Jeep Incapable Of Selling To Man With $24,000 In Cash

It’s amazing the hassle Bruce went through trying to buy a Jeep with $24,000 cash. Even though he’s ready to buy the car outright, the car salesman almost convinces him to finance because that way you get $1,500 back. Total cost of the loan: $31,732…they wanted him to spend an extra $7,132 to “save” $1500. Luckily his mom steps in and saves him from getting taken for a ride. His journey doesn’t stop there, nor does it end with a successful Jeep purchase. They can’t even sell a car to a guy who shows up with cash in hand ready to buy… no wonder they needed a bailout. Full story inside…

As the economy suffers, I am extremely lucky and grateful to have a job. Many friends and colleagues have been fired or laid off and watching the news or reading the daily paper leads me to believe that doomsday is approaching. America is a country with an amazing history and home to people of great pride and resiliency. We will overcome, no doubt. Now that my optimism and I are on the same page I am ready to partake in one of the greatest American luxuries… buying my first new car!

I began the search for my first new car in late 2008 and I became serious about making the purchase this past weekend. I, a responsible consumer, really did my homework and surveyed dozens of makes and models, choosing a car based on four key criteria: American, under thirty thousand dollars, four wheel drive and room for my hockey equipment. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited satisfied my requirements and I had heard good things about the quality of Jeep vehicles. I was at peace with my decision and now onto the easy part; spending my money.

My first step was going to and using the “Build My Own” feature that is prominently displayed on their website. I went through the checklist and chose the most basic features and was surprised to see that this vehicle would only cost about $24,000. Chrysler is offering employee pricing this month along with many other incentives. The stars were aligning and I was very excited and ready to make my purchase. I printed a copy of the Wrangler Unlimited that I just “built” and set out for a dealership.

My normal work schedule is 9-5:30, Monday through Friday. I wanted to visit my first dealership on a Thursday night to lay the groundwork for completing a purchase by the coming weekend. I searched the Greater New York area and the first dealership I targeted was a Chrysler Jeep Dodge located in the Bronx. I arrived at the dealership at about 7 o’clock, and it was empty. I approached the doors, with $2,500 in cash, like I was Captain America, ready to do my part in resurrecting this great country. I was instantly approached by a man who identified himself as the manager and he started talking business. He asked what I was looking for, I explained my situation and he was anxious to get the ball rolling. He sat me down with one of his sales associates, from this point on he will be known as Dr. Doom (for all you non-comic book fans, Dr. Doom is an arch nemesis to Captain America, me), and we began discussing what I was looking for. After 15 minutes of small talk and feature choosing, we were ready. I explained to Dr. Doom that I was prepared to write a check for the full price of the car I “built”, which was $24,000. Or so says My loving mother was kind enough to lend me the money…you see, I come from a long line of people who believe in resurrecting the economy; crazy, I know. So here I am thinking, cue the rose petals, pop the champagne…we have a young man ready to fork over $24,000 up front. Have the Gods sent him to us in our time of need? Maybe there’s hope in this dang economy yet! But nay, there would be no rose petals, no bubbly…a glass of lukewarm water would have been a stretch. After 20 minutes of car-salesman-lingo-slinging, Dr. Doom had convinced me that financing the vehicle would be my best option. Huh? You…you don’t WANT me to just give you the whole thing right now and call it a day? Hold on a second, you’re telling me that I don’t get any incentives if I put a guaranteed $24,000 in your pocket? I didn’t know that car salesmen were so humorous…or is he serious? You’ve captured my attention, Dr. Doom…please proceed. Apparently, Chrysler financial only offers the $1,500 cash back on the car if I finance. I found this odd but nevertheless I agreed. After going through the subsequent paperwork (giving him my social security number, monthly income, age and place of residence) we were ready to go. Next, Dr. Doom uttered a phrase that I would come to know well over the next three days, “Let’s get you into YOUR car.”

Dr. Doom ran my credit and explained that my score would not allow me to get 0% financing. Let me take a moment to advise all of you college-aged readers; credit cards do not equal free money, but I digress. Regardless of this small setback, Dr. Doom still encouraged me to pursue the financing route. I still didn’t understand why. If I could pay the car in full, Chrysler would have a guaranteed $24,000 in their pocket and I would have a car, isn’t that what we both want at the end of the day? Nevertheless I trusted Dr. Doom and decided to ask my mother to co-sign a loan with me; at least this would “guarantee” the car I wanted with 0% financing. Dr. Doom’s finance manager/ evil henchmen, let’s call him Flag-Smasher, said I could get the loan and pay it off in full after 2 months. I thought that was great, now I can get the car I want for even cheaper then I had thought. I left the dealership with a semi-positive attitude and was prepared to bring my mother back on Friday night to complete the purchase. I got back into my 1991 Volvo wagon, affectionately named Steve, and sputtered up Boston Post Road towards my house and then it hit me: I was never given a price on the car. Oh but that’s right, I “built my own” Wrangler straight off of the Jeep website. Whew, that was a close one.

