Sad young woman sitting on couch in depression.

Getting Ripped off at the Dealership

A couple years ago there was an interesting documentary following of the going-ons of a Jeep dealership from New Jersey trying to make their monthly goals for an entire month. https://www.thisamericanlife.org/at-the-car-lot

It was a real eye opener to learn that it’s pretty difficult for dealers to make decent profits on new car sales, often relying on their car manufacturer for bonus money if they hit a certain sales quota. You might get a reasonable price for a new car if you play it smart and know exactly how much you should pay using the MSRP listed on the car manufacture website.

The relationship is not over

Let’s say you smartly checked you prices, walked in and got a decent price for a nice new car. Perfect right? Like a parent to a child you will always be connected to the dealership – through a warranty. Lot of times the dealer will tell you that to keep your warranty valid, you will need to get all the car services done by a certified dealer of your car manufacturer.

The dealer always has specials and maintenance packages. Customers often get a false sense of comfort thinking that the dealer can’t screw them, they represent their car manufacturer and they are approved mechanics that won’t void the warranty. So this forced relationship continues, the customer goes for the oil changes and the offered maintenance packages recommended at various driven mile intervals.

You are the Prey

Can’t be that bad right? Well the dealership needs to make profit, they need to eat and like wolves they found a prey -> the poor hard working customer. You drop your car in the morning for an oil change, only to get a call an hour later with a  mechanic telling you things like, ‘Your brakes are dry’, ‘brakes need adjusting’, ‘the engine cover is not sealed properly and may leak’…on and on.

It’s all about fear, you might think ‘I can’t have my children riding in my car with bad brakes, I need this resolved immediately’ and boom… For what was supposed to be a $35 oil change you leave with a $650 bill for brake work you didn’t need.

I’m not saying that all dealers are like this and maybe you actually needed the work. Not everyone has knowledge about cars and you might not have the time, so you end up getting ripped off at the ‘stealership’. A business that you trusted by making a huge purchase only to be screwed over by spineless dealer operators trying to squeeze every penny out of you by hook or crook.

What can you do about it? Some tips below:

Take the time to know more about your car, what are the true recommended intervals to get things replaced or repaired. Know things like driving less than 10000 miles (16000 km) could not possibly warrant a full brake service.

You don’t have to get the repair done right away, if you are still not sure, get a second opinion from 3rd party mechanic

The dealership needs to make profit and they know you are vulnerable when your car is sitting in their garage

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