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Car Dealer Tricks: Won’t Return Keys Or Registration - Part III


“Old school” car dealers tend to use tired and worn out tricks to get their customers to pay more than they should or want to. One of their favorite tricks is to keep a customer’s keys and registration after they evaluate the trade to force them to continue negotiations.

A Rude Experience
There are a lot of variations of this story. The one I’ve heard most often from customers is when the potential car buyer asks for their keys and registration back they’re told the manager has them, that he stepped out for a few minutes, and they’ll be returned when the manager gets back. Of course, in the meantime, the salesperson wants to keep trying to convince the customer to buy the car.

Previously, I explained how my friend Jan found herself at a dealership on the east coast. When she said no to the deal that was presented to her, the salesperson and his manager actually refused to give her keys back until they took another shot at trying to get her to agree to a deal that was obviously bad for her.

Jan’s Story
Jan eventually got her keys and registration back and was able to leave. She was upset and angry that she had been treated with such disrespect. Did she go back and make the deal? Not on your life! Even though I was on the west coast, Jan contacted me because she knew I was Internet Manager for a major car dealer. We had been friends for many years and she trusted my judgment. When she asked if she should return to the same dealership to try and make the deal, I asked, “Do you really want to do business with someone who treats you the way these people did?” The answer was obvious.

I called up another dealer in her area and explained that I was Internet Manager on the opposite coast. I told them that my friend wanted to buy one of their vehicles, and then proceeded to tell them the deal that Jan would accept. I had worked out the figures based on a selling price I knew the dealership would accept, and a trade value that we may have to negotiate. After a brief and successful negotiation on the price of the trade, I emailed the final numbers to Jan.

She printed the pre-negotiated deal out and dropped into the dealership the next day. After showing them the figures, they confirmed the deal, she test drove the car, they did the paperwork, and she drove away in her new car. No fuss. No muss. No “old school” tricks that continue to give the car industry a bad name.

Don’t Let It Happen to You
Even if you don’t work with an “old school” salesperson or dealership, the odds can still be stacked against you getting a great deal on your next vehicle. This, from author L. James Johnson:

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