Here are the five best tips to help you avoid bad car dealerships. These tips will alert you to the smell of lemonade and help you find a respectable dealership.
Tip #1 – The switcheroo
The switcheroo has two faces. The first facet of the switcheroo is human-based. You walk in and an overeager salesperson greets you. You talk with them for a few minutes, but something just doesn’t seem right. Your salesperson goes into the backroom, and here comes “Justin” who will be “taking care of you” now. Not only is this frustrating, it’s a ploy to grind you down to a nub with a checking account.
The second aspect of the switcheroo is car-based. Justin walks you out to the lot and shows you the car you saw in the ad. Based on several factors, this is the car you need and can afford. You may see a glimmer in Justin’s eye as he makes a gesture towards the back of the lot where a real beauty sits that is only $8,000 more than you’re prepared to drop. Leave the dealership immediately. The dealership is not customer-oriented and cares more about their bottom line than honestly helping you buy a car.
Tip #2 – Sniff out a scam
Your senses should be heightened when you walk into a dealership. If you have your eye on a sweet used car, go ahead and ask Justin for a bumper-to-bumper warranty. If he says no, then you’re likely dealing with a bad dealership. The car you’re looking at is probably listed with the status “as is,” and may cost you more money than it's worth down the road.
Tip #3 – Let technology do some of your legwork
Don't go to a dealership at all until it's absolutely necessary to pick up your vehicle. Online car dealership sites such as TrueCar offer an experience with no Justins to deal with and no need to haggle. A search for a Chrysler 2014 Town and Country reveals all of the information you would have received at a dealership, without the bad dealership extras. The pricing was all laid out and encompassed everything, including the shipping fee.
Tip #4 – Gauge the ghost town factor
When you pull up to a dealership, you should be scoping out where the employees are and how many of them are visible. From personal experience, avoid dealerships with a ton of salespeople who practically pull you out of your car. Too many salespeople could lead to the switcheroo.
But, you should still be able to see employees. They shouldn’t be all hiding in the back room. You should see visible signs of work and a few bodies walking around here and there.
Tip #5 – Utilize online reviews
There are many sites that print reviews of car dealerships. You know which ones we’re talking about. A bad dealership will have a lot of bad reviews. It’s that simple. You’re not going to escape without a bad review here and there. If there are multiple reviews complaining about the same thing, don’t even bother putting that dealership's address into your GPS. Save yourself the hassle, and shop online.