Why I Hate Car Salesmen

I purchase a vehicle infrequently. My current vehicle I have had 7 years, the previous 9 years. One main reason is that it is just cheaper to drive till they are worn out, one has many years of payment free driving. In fact my last two vehicles were purchased with cash so no payments for many years. Dave Ramsey would be proud 🙂

Another reason I buy infrequently – I am reminded of each time I buy a vehicle. Dealing with Car Salesmen is such a awful experience. I believe most people hate this experience, but for me, a very poor negotiator, it is especially painful. I always coming away feeling I’ve been robbed, and the feeling is probably founded in truth.

It started with the salesman’s revelation that the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit is only available to those who lease. If I buy with a conventional loan or cash, I won’t get it. This confused me, it went against everything I had read. I challenged him. The salesman showed me the paperwork that said this.

$7,500* NMAC Customer Lease Rebate can only be used as a Capitalized Cost reduction on NMAC Nissan LEAF Lease. No portion of the $7,500 may be taken as cash by the customer.

I studied this for a minute or two ( I noticed the salesman cheeking Facebook while I did this), and then I said. Oh this means that Nissan won’t give me $7,500 off the price up front unless I do a lease, the way I see it I have to go to Uncle Sam to get the credit on my taxes next year, which is what I expected anyway. I saw the footnote which helped clarify, it read

*this is a pass through of the $7,500 incentive for federal tax credit available to NILT by law.

The salesman conceded this point, but the went on to say that I’d only get  the credit when I filed my taxes next year if I still owed at least $7,500. If I was due money back or owed less than $7,500 then I wouldn’t get some or any of the $7,500. This went against everything I know about tax credits. Having got a tax credit for windows on my home last year, and I’m due to get a credit this year for an AC unit on my home. I know how tax credits work. Oh that’s different, the salesman said. By now it was clear he really was trying to angle me towards a lease. He advised me to speak to my tax adviser, ‘who is that by the way’ he asked. I said that would be me, I do my own taxes thanks very much.

I did get some good information on the Nissan warranties for the LEAF. Bumper to bumper warranty is 3yrs/36,000 miles, like most Nissan vehicles. There is  5 yr/60,000 mile power-train warranty, which includes the main drive motor and other drive-train related electronics. Batteries are on an 8 yr/100,000 mile warranty. It was clear the salesman didn’t know anything more than this, he was reading it off the web as we spoke. (Note to self. Use the Nissan LEAF experts available through the website, not a salesman. I have used the live chat several times and the experience has been pretty good.)

By now I was discouraged by the experience. If he was doing this on purpose, he was succeeding. I explained I had lots of questions, I like to be sure of what I’m getting into before I do commit. He was appreciative of this. I asked what he’d give me on my trade. he wasn’t comfortable giving me a number since a lot could happen between now and the vehicle arriving. I conceded that point, but now I was frustrated, I couldn’t compare what I’d get for my trade to what I was paying for the new vehicle. Normally I focus on the difference between the two (i.e. what I need to write a check for). It was looking like I’d need to agree a price before knowing my net expenditure, I felt really uncomfortable.

I asked him what sort of deposit I’d need to put down to order the vehicle. Oh you’ve done that already he explained. Ordering on-line is not a commitment to purchase, that happens when the vehicle gets here, you test drive it and if you like it we go to the finance office, just like any regular car sale. If you don’t like it you get your $99 back and we put it on the lot for sale. In fact if you told me now you didn’t want it, I’d be happy to take delivery and sell for more than sticker, it’s in demand right now by those who don’t want to wait in line. I realized at this point I had made an error not ordering on-line months ago, I missed an important piece of information, oh well, you can’t undo what’s done.

The way I see it, he was actively discouraging me from getting the vehicle. Strange way to sell, he was up to something. We finally agreed on a price.

The good news is that I placed my online order for the LEAF and the confirmation says it’ll be here in 3-4 months. The bad news is I probably came out on the wrong side of the deal and had to go through an hour long go around with the salesman. I’ve never bought a new car before, so I had more than the usual questions. One thing I forgot to ask about before agreeing the price was if there would be any delivery fees. I asked after the fact (brilliant I know) and the salesman said it would be between $800-900 destination fee. Whether I can get this waived or not at the time of purchase, or added to the value of my trade I don’t know, we’ll see. It’ll be a function of how well the car is selling, Selling well, I’ll be lucky to get it waived, selling poorly will put me back in the drivers seat. Hopefully literally as well figuratively 🙂 If I get the shaft at the time of sale, I suppose I’ll be forced to walk away.

Update 2001-04-01 : Hindsight is 20/20. I wish I had come across the car buying strategies website before accepting my price. They list true dealer cost for almost all new cars, including the leaf. I probably overpaid by $500-1000. Let’s hope I can make that up on my trade if the LEAF doesn’t sell well in the interim. Time will tell.