I left work a few minutes early on Friday so I could pick up my mother and get to the dealership before they closed. Steve, my mother and I pull into the parking lot of the dealership at 6:45 pm and upon opening my car door I was met by Dr. Doom. Had he been waiting outside for me all day? Did he propel off of the roof to greet me? You are a wily one Dr. Doom. Regardless of his method of appearance, he escorted us in and offered us bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches. An odd but intriguing selling tool Dr. Doom, however we politely declined. He proceeded to run my mother’s credit with such enthusiasm all the while asking if I wanted to take home the car tonight. “Wow, this is really going to happen and I get to take it home tonight,” I thought to myself as we were invited into the finance office. Wait a tick, Dr. Doom didn’t even ask what color I wanted, and he still didn’t say how much he was charging me for this transaction. I suppose Flag-Smasher would explain everything to me. The three of us talked for a few minutes and finally Dr. Doom presented us with a sheet of paper documenting my new vehicle. Flag-Smasher readily appeared, picked up the phone and wished us luck as he began dialing Chrysler financial; the call was abruptly cut short by my mother. Dr. Doom must have sprayed me with some kind of mind fog (new car scent, if I had to wager a guess); I was applying for a loan, the amount unknown. My mother, utilizing the common sense that I had been robbed of, asked the most simple of questions: “how much of a loan are we applying for?” The disappointment on the face of Flag-Smasher was unmistakable. Was I so anxious to get a car that I never asked for a price? Was the price of the car I so caringly “built” on the Jeep website nothing but a phony ploy to get me in the door? And then I remembered something, something I had heard many times before: Car salesmen are liars. I had simply forgotten that the website is nothing but an electronic car salesman, an e-liar. The number on that sheet of paper in Flag-Smasher’s greedy little hand, displayed in minuscule font, destroyed all faith I had in the rejuvenation of American car companies. $31,732! Didn’t the government just give Chrysler 4 billion dollars? This number shattered my dream of owning a car. I felt betrayed by Dr. Doom and decided to leave on the spot.

I was awoken at 8:43 am on Saturday morning by Flag-Smasher calling my cell phone and asking me to come in for a test drive. I was perplexed, I thought that walking out the night before was an adequate signal of my disinterest. Apparently they were looking at the wrong car and gave us the wrong price, honest mistake. Re-energized and reassured I picked up some cappuccino and Steve, my mother and I headed back to the dealership to seal the deal. Dr. Doom was so happy to see me, I had made his day. After a few minutes of small talk we took the Wrangler for a test drive. Great ride, by the way…I really loved the car. Anyway, we were back at the bargaining table and ready to finalize the deal. Flag-Smasher sat us down and gave us the new number, 29,970. Unbelievable, I politely explained that he had just wasted our time and stormed out of his office. I was so eager to get that car, MY car, that I probably would have considered $28,000 even though had told me that I could buy the car for less. However, on principle, I gave up and decided that they would certainly not get my business.

Stupidly or optimistically, I dragged my girlfriend and her brother to a Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Westchester County. Her brother had purchased a Jeep Cherokee a few months ago. Talk about having the upper hand; $25,000 (I added $1,000 for good measure) in cash and someone who just bought a car at that dealership. Done deal, I couldn’t wait to drive my car home. We were greeted by the same salesmen that had sold my girlfriend’s bother his car. He’ll be Grim Reaper in my little saga, another enemy of Captain America characterized as one who must suck the life out of a human every 24 hours in order to survive. Grim Reaper was with a fellow sucker, I mean consumer, and had us wait for 45 minutes. Just the hospitality and attention my $25,000 demands. Grim Reaper finally came over and told us that he would need an extra fifteen minutes and introduced us to a man that I swear was the old guy from The Mighty Ducks movies, Hans. Anyway, Hans didn’t really know anything about cars but he was assigned the task of showing us the Wranglers that were currently in stock. I was finally reunited with the car that I had fallen in love with on my four and half minute test drive. Hans awkwardly stumbled through a few questions supplied by my girlfriend and then shuffled us back inside.

Hans walked us back into the dealership to meet with Grim Reaper again. He was just finishing up his last meal, I mean deal. He sat us down and offered us coffee and made small talk. Next came business, Grim Reaper said “let’s get you into YOUR car.” It had the same effect as when Dr. Doom said it, my exuberance was undeniable. Jeep, take my money, please. We ironed out some details: hard top, power windows and four wheel drive. I had to endure yet another 20 minutes of Grim Reaper trying to persuade me to finance the car. Oh, remember what I said earlier – about why they want me to finance? Turns out that since the big bail out Chrysler Jeep no longer “needs the money”. I kid you not; this is what I’m being told as I’m trying to force $25,000 onto this man. Regardless, I politely declined financing, explained that this option was not appealing and assured him that I had $25,000 ready to go. Grim Reaper was disappointed but continued to talk business. Again, just like Dr. Doom he shied away from getting into details about the final price until we hammered out all of the “features”.

Initially I was set on purchasing the vehicle in Red Rock Crystal, a nice rugged maroon color. He explained that the only color he had in stock was black, but for an extra fee he could find the color I was looking for. I cringed and accepted black; after all it would get me the deal I was looking for. I wanted Sirius satellite radio; alas the in-stock car was without said feature…but then again for an extra fee…Ok, so no Sirius. I was barely able to squeeze power locks and windows into the deal and then finally, the moment of truth arrived. Grim Reaper had spoken to his superior and the price had been laid out, $28,300. Again, I was crushed. To reiterate, I began my search with $24,000, I knew the exact color and features that I wanted, I priced everything out online at the Jeep website and thought it would be nothing more than walking into the dealership and ordering up my car. Reality: I came up with an extra thousand dollars, accepted a color I didn’t want and just barely escaped a lifelong affliction of carpal tunnel from hand-cranking non-power windows. There must be room for negotiation, right?

