17 Things Car Salespeople Don’t Want You to Know

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By Jonathan Trent

Car salespeople can be very persuasive, urging you to buy a brand-new car or consider purchasing one you don’t necessarily like. However, there are many secrets that they don’t want you to know; here are 17 things car salespeople want to keep secret!

Negotiation Tactics

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While it may seem that those in the car sales industry are giving you a good deal, they normally start with a high price, expecting negotiation. They will keep the available discounts close to their chest and reveal them at the last minute as a common strategy.

Commission Structure

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As The Guardian notes, you have to remember that everyone at the dealership is after a bit of the commission for selling these products. As car salespeople earn commission, they are likely to incentivize higher prices. To get commissions, they may even try to sell certain models of cars.

Hidden Fees

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Car salespeople like to avoid talking about hidden fees that could dissuade you from buying a car. Most of these fees can be seen in the paperwork stage of the process, despite many being negotiable or unnecessary. So, it’s always best to review the contract!

Financing Tricks

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When liaising with a car salesperson, they may try to convince you to take out a longer loan term which seems good as you will have to make lower monthly payments. However, as your loan spans over a longer period of time, this can equate to higher interest rates.

Limited-Time Offers

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Individuals in car sales will try to urge you to make up your mind quickly by pressuring buyers into making rapid decisions. They make customers believe that certain deals and offers are time sensitive, when, in reality, they may not be as exclusive as they seem.

Upselling Techniques

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Salespeople in the car industry may push unnecessary upgrades or features; in fact, The Independent advises that when selling a car, you enter negotiation confident of your position and the value you are offering. This confidence can lure customers away from sticking to their budget, making impulse purchases and upsells more likely. 

Trade-In Deception

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People working in car sales may undervalue trade-ins to increase profit. In order to deal with these tactics, it’s a good idea to research your car’s value beforehand to negotiate effectively. It may also be wise to consider selling privately for potentially better returns.

Limited Inventory

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As customers, it can be difficult to get an accurate idea of how much stock a car dealership has. Car salespeople will use this to their advantage as they could make claims of limited and scarce stock, which may not always be accurate. Instead, it’s just used to pressure buyers into making a decision.

Overpriced Add-Ons

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Costly add-ons can profit car salespeople who will offer extended warranties and protection plans that are overpriced. Business Insider suggests that you can avoid this pitfall by making sure you know exactly what these additional items cover in advance, asking yourself whether you truly need them.

Pressure Tactics

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High-pressure sales tactics are used by car salespeople to rush decision-making. Rather than letting you take your time viewing a car or considering your options, they will make you uncomfortable or uneasy by hovering around you, asking a barrage of invasive questions. It’s kind of immoral, but it certainly works. 

Inflated Interest Rates

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Dealerships may offer higher interest rates than banks which can drain your bank account and leave you feeling used. To combat this, you should ensure that you check your credit score and shop around for the best rate, instead of just settling for the first rate that you come across.

Targeting Vulnerable Buyers

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Those in the car sales sector will be able to sense weakness in certain individuals. Sadly, they’ll  take advantage of this, especially if they smell inexperienced or vulnerable buyers. They will be able to detect if you have no prior knowledge about cars which is why it is important to conduct research.

Limited Test Drives

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Test-drives can be a great way to determine whether you like a car, and this is precisely why some car salespeople will shorten test drives. By doing so, you won’t get a full sense of what the vehicle is like, distracting you from pitfalls. 

Manipulative Language

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Rather than being straightforward with you, car salespeople will use manipulative language and phrases to convince you to do something. They may even imply that you are in competition with other people for the same car, but this is simply a trick to close a deal.


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It should be no surprise that Forbes highlights the car sales profession as synonymous with dangerously unethical persuasive tactics. One such tactic is the bait-and-switch technique, which is when advertised deals are ‘no longer available’ or misleading. Therefore, it’s important to confirm the details of promotions before visiting.

The “Manager” Consultation

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Consultations with the manager may seem as though you are being supported when you are buying a car, but this could just be a clever sales tactic. These ‘managers’ may offer minor concessions to seem accommodating, when in reality, it’s just a ploy to dupe you into a purchase.

Walking Away Power

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Finally, car salespeople will sometimes make you believe that you can’t walk away from them. They don’t want you to know that walking away is a powerful negotiation tactic, so they’ll do anything to keep you there. Always remember that there are plenty of other dealerships and options available, and that you can walk away at any moment.