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10 Responses to Why I Hate Car Salesmen

  1. Danny says:

    Hey JP – I hate car salesmen, too! I researched everything before buying my last car, down to potential student discounts, etc. (I was in school at the time). I came in with an OTD -out the door- price (and luckily was not looking for a car in high demand). It was a fair price and inckuding taxes, title, delivery, etc. so the dealer can’t tack anything else on if they agreed. And the sales guy was like – you’ve done your research and we pretty much signed-off. But the guy you really need to be careful of is the finance officer – this is where we got upsold to get DVD headrests – and though they have been great, we could have gotten them much cheaper aftermarket. Anyway – your hatred of car dealers will continue when you go in to sign the paperwork = just make sure you have an OTD price in mind (using KBB/Edmunds’ true market value numbers) before you “renegotiate” with the sales guy and finance officer.

  2. Bob says:

    You hate car salesman because you try to buy you can’t afford at unrealistic number based on your income.

    • Brian says:

      I hate car salesmen because I try to buy the advertised product for the advertised price. I don’t have to haggle at walmart or best buy. If I don’t want carmats with my entertainment center they won’t try and sell them to me.

    • Holly says:

      I say Bob is illiterate and can’t spell.

  3. F U says:

    The salesmen are lazy and won’t run up to help me, the salesmen are too pushy and tried to help me too much, they would not put up with my crap and would not give it to me for no profit and kiss my ass. You people looking/buying cars and posting your petty little complaints after acting like a douchebag yourself are pathetic lying cheap bottom feeders.

  4. Rick Danner says:

    I sell cars and I really feel sorry that you feel that you got taken advantage of on this deal but most likely you didn’t. If you don’t like car salesman, heres the best way to proceed: Walk in and say “I’ll buy it. For MSRP”. You will have a great experience. MSRP is not a rip off. You are paying $15k-100k for a car these days based on the fact your trust that car company/brand. You trust them to build this car, but you do not trust them to set a realistic MSRP number? Why not? Whatever the car has on the window, at the bottom, after all manufacturer recommended fees like destination, just pay that. It’s ‘fair’. Now, if you want to ‘Negotiate’ then you have opened yourself up to the car sales game. You are literally asking them to give you a discount, for no apparent reason. Why do you deserve a discount? Did you donate to the same church as the owner? Are you a police officer in his town and values that? Did you serve this country in the military and he values that? I swear those are 10x more logical reasons for asking for a discount than many people give. If you had a quote from another dealer, THAT IS a valid reason to ask for the same discount, or even a slight bit better. But you mentioned that you wanted to know your trade in value to determine the price difference between the two. Some people ask that to see if they are able to afford it. FINE. 90% ask that question to start basing their offer, which is insane. You want us to discount a car more or less depending on how many miles you put on it? Wait, you commute an extra 15 miles a day to work than the last customer we had… I guess we need to discount the car to make up for that….? Come on, be realistic. The only thing that happens when many people buy cars is they are forced to play the car negotiating game with someone that knows the basics, but is very crude at execution of the process. If you had a veteran, or someone thats ‘good’, you would walk away paying MORE because he did such a good job explaining why MSRP is fair, why your trade is a totally separate issue, and honestly you may have been friends at the end.

    I’ve sold over 1000 cars, and have ‘screwed over’ VERY VERY few people. Not everyone got the biggest discount I have ever seen (I’ve seen the dealership lose $1,500 selling a car before..) but virtually no one got ‘taken advantage of’ buying the car.

    The finance office though, THAT is where the screwing happens. Sorry to say.

    • Molly McFadden says:

      Thanks Rick. I, too, try to make a living selling cars. I think buyers think we make a ton of money in this business. What you said about MSRP being a fair price is right on! Thank you! Why come in to look at a car knowing how much it costs and then demand ridiculous discounting. Many times I have simply suggested to a customer that maybe we were on the wrong car for them. If you want to spend $25k then look at $25k cars. Don’t start at a $30k car and beat me up trying to get it down to $25k. Come on!!!!
      Great post!

      • jpwhitehome says:

        If dealers don’t want customers asking for a discount its simple, do like CarMax and set a no haggle price. CarMax now sells 7 brands of new cars and discount from MSRP. My guess as to why dealers haggle is because they come out ahead as professional hagglers vs a customer who infrequently has to haggle.

  5. Bob says:

    Yes, why don’t these buyer go to the drug story or grocery store and ask for a discount ? THey pay more for food than a car and just pay. How about there cell phone bills?? I pay $210.00 per month and we have customer that think they should get a $30000.00 car for $199.00 on a lease?? WHat is wrong here? Yes, I have sold over 300 cars for the last 36 year. It is getting old.

  6. Holly says:

    I say Bob needs a new job; he is getting old.

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