs like getting charged for (non-existent?) paint protection that the buyer never asked for. And occasionally I'll see advice that you shouldn't pay for dealer prep charges or other such costs because they're either already paid for in the cost of the car or they're just a nice-sounding term for "we're screwing you because this doesn't actually buy you anything".

So... what is and isn't legitimate when buying a car? How do dealerships stick it to you? What's acceptable practice and what's blatant abuse? Oh, and since the internet can occasionally allow for opinion to be misrepresented as fact, state your rationale for any claims / advice (i.e."I was a car salesman before I got a conscience" or "I worked at a Toyota dealership and have first-hand knowledge", etc.

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Old 04-07-2014, 05:30 PM   #2
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Depends on your attitude. Some guys won't touch a car unless they're under the advertised MSRP and cutting into 'dealer invoice' and 'dealer holdback'.

Do some research on Edmunds and such and figure out what you're willing to pay for exactly what you want. Some guys have to have a clear bra and wheel locks and trunk mats and aftermarket upgraded stereo while others despise add ons.

For the most part the dealers I encountered in California were pretty up front with their add ons to jack up the price, the trick was finding someone willing to forgo the add-ons. Sure you can negotiate on them but 50% off something I don't want is more than I'm willing to pay.

Ask questions, don't be afraid to say no and walk away. The only concessions I made were an $80 'documentation fee' and I think they may have rounded up on the taxes they collected off me, my car was $27.8k out the door.

Aside from turning down the add-ons you see on scions site (rear bumper aplique lmao) I turned down an extended warranty, some 'anti-theft' protection sticker b.s. that they installed against my wishes, and the 'boost plus' service plan.

Sorry, I go off on this stuff because it was such a hassle to find a car without b.s. add ons, I think the msrp on this car is fair, not great but fair. Good luck.
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Old 04-20-2014, 06:56 PM   #3
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Answering my own question, the things I ran into when buying my FR-S.

I went in knowing about Scion's fixed price policy, but also knowing about the dealers' propensity for adding on doodads that are expensive for what you actually get. Stuff like $70 for a piece of clear plastic stuck on the rear bumper to keep from scuffing it when you load stuff, or $67 for wheel locks that you can get at your local car parts store for $30. So I was very firm about wanting just a base model, no add-ons.

The sales guy left to "talk to the manager" and came back with a plain piece of paper that he'd hand-written a price ($25,550) and "agree to purchase" with a line for my signature. Now my wife had done the whole "TrueCar" deal on line and found the "best" deal was at a dealership some 80 miles away, with a price of $25,670, so this seemed reasonable. I wondered if this was just some psychological tool to get me to feel committed to the process, or whether this could actually be construed as an agreement to purchase, but the price seemed right, so I signed.

Then he went to actually locate a Hot Lava FR-S. That's when the trouble started. Turns out there was exactly ONE left in the state, and it was in Los Angeles, some 350 miles away. He had also asked me how much I was comfortable spending. I was in a position to pay cash if needed, but figured if I could get cheap credit I'd go with that. I told him I'd put $10,000 down. He said that would make my payments around $450 a month, but he needed to get the actual figure from the finance manager. He asked if I could swing $450 a month, and I told him I could. So he comes back with "Good news, the figure is actually $429 a month". So I do some quick math on a piece of scrap paper and realize that over 6 years, $429 a month adds up to a WHOLE lot more than the approximately $16K balance that's left after a $10K down. This is when I start to lose any trust in this guy.

I tell him the figure seems kind of high. He then explains that the payment includes a 10 year extended warranty and a bunch of other crap (oil changes, tire rotations, who knows, maybe there was a weekly ham sandwich hidden in there). I tell him "I just want the car, and only the car, and not anything else".

So he comes back with a new figure of $379 a month. This still seems high, and a quick bit of calculation proves it. I tell him that I'm unhappy with how he is treating me, that he seems to be dishonest. I tell him I agreed to buy a base model car for $25,550, and now he's coming back with all sorts of figures that add up to WAY more than that. I tell him if he can't keep to his part of the agreement, I'm going to walk. And up to this point, he keeps presenting me a plain piece of paper with monthly payment figure and a signature line hand scrawled onto it. This strikes me as more bullshit. So I tell him I want to see the actual figures, every penny of taxes and fees, or this is over.

He comes back with a computer-generated printout. It has everything listed, including taxes (in excess of $2k) and finance fees. Along with the expected price of the car there's $1450 in "miscellaneous fees". When I ask him about that he tells me that includes $450 for the fog lights I want (necessary where I live) and $1000 to transport the car up from Los Angeles. The monthly payment still comes to $379. I notice that the interest rate is listed at 3.99%, this after he told me that Toyota was offering 2.69% interest.

I tell him the transportation fee is too high, as is the interest rate. I tell him that I'm tired of getting jerked around, particularly in regard to the interest fee. I tell him that the whole deal feels dishonest, and I can drive 30 miles to another Toyota dealership and see what they'll do to get me the same car.

He leaves and comes back with the dealership manager, who points out that to get the car he's going to have to have it shipped by a 3rd party transportation company, and the best he can do is $600. He knocks the interest rate down to 2.5%, bringing the payments to something more reasonable. At that point I figure the shipping premium is worth getting the one color I really want, and we close the deal.