After privately meeting with my girlfriend ( she explained that she could no longer handle being lied to and would sit out the remainder of the negotiations) and her brother we decided that I would pay as much as $27,000 for the car. I stormed into Grim Reaper’s office like former President Bush into Iraq (was my persistence as foolish as his?) We battled for another 10 minutes and Grim Reaper got the price down to $27,770 with a remote starter “included” – don’t mistake my words and assume he included it for free; he included it in the price. I was so worn down and prepared to take the offer and run. I called my mother and she knocked some sense into me, “Bruce, you realize that you’re almost $4,000 over the price Jeep themselves quoted you, not getting the car that you want and are paying extra for basic features?” Well when you put it like that…I left with $25,000 burning a hole in my pocket, without a car and with feelings that can only be described as a mixture of defeat (you may have won this round Grim Reaper!) and the disappointment of a kid on Christmas waiting for his parents to surprise him with that puppy he so badly wants.

This has easily been the single worst buying experiences of my life. America, I assure you I am trying to do my part to stimulate the economy. Jeep, I desperately want to give you my money. Did I mention that my 2500 dollars was a tax refund from Uncle Sam?! Jeep, feel free to e-mail me at Only e-mail me if you want $25,000 though. I can have a check ready as early as this Wednesday.

By the way, Grim Reaper called yesterday and offered me $94 off of the price, I respectfully declined.

Please take my money [My Efforts to Stimulate the Economy] (Photo: Ben Popken)


Edit Your Comment

  1. conquestofbread says:

    “His journey doesn’t stop their”

    Grammar Nazi — please check your homophones. :X

  2. Homerjay is offering a reward to the person who finds his missing star! says:

    Maybe if he were the federal government they’d be more than happy to take his money!

  3. downwithmonstercable says:

    I’ve had experiences like this. If I knew I wouldn’t get screwed with a car with tons of problems, I’d totally buy one off ebay to save the hassle of going to a dealer.

  4. snowburnt says:

    That was a cute story and two bad dealerships. Kid needs to get some skeptism before he tries to go car shopping again…If he’d actually purchased the car online, it would have been the 24k, right?

    • yasth says:

      @snowburnt: Or less, possibly much less.

      Anymore the internet is causing a splitting of the markets. There is the price you get when you email your local dealerships, email quotes between them until you get the price you want, and then buy. Then there is the off the street “sucker” price, where the sales tactics are nastier, and they want to get the most money possible. (Of course there is always the sleeper price, that single model in their ad for a great price, which if you camp out you might be able to get).

      Because dealerships assume that anyone who isn’t using the internet to get prices isn’t doing their homework the price paid is likely to continue to diverge, and the scuminess of the tactics likely to increase (after all if you aren’t using the internet to hunt you probably aren’t going to be writing a complaint.)

    • LatherRinseRepeat says:


      Wow, that kid is pretty naive. It’s almost impossible to “build” your car with only the options and features you want. It’s typical for dealers to only order vehicles from the factory with options and packages that are popular in that region.

      As far as I know, BMW and a few other luxury car makers truly allow you to build one up from scratch. But of course that requires a preliminary visit to the dealership and a deposit of some sort.

      Funny thing is that the $25,000 figure was the MSRP on the Jeep that this kid “built” and he was willing to pay it. Who the heck pays MSRP?? LOL

      I think the kid should have taken advantage of the cash-back factory incentive. He should have agreed to take the financing, if the dealer would agree to lower the price some more. Then when his first payment arrives in the mail, call the bank and ask for the pay-off amount. Make the first payment, the last payment. :-)

      • seishino says:

        @LatherRinseRepeat: Why is it naive to think that if a manufacturer will let you build a car exactly to your liking on a website, that they can’t actually then sell you that car in tangible form? For that matter, why would it be naive to think that with clear specs sheets and financing in hand any competent manufacturer couldn’t turn around specific built-to-order car configurations for the consumer the way they do for dealers? Why do they need dealers, really?

        I feel like this is one of many reasons that the car industry is in trouble. Buying a car is one of the least pleasant things you can do in life, and this is just one more example of how. Not terribly long ago, I was looking to pick up a new car. But because I couldn’t find the options that *I* wanted (as opposed to the useless buffers that dealers wanted to pad the price with), and the salesmen were complete asses, I spent half as much and picked up a used Subaru.

        The car industry is in desperate need of an overhaul, and the purchasing process is a major part of that. Live up to customer expectation, or die off like you should.

        • bwcbwc says:

          @seishino: Gah! Stupid, greedy salesmen trying to get their commissions for all the add-ons they can squeeze out of you. I know they’re trying to maximize the commission they get out of the few sales they are able to generate in this economy but WTF? Monkeys with their hands stuck in a jar because they can’t let go of the reward.

        • Dansc29625 says:

          @seishino: I kinda feel like they are going to order new jeeps anyway with how the dealer wants them? So why not order one like this kid wants? Shouldn’t have to pay extra for that. Should have to pay a little down but nothing extra.

    • I_am_Awesome says:

      @snowburnt: He also needs to not carry $25k cash in his pockets, if that’s what he really did. A check is just as good as cash, and if someone mugs you and steals your checkbook you aren’t out $25k.

      I didn’t read the article, but did that loan have any kind of early payoff penalty? He could have taken the loan, paid it off after the first month and ended up with $1500 minus one month of interest.

      • I_am_Awesome says:

        I see he only had $2500 cash. I had scrolled through the article and noticed that he said “I left with $25,000 burning a hole in my pocket” which led me to believe he had it all in cash. I don’t think I’d bring $2500 cash with me either, but that’s a lot better than $25k.

