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May 16, 2021

Do car dealerships still use high pressure tactics?

Just about everyone has a story about pressure tactics and broken promises after shopping at a car dealership.

Just what did you expect?

Dealerships spend thousands of dollars on training systems to teach their salespeople how to influence buyers from the very first moment that you make contact with them on the lot.

Some years ago, Edmunds, a web site that gives car-buying advice to consumers, had one of their employees, Chandler Phillips, go “undercover” and get a job at a couple of California car dealerships.

His description of the pressure techniques taught to car salespeople illustrated how, with a little sleight of hand and even outright deception, dealerships sweeten the deal in their favour — often costing you hundreds of dollars or more.

Have things changed much, particularly in the Internet age? Not really, says Phillips, in a recent update: “Selling cars seems to be a timeless sort of business transaction. Confessions rings just as true today for me as when it was written.”

That’s certainly what first-time car buyer and financial blogger Tom Drake believes, according to a recent post.

“Having never negotiated for a vehicle, and having only read about it, I expected some of these tactics but figured that when we simply refused, they would sheepishly grin and say, “oh well, we tried, here’s your car”.

The funny thing is, he admits, is that he would have bought the car if it was simply sold for the listed price, plus tax. It was the salesman’s attitude and seeming duplicity that drove him away, not the actual cost of the car.

What’s your experience with car dealerships been like? Have things changed at all since you bought your first car?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo), canoe.ca, AOL.ca, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...