The illegal things that unscrupulous auto dealers do to close a sale

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The GAP fraud seems so blatant. I guess they’re just running the numbers and hoping the customer doesn’t realize that they aren’t actually covered before the “plan” runs out.

I’d think it would be easier to set up a fake insurance company that takes the premiums but denies all claims based on made up reasons. I mean that’s more or less how “legit” insurance companies operate when you’re poor and can’t afford to fight the company.


Note for those reading the whole article: MVA is the Motor Vehicle Administration, the equivalent of the DMV in Maryland.

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That would be a any insurance company then. Isn’t this how they all operate. “Oh, so sorry but your wreck isn’t covered – but here’s $5 if you will agree to just go away”.

One wrung up the ladder from an organized crime syndicate, that’s the US car dealer.


You think that’s bad? Some used car salesman threaten to club baby seals if they don’t make a sale.


dealership. The sales people seem like they skew toward the career-hapless, and seem like they’re just as screwed over by the dealership sales model as the customer is. A friend of mine did a brief stint as a dealer salesperson, and the rules were bonkers. Everything is stacked against those poor schmucks. They’re a step away from MLM territory.


I didn’t remember this joke from UHF but knew before clicking this was a joke from UHF.


Story time…

I bought my 2015 Outback 3.6r brand new at a local Subaru dealer. I went in knowing exactly what I wanted and they had 2 available (green & blue…I chose the green). We went in and began the negotiations he gave me the “invoice” price and said “we are willing to give it to you at $500 over invoice” to which I replied…“You can’t do better?”

He began to explain they had to make some money on the car and asked “How much do you want us to make on the car?” my reply: “I want you to take a loss on the car…make your profit on someone else…I want to get the best deal I can. Now, stop wasting my time and tell me your best offer right now.”

They came back with $100 over invoice as the best they could possibly do. I then handed him the Subaru corporate pricing sheet that I got through my employer who has pricing agreements with various auto makers. The price I paid was $1500 below invoice.

He asked me “Why didn’t you give me this to begin with?” I replied…“What if you could have beaten this price? Why would I give you this in the first place and not hold it until I know you couldn’t beat it.”

Moral of the story… they are not on your side…they are on their side and out to make as much money off you as possible. Likely the dealership owner has another sports car or yacht to buy (like a couple of the huge dealer owners here in New England). Screw them and their profit margins, because they are damn sure out to screw us as consumers over.


This pretty much sums up my last car buying experience. The salesperson was very nice and reminded me way too much of Gil from the Simpsons. I still feel like I negotiated a pretty good price. Old Gil really needed that sale.

That said, I still use “I feel like I’m buying a used car” to describe any situation where the other side of a negotiation seems to be acting in an unprofessional or shady manner.


Nicely done. Also in New England and a friend has a similar story but without access to the corporate pricing sheet. Seems the best tactic is to go in knowing exactly what you want and what you’re willing to pay, and if they won’t meet you there, f#$& ‘em.

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I’m curious if car dealers are so predictably sleezy in every country (like Japan? Finland? Sweden? I would doubt it) or if just our laws for “profit any way you can” just make it so

From a negotiating technique standpoint, I don’t think that dealer should have come back with a second price until you put a number out there. You scored twice by getting him to name his price first, then getting him to name a second price without any input from your side of the table. Nice work!


All capitalistic markets work on the principle of asymmetrical access to information. They know the price that they paid for the car but you do not. Unless you have insider knowledge, you are and always will be at a disadvantage.


I can remember sitting in a dealership negotiating on the price of a car. We were not getting anywhere. So while still sitting across the desk from the salesperson, we called another dealership across town, got a price from them that looked good (below invoice), and walked out of the first dealership.


(After the VW dealer put $1k on the price after finding out I was in the financial industry…)

I was wearing an old t-shirt, didn’t shave before car shopping (this backfired the other way, :grimacing: ), sunglasses, bald head and I am naturally 6’8"…

Young sales creature says, while we’re test driving: “So what is it you do?”
Me: “Hard to explain.” (it is… really…)
Her: “In broad terms?”
Me (deadpan): “Let’s just say… I take care of other people’s risks.”
Her (tensing slightly): “Oh…”

I got about $2k off the price of the car… :thinking:

Found out later she did indeed think I was some kind of hit man. :grin:

I also get to use the deadpan expression and “my Dad used to sell used cars” line when salespeople do something stereotypical. True that: New Orleans in the late 60’s, no less.


I witnessed a private seller doing something I thought was kind of shady-- he advertises the car way below market value, I contact him, arrange to come see it, a few hours later he calls me back with “another buyer has made me an offer above what I was asking . . . can you do better than that?” Basically he was treating craigslist like an auction site. I declined to go any higher, and noticed a month later the car was still up on craigslist, called again and he was still playing that game, I wondered if this other buyer was a complete fiction.

I don’t think there’s any car that screams “New England” more than a Subaru Outback.


Another reason I won’t buy a car from a stealership. Right now aiming for a Tesla

When we bought our last car the whole process was disturbingly easy. Our sales guy was the dealership “college kid” (just an act?) who was super accommodating and non-pushy. He quoted us a price for the car we wanted, which actually seemed fair, given my research. I countered with a lower offer which he took, and that was that. On top of it, they even gave us $2,000 for our 12-year-old VW Passat with a failing transmission, which pleasantly surprised me.

I’m sure we got scammed somehow, I just don’t know how.


You bought a new car. QED.