        • captainfrizo says:


          When I worked for a Honda dealership a guy put $9,000 down on a Civic in cash in $20 bills stuffed a bag. It raised some eyebrows to how he had that much cash in $20s, but it was nothing we could ask or comment on.

      • snowburnt says:

        @I_am_Awesome: Every time I’ve gotten a car loan it’s been a low fixed interest and the “remaining balance” was always the cost of the car + the interest. So if I wanted to pay it off early, I’d still have to pay all the interest. Most of the time in my book if I’m not earning extra interest, I’ll just keep paying the monthly payment until it’s done because I’m not saving any money long term by paying it off all at once (sure the $300 might earn a couple cents in a savings account).

        Of course, every time I’ve done that I’ve never had enough money to pay off the principle, so I never tried, he might have been able to.

        But really, this is exactly like walking in with a loan in hand. Kid should have done some research to find out EXACTLY what he would have had to pay and if he couldn’t pay for it with his mom’s loan, he should have had cash in hand ready for it…or put that money down on the bad loan and negotiated prepayment penalties if possible.

        There as a lot more he could have done here, but it was pretty scummy the way they were trying to work him.

        • I_am_Awesome says:

          I only have experience with one car loan, but in that case the payoff amount was the current balance of the loan. It did not include interest that had not yet accrued.

    • Sys Admn says:

      You can’t actually buy the car online. For one thing, the dealers would never forgive the manufacturer, even if it was sold at MSRP, since the dealers make a lot of money on financing. For another, in many states, thanks to the lobbying of dealers, you must have a physical presence in the state to be in the business of selling autos. eBay is in the business of matching buyers and sellers. I don’t know how some eBay businesses do it without getting smacked down.

  5. WelcomeToMyWorld says:

    If Richard shows up with a suitcase full of cash, maybe the dealer thought he was a drug dealer or something. Anybody would be suspicious of that much cash.

    • Aaron Strader says:

      @Harry Pothead:

      No, it’s that there’s no financial incentive to deal with a cash buyer. That margin of profit they skim over on interest is what they’re after by financing a car. Used to be if you had a finance deal or a cash deal, that cash deal would barter some leeway in negotiations, but since they made up crap like leases with mileage caps, 72 month financing, they make money from these sales hand over fist. That cash only sale is just moving inventory at sticker price at best for a dealership. If they can rope you in on financing, they’ll take a good loss on the sticker price if they make up for it in financing. It’s why you see dealerships eager to take on upside down loans for trade in cars, too.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Harry Pothead:

      He didn’t say anything about having “cash” in his pocket. It’s just that a check is nearly the equivalent, when compared to financing.

      You’re better off buying the car you want from craigslist, after taking it to your mechanic to kick the tires. I’ve had a lot of success that way. One might also talk to a local attorney familiar with consumer’s rights. Hard to believe that Jeep can “offer” YOUR vehicle for one price, and then not fulfill it. How can they not know all of the economics involved in the purchase?

  6. cabjf says:

    So he was willing to pay full MRSP(which is what the web site spits out, I assum) and they wouldn’t go for it? Many, Chrysler has some crappy (and stupid) dealers.

    • lars2112 says:

      @cabjf: dealerships can tack on an additional 1-3% on the loan, depending on the state and finance company most dealerships will increase your rate from what the finance company offered and keep the difference.

    • Balfegor says:

      @cabjf: They probably lose money selling the cars up front. Their financing arm is apparently where they get the bulk of their revenue. It’s a stupid business model, but they’re pretty much stuck with their cost structure (inflexible dealer contracts, inflexible supplier contracts, inflexible union wages, and inflexible and inefficient union work rules).

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @Balfegor: Just so we’re clear: it’s the UNIONS’ fault the dealership turned down 24 Large cash?! Uhh, thanks.
        Hey, it’s snowing in Manhattan. It’s the UNIONS’ fault!!

        • Balfegor says:

          @Trai_Dep: “Just so we’re clear: it’s the UNIONS’ fault the dealership turned down 24 Large cash?! Uhh, thanks.”

          Did you not read what I wrote? Unions are only a part of the problem. It’s a combination of dealer, supplier, and union contracts that management locked themselves into decades ago, that are totally unsuited to the present.

          • Trai_Dep says:

            @Balfegor: Last time I checked, being a bone-headed sales manager who lets $24 Large cash to walk out the door isn’t a position listed at any union hall.
            Two of the four factors you listed (1/2 to those keeping track) were union-related. Which in this situation, is quite the stretch.

            Class-envy towards working people who are able to negotiate a fair deal isn’t becoming. Just because you’re unable to singly negotiate a deal better than a group of working people that band together are, you shouldn’t take it out on them (shrug).

    • QuantumRiff says:

      @cabjf: No, they are very smart dealers. My old roomate was a finance guy at a chrylser dealership. The dealership can add up to 3% on the top of your loan rate that they get for you. IE, if their computer says you can get a 5% rate on your loan, they’ll try to get it to you at 8%, then make a “special deal” and knock it down to 7%. They make more off of that then they do selling the car nowadays. Sometimes its thousands, especially on the 5-6-7 year financing some people do. The dealership barely makes any money anymore in actually Selling the car, so they don’t care if you have cash, or have financing already through your bank. (or will be much less willing to negotiate on the price)

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @QuantumRiff: Not so smart, if they let $24K cash wanting to be left in the dealer’s lap walk out the door. Which, I think, is the point of the article.

  7. willdude says:

    When I bought out the lease of my Mazda with cash last year, I got a good 10 minutes of salespeople trying to tell me how purchasing a car is a bad investment, since it depreciates in value, and I should just lease a newer Mazda. After repeatedly saying no, the buyout process was a huge pain in the rear.

    The best part was, when I checked my credit reports months later, I found out the dealer did a credit check against all 3 agencies when I paid the balance in full, in cash, with absolutely no credit required. Thanks, guys.

    • emilymarion333 says:

      @willdude: Since you were planning on buying the car for cash why did you give them you social?

      I bought a car 2 years ago and most of the dealerships in my area wanted to run a credit check as I was walking through the cars..I would not give it to them. Once I found the car I wanted I let them run the credit check. Since I went to about 6 dealerships I would have been screwed if they check everytime…

      • SynMonger says:

        @emilymarion333: Multiple hits in a short period are treated as one check. Credit scoring takes this into account as shopping around for the best loan.

      • proud-infidel says:

        I’m fairly certain regular checks on your credit do not affect your score. I recently bought a house and had somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-20 checks on my credit and my scores stayed the same after it was all said and done.

      • Ixnayer says:

        @emilymarion333: Any transaction over $5,000 gets reported to the IRS so they can stop terrorists from spending lots of money or something like that. So I can understand why he gave them his social security number.

    • HawkWolf says:


      That’s odd. Oh, you bought out a _lease_. I paid off my car loan with cash and all I had to do was cut Toyota Financial a check. So when you buy off a lease, do you go from renting the car from the dealer to actually buying it? I can see how that would get them all over you like buying a car right off the bat would.

  8. Gmork says:

    He sat me down with one of his sales associates, from this point on he will be known as Dr. Doom (for all you non-comic book fans, Dr. Doom is an arch nemesis to Captain America, me)

    Dr. Doom isn’t Captain Americas arch nemesis, that’s the Red Skull.

    • El_Fez says:


      No kidding – talking about blowing all credibility. I wont blame the consumer for not getting a car, but I *WILL* blame him for not knowing basic comic knowledge.

    • GrandizerGo says:

      @Gmork: And for those not knowledgeable of comic book or bad movie remake(s), Dr. Doom is the arch nemesis of the Fantastic Four…

      • Anonymous says:

        @GrandizerGo: In all fairness – he called Dr. Doom “an” arch nemesis of Captain America, and while he is more so of the Fantastic Four, maybe everyone should back-off, focus on the main part of the story, and realize that more people know Captain America and Dr. Doom than you think, which is probably why those two were chosen, along with the careful wording of “an” instead of “THE” (as in the ONLY arch nemesis of Captain America)…

        and no – I’m not the person who wrote this, I just happen to be a comic book fan who thinks you two are giving coming book fans a bad name by being so damn dorky….

        (guess I’m not doing too good a job of proving otherwise though…) haha…

    • jjason82 says:

      @Gmork: Dr. Doom is the Fantastic 4’s arch nemesis, traditionally.

  9. floraposte says:

    I thought he did a great job on his story, and I was particularly pleased with his candor about finding himself falling for various sales tactics amid the excitement. It happens more often than people like to admit.

    • wee0x1B says:

      @floraposte: The guy did his homework, so he wasn’t too noobish.

      What I would have done? Finance the car, get the $1,500 cash off the sale price. Haggle down other fees as needed. Monday morning, send Chrysler a check for $22,500. He gets a deal on the car, dealer gets their money, his credit score improves a bit.

      That’s assuming no pre-payment penalty, of course.

      Of course, the last time I bought a car I inadvertently got the salesman who sold it to me fired. Business is business, though. So what the dealer wound up owing Toyota money for what they sold me? Not my problem they hire incompetent sale guys.

      • soloudinhere says:

        @wee0x1B: Anytime there is an incentive, there is almost always guaranteed to be a prepayment penalty.

        This guy should have gone through an online sales manager. He is the car salesman’s wet dream, in so far as inexperience and excitement goes.

    • KCChiefsFan says:


      I almost fell for it at a Mazda dealership last year. Basically this Mazda dealership in town was about to go under due to awful sales. They advertised an 07 Mazda 6 in the paper for 15k (with power everything, etc), and a phone call confirmed that yes, they absolutely had that model in stock and at that price. I got to the dealership, and met with the guy I had talked to on the phone. He gave me a free coke (oh boy!), and off we went on a test drive. The car drove like a dream, and when we got back to the dealership, he gave me another coke (which was probably a mistake…making me more alert), sat me down in his office, and then left for nearly half an hour while I filled out paperwork. He came back, and sent me right to finance. Great I thought, because I really wanted the car.

      Long story short, the 15k was a mythical price from a mythical land where people put a large percentage down, are previous “loyalty” customers, and are good at making people accountable for their lies (none of this was mentioned in the ad. ANYWHERE. When put to account, you know they just say that they had a car for that price, but sold it. They are snakes in the grass). The actual cost was more like 20k with the options I had just been offered at 15 by their own salesman. I asked them if they had a single car on their lot that was actually 15k, and they said no. They couldn’t even let a Mazda 3 (their lowest model, which is still quite nice) go for 15k, not even without power windows or power seats. They wonder why they are all tanking….this is why.

      I ended up with a Civic, for 15-16ish, with the options I wanted. Honda was more than happy to sell me a car for the price quoted in the paper, and with the financing (like 5%, this was pre-recession) quoted in the paper. I can live with the increased gas mileage over the Mazda, even at the cost of some horsepower.

      (I’m glad that I use my cellphone for everything. No need to worry about them telemarketing me, since I’ve blocked every number they have. Goodbye Ford, hello Honda)

      (oh, and Mazda was pretty much owned by Ford at the time. I don’t think that is still the case, as it seems like I remember a story about Ford selling their stake in the company. Either way, it was a Mazda/Ford dealer, with Ford financing, and it was obvious that I was doing business with a Ford dealership just as much as I was doing business with a Mazda dealership. I’d say “goodbye Mazda” but I’m sure Mazda corporate had nothing to do with a pissant dealership in the midwest US)

  10. lonestarbl says:

    I bought a new car last month and the financing of it was definitely one of the highest points of interest (After actually making the sale). They got me to my desired monthly payment with 72 months (4.9%) and would have been “close” with a 60 month (2.9%). They were definitely under the assumption I was going with the 72 month-er. When I went to sign the paperwork, they didn’t even write up one for 60 months and when I asked for the 60, there was a visible disappointing sigh from the finance guy.

    That extra 12 months and 2%/month would have absolutely reemed me on interest costs.

    True I paid 2.9% in the land of 0% American cars… but who really wants an American car when you can get something better for nearly the same price

    • wee0x1B says:

      @lonestarbl: Here’s a tip: You know that little “Four Square” piece of paper thing they bring out when they’re selling you a car? That’s a tool they use to extract money from you without it being immediately obvious.

      They add in the trade-in in the upper right. OK, you have that settled. Next, the down payment. Yeah, $3,500 is fine. Now, the cost of the car. Right about MSRP, maybe a little less? Great (though it really isn’t since the dealer gets money back from the manufacturer for their loan and so forth).

      You know what’s in that last square? Something you should never, ever, never care about when buying a car: the monthly payment.

      See, they reckon that you won’t be able to do the reverse math to find out how much you’re actually going to pay for that car when it’s all said and done. They’ve been saying “You can afford $400/month, we checked credit, should be fine, great car, new car smell, yada yada yada” and they know you’re focused on that monthly number (since most people essentially live paycheck to paycheck), and not how much you’ll wind up paying in total over the life of the loan.

      When you get into the finance office, they talk about undercoating and alarms and junk you don’t need, and they know you aren’t going to read through the contract carefully enough to see what the final amount you’re paying is.

      What they’ve done is finance you at some ridiculous rate for a ridiculous loan period. You got it right, because you were thinking clearly.

      Next time you buy a car, ask your local bank/credit union for something called an “options contract”. You’ll be pre-approved for a certain amount. Take your letter with you to the dealer, but DO NOT tell them you have financing. It’s none of their business, see, because the only two things that you care about are the trade-in value (if any) and the final price of the car. That’s it. All you have to do is let them haggle with you on those two numbers. And because of this, they’ll be willing to work on it quite a lot you’ll find. You’ll likely get a good value on your trade, and the total cost of the car will be a few thousand below MSRP.

      Tell them that you don’t care about monthly payments. Tell them you can look at their financing later. Tell them you have as much down as you need. The ONLY thing to worry about is the cost of the car, including fees, taxes, etc. You fixate on the total cost, and I guarantee you that they will make it a very very attractive number indeed. And that’s exactly what you want.

      You focus on that final price, and in their heads they’re setting up that little 4-square deal with like a 22% loan over 7 years or some crazy shit. They reckon they can make their money that way, since you’ve haggled the cost of the vehicle to right about what they paid the manufacturer for it, minus the money they get back from inccentives.

      When you get into the finance office, bust out your pre-approval letter and make the sale.

      They’re going to yell at you. They’re going to plead, cry, moan, wail, and bargain. Stick to your guns. You went in there dealing solely with the value of your old car and the value of your new one. They sell a thing, you buy a thing and it should be just that simple. Because that thing has a price, and THEY were willing to negotiate on that price. But the truth is they were the ones who were trying to pull a fast one on YOU. And they’re not going to be happy about you being pre-approved somewhere else.

      Anyway, last car I bought was in summer 2003 and I did this when I bought my new 4Runner. I got full high blue book for my Tacoma. Got the car for $4500 below MSRP. They tried to offer me a loan at %18.7 interest over 7 years. I let them come out with their numbers, too. And then I said, no, I already have a better deal on financing than that. My FICO is around the 800 mark. No, I think I’ll stick with my credit union’s 4.2% pre-approval, thank you very much.

      See, that model came out in fall 2002, and it had been sitting on the lot for like 9 months. I knew they wanted to move it before the 2004 models came in a few months later or they’d never be able to sell it. They were very willing to move around on the price. I yelled about how good a shape my 4 year old truck was in (it really was fairly pristine, with low miles) and so they came up on that amount. Then once I had that number on the sheet, I went into the “need to negotiate the cost before anything” schtick.

      Anyway, take in your homework on your trade-in, the costs of the car you want, a pad of paper and a calculator. If things go south, start running numbers. If they still don’t budge, walk out and buy from another dealership. When you get there, tell them what crap service you got across town, how you had to walk.

      • Prince of Zemunda says:

        @wee0x1B: Long post but great advice. I am looking to get a new car within the next few weeks….must stay…focused…on final price……

      • MissPeacock says:

        @wee0x1B: Great post! I’m going to save it when I have to get a new car soon. My current car is on its last legs, so to speak.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      @lonestarbl: Yeah, I bought a new car last year. I called my insurance company to get a quote on the insurance and they ran the numbers for me on financing. I went to the dealership to actually purchase the car I test drove with an alternative financing plan and they were able to get me a lower interst rate. It was the very first brand-new car I bought. (It had 3 miles on it when I picked it up, the color and model of that car I wanted was on its way to the dealership.) I did lots of homework on it because I was nervous about spending that much money.