I head over to see the finance manager. He's not happy. Does the hard sell with the extended warranty. The guy should have been a dancer or a circus performer, because he deftly treads the line between suggesting that the car is unreliable (even stooping to point out that "it has Subaru parts in it") and wanting to make me feel smart for "protecting my investment". I point out to him that everything covered by the 8 year warranty is already covered for the first 3 years by the factory warranty, so the $360 a year cost adds up to $1080 in the first three years for stuff that Toyota would pay for anyway. I tell him I'd rather just put the same amount each month into a savings account and have it in case I needed it, but also have it in case I didn't end up needing it. This doesn't help his unhappiness, and he reluctantly slides the purchase agreement across the table to me.

So... go in knowing what you want, be firm in holding them to that, don't let them screw you with hidden costs like high finance fees or extra warranties, and be willing to go somewhere else if you're not getting a fair deal. Oh, and know how to do some simple math. That's what really saved my bacon.

Last edited by FlamingRectumSyndrome; 04-20-2014 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 04-20-2014, 07:20 PM   #4
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Your experience is exactly why I never go to a dealership, until its time to pick up the car...and sometimes I make them deliver the car.

With the internet and email, there is no need to play their BS games.
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Old 04-20-2014, 07:27 PM   #5
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thanks for the advice, for when im going to get one
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Old 04-20-2014, 07:29 PM   #6
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Yeah thanks man...how did 450 a month for 6 years make sense to that guy that's nearly 30k. They were really trying to rip you off man. That's nearly 40k in the end with your down payment. I have the same plan as you ...to go in with a 10k down payment.
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Old 04-20-2014, 07:42 PM   #7
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Garage
ya i hate dealership haggling and price scrams I was lucky with my scion though they had all all base whiteout frs in the lot that I wanted non of that extra accessories bs and I paid 330 a month with a 3.9% financing and 5k down payment. The only thing I added as an addon extra is the resist all paint protection thingy cuz I hate bird droppings on my car everyday of the week.

I got my car for 26k the only thing that killed me was the sales tax >_<
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Old 04-20-2014, 07:46 PM   #8
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Thank you and noted

so basically

Deposit (If you're reserving like I am)

Docking Fee (can sometimes be voided)

Tax

Tags (dealer will sometimes pay for this)

down payment


everything else is BS.
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Old 04-20-2014, 08:20 PM   #9
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Damn that seems pretty ridiculous. I'm glad my dealership experience was pretty straight forward.

I preferred to do all the initial conversations by email. I had two local Toyota dealerships near my home. Two significantly different experiences though. I opted for the email quotes and specifically asked for quotes and eta on a 6 speed white out monogram with absolutely no added options.

One dealership kept trying to get my phone number and told me they didn't have a monogram or 2014's in stock, but that they had other "similar models"....I wonder what other RWD car Toyota makes that sells for less than 30k...to add to that, they called me a completely different name, funny bc my name is in my email and signature. Terrible initial experience so decided not to give them my business.

The other dealership was perfect. They allowed me to actually test drive an FRS, and when I mean actually test, my salesman took me to a nice little private area where I could really open her up and take fast turns. I drove a test car to 6k rpm... One of the many factors that so easily persuaded me to pull the trigger on my white monogram was that this dealership responded within 2 hours, told me a 6sp white out monogram was coming next week, bone stock. The timing was too perfect. They did not have the residuals so they couldn't give me confirmed numbers for the payments but he gave me a pretty damn good estimate based on current deals. He kept in touch with me as soon as the numbers were in so I finally decided to go in and discuss in person. Never hid anything or try to add bs. Went straight to his desk, pulled out all the numbers on his screen, and he printed out every option I wanted so I could compare the effects of down payment vs 3-6 year finance options, vs lease options.

This was my first dealership experience and I went in with my guard up but it went by so much smoother than I expected. Although I did yelp/google my specific sales man after he introduced himself over the phone and I did find a few good reviews about him...
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Old 04-20-2014, 09:12 PM   #10
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The what is your budget per month or "up to" trick along with the foursquare worksheet are designed to distract you from what you are actually paying.

Negotiate an out the door price...don't get caught up in the monthly crap, as op points out...
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:01 AM   #11
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OP, what dealership gave you this runaround? I have likely visited that (or one near it) dealer in my search for an FR-S just to find prices and meet different people. Don't want to end up in a bad one.
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:26 AM   #12
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OP, what dealership gave you this runaround? I have likely visited that (or one near it) dealer in my search for an FR-S just to find prices and meet different people. Don't want to end up in a bad one.
I'm in the 209, so you're safe from this one.
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:31 AM   #13
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This is why I negotiate everything over the internet and phone. All the way to the OTD price. Good job not getting fleeced, some of these dealers are downright shady.
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:44 PM   #14
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Dealerships are funny. They will try to sell you the "add-on's" harder than they will try to sell you on the car itself. Why? Because most of the add-on's are nearly 100% profit. Some dealerships are way worse than others, but you get the same crap at no matter where you go.

Also, MAKE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that the number you and the salesperson arrive at matches the number that the finance guy gives you. That is where they tried to **** me over, but failed.
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