      My mom always gets good deals on cars and doesn’t take any crap from salepeople, maybe I should send her with the OP’s mom and I bet they could get a car for him. :)

  11. Raider007 says:

    a couple months back my parents moved across the country, so over the holidays i went car shopping with them… one of the dealers we went to refused to tell us the price till we went for a test drive and started filling out paper work… once they finally told us the price of the USED car we were looking at, i couldn’t help but laugh. anoter dealership in a different part of town was selling a NEW car of the same model for about $500 more…

  12. Trojan69 says:

    The dealers may appear to be moronic, but if their oily methodology works, as it clearly would have on this dude except for an outside agent (his mom), why should they change?

    I am curious to know – did Jeep seriously offer a rebate only on financed cars? I note the dude seemed to have no clue on this point. How could he not? I normally do not like comments that blame the OP, but in this case, he was practically begging to be swindled.

    Is it a snake’s fault if you allow him to bite you?

    • tc4b says:

      @Trojan69: It seemed like he was very honest about being naive, about being ignorant and emotional about the whole thing. In short — I think he’d agree with you.

    • mmmsoap says:

      @Trojan69: I disagree that the dealers are moronic (merely in appearance, or in fact). Actually, I think it’s the kid who had a pretty basic lack of understanding of how things work here.

      He continually mentions how much he doesn’t understand why they’re rejecting a “guaranteed $24,000 in their pocket”. Well, frankly, selling the car for that much doesn’t really do a lot for Jeep/Chrysler. They’ll make more money on the interest of a loan. That’s basic stuff.

      He keeps mentioning why he’s surprised that the dealer would steer him towards something that’s not the best deal for him. Well, duh. The dealers are going to steer him to the best deal for them. Again, basic.

      That being said, frankly he should have considered financing. If he can get a good deal, the interest he can make on the cash via a CD or other savings plan may very well outweigh the interest that he has to pay on the car, making everyone happy. There are also potential tax benefits of doing it this way.

      This kid needed to do a lot more research on how car buying works in general, instead of just researching the particular model he wanted.

      • snowburnt says:

        @mmmsoap: the cash was a loan from his mother, so I doubt she would have let him keep it to play with if he didn’t buy the car.

        If he found out online from Chrysler’s web site that it was going to be 24,000, I’m guessing the dealership got it for much less than that. The kid probably didn’t have the best negotiating face either since he started salivating when they said “your car”, they probably figured they had a grade A sucker on their hands. Good thing Mom had a good grip on her investment.

    • ILoveVermont says:

      @Trojan69: I wouldn’t be surprised if Jeep did offer the rebate only on financed cars…they make a ton of money on financing. The same thing happened to me when I bought my Mazda – I got an extra $1,000 off for financing with them. A month or so later I went to the credit union and refinanced at a much lower rate at no extra cost (in Vermont they can’t legally charge you anything extra for paying off a loan early). So, I got the $1,000 rebate plus a low-cost loan.

    • Bitmapped says:

      Chrysler sometimes offers offers that are good only when you finance through Chrysler. When I bought my Dodge Stratus in 2004, I got an additional $1,000 off by going through Chrysler Financial. (They actually had a competitive rate, too.) This was on top of Chrysler-offered rebates that I could get no matter how I paid.

  13. meechybee says:

    Dealers have a one-script mind.

    I have tons of family in the auto industry so I get the A-plan employee pricing on almost any model car. The pricing is the factory price plus any factory incentives (not the dealer’s) that they offer. The last time I bought a new car, the salesman started to haggle with me and actually told me that I wouldn’t get a better deal than his.

    I had to explain to him that I could walk into any dealership and get the car for the same price as his — his “negotiating” skills had nothing to do with it. After another half hour of him trying to sell me on a car I had already speced out and was ready to order, I left and went to another dealer.

    I can’t imagine why companies who spend so much money on marketing leave the closing up to idiots who think they sell on their sparkling personalities. For my next new car, I might find a way to order it online.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @meechybee: “Dealers have a one-script mind.”

      Great turn of phrase.

    • the lesser of two weevils says:

      @meechybee: “I can’t imagine why companies who spend so much money on marketing leave the closing up to idiots who think they sell on their sparkling personalities.”

      That is so true. I have never met a finance guy who wasnt a total obnoxious jerk. Worse is how they pretend to be this jovial ray of sunshine with rainbows shooting out their asses. I dont know what’s worse between their dumb jokes and drawings of smiley faces (oh yes Im serious) on that foursquare paper “oh, a smiley face! That seals the deal for me!” Complete asshattery, as much as I love cars it’s a pain in the ass to buy one.

  14. shoelace414 says:

    I have one simple question. Why the hell is this the only way to buy a car in America? is buying cars like this in Europe? Why do I have to feel like i’m getting ripped off whenever I make this purchase, which is the largest purchase I make after my house? Why can’t I just buy a stupid car?

    That’s more than one question, but I get angry when I think about it.

    • crazedhare says:

      @shoelace414: It is NOT the only way to buy a car in America.

      When I bought my first car in 2007, my husband and I decided what we wanted (Dodge Caliber), figured out what it should cost with the features we wanted, then searched local dealer inventories for cars. When we found a dealer with the car we wanted, we emailed and said “We would like to buy this car – VIN No. X – for $Y”. He wrote back offering to sell it to us for $Y+ $500. I asked him to disclose all fees, said I would not pay any undisclosed fees. He wrote back with the fees, we negotiated them a bit, and then I emailed back saying I would by the car for our final agreed price. I printed the email, brought it to the dealership, where he greeted me warmly, helped me apply for 0% financing on a 36 month loan (which I got) and I drove away in the car 3 hours later.

      Interestingly, I worked the same way with another dealer who quoted me a price over $2,000 more than the $18k and change price I ultimately purchased. I endeavored to negotiate with him, and he said, in writing “You will not be able to get this car for under $21k, anywhere.” So, I ignored him, and after buying the car elsewhere emailed him a copy of the invoice. He didn’t write back, but put me on his dealership spam list of doom.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @shoelace414: Saturn offered a more consumer-friendly alternative. Of course, GM promptly closed them down for this outrageous offense.

      • Patrick Mize says:

        @Trai_Dep: So that’s why I had a salesman chase me out of the dealership after I politely declined his offer of 5000 over what I was willing to pay.

      • TechnoDestructo says:


        They promptly closed them down for losing money for the last 15 years.

        This might not have happened if they had been building cars that didn’t handle like shopping carts, had head room enough for people over 5’8 to comfortably drive them (a problem on the early models), and didn’t break down at less than half the miles of the cars they were aiming to compete with.

        The recent improvements have done little but reduce the differentiation between Saturn and their other brands.

        • Anonymous says:

          @TechnoDestructo: Wow, I LOVE my Saturn. I’m almost 6′ tall, fit perfectly comfortably in the car for driving and as a passenger (a friend of mine has the exact same car). It has never had any major issues, maintenance has been a breeze and it’s closing in on 115K miles. My 7 year old SL1 has been the best investment I’ve ever made. Aside from my condo facing the park.

    • shepd says:


      Why? It has to do with history. After WWII people wanted cars. Lots of cars. Enough cars that there truly was a seller’s market for cars. You could walk into a dealership and you’d have to pay more than the offer price if you expected to leave with a car. This created a haggling type relationship when buying cars.

      This relationship has endured, even now when we have a serious buyer’s market.

    • snowburnt says:

      @shoelace414: I bought a car from a private seller. I was lucky he was meticulous with the paperwork. Every time he took the car to the dealer he had the documents in order in a folder.

      You will have to do some research with this method and make sure you get the car checked out by a mechanic first (on your dime). Don’t let them get away with a car fax report.

      Also be prepared to take care of the taxes, title and registration yourself (average DMV wait: 3 hrs in NoVA).

      You’ll usually get a good deal and you won’t have to deal with the scum of the earth.

    • jetdillo says:

      @shoelace414: Buying a car sucks as bad as it does because you’re dealing with people who basically can’t make a living any other way and if they don’t suck you dry on the spot, they don’t get to eat.

  15. gttim says:

    No “Buy It Now” button on the Jeep website?

    When I bought my used 2000 Mustang from Carmax, I went through some similar issues. I had found the car online- exactly the way I wanted it. I liked the price. I went down to my local CarMax to pay the refundable transfer fee (if you buy it), to have the car moved to Atlanta from Tennessee. A salesman wanted me to try driving one of the ones on the lot. I asked if he had a blue one with a gray interior, 5 speed and 6 cylinder. We drove one that was green, black interior, automatic, 8 cylinder. Yeah it drove great, now can we get the one I like shipped down. Finally they did.

    Four days later I drove it and was ready to buy. I had already set up financing and had a check. Well, they wanted to try and match my financing. 90 minutes later they had an offer for one more percentage point than mine, from the same company I was using. I declined. I declined anything they tried to add on. Finally I bought my car for the original price.

    I love the car and it has been a very good vehicle. It was a battle to get it, however. The sad thing is that the “salesman” could have sold me the car in 10 minutes and gone on to try and sell another one, but we went through hours of crap. Just stupid.

    • microcars says:

      @gttim: No “Buy It Now” button on the Jeep website?

      When I bought my used 2000 Mustang from Carmax….

      Chrysler/Jeep is the manufacturer and only sells the cars through dealers, you cannot buy them “direct”.

      Carmax is a nationwide chain of Used Cars and CAN link all of them together allowing you to choose from a wider inventory and basically “Buy It Now”.

      • TechnoDestructo says:

        Chrysler/Jeep is the manufacturer and only sells the cars through dealers, you cannot buy them “direct”.

        And they’re probably going to die in part because of this. The dealers are just shitting all over GM and Chrysler (and probably Ford, but I’ve heard less about them lately) and their attempts to recover. They’re the only group with a bigger sense of entitlement than the UAW and upper management in those companies.

  16. jscott73 says:

    I’m sorry but “I had heard good things about the quality of Jeep vehicles.” Really? Where?

    The quality of Jeep vehicles is about as good as the quality of their dealerships.

    I know that wasn’t the point of the article but I just couldn’t get past that statement.

    • SynMonger says:

      @jscott73: Yep, my fiancee has a Jeep Grand Cherokee rotting away in the yard with transmission trouble. The electric system is wired wrong, the headlights turn off if you try to use high beams, and it rattles so much it sounds like it will shake apart.

      • GrandizerGo says:

        @SynMonger: My Ex’s Durango has the headlights turn off when you signal, the dealer tells her that’s how they all are…

        (Note, I think the lights stay on, just dim to a VERY low beam)

    • joe18521 says:


      Given his “four key criteria: American, under thirty thousand dollars, four wheel drive and room for my hockey equipment,” it’s not that surprising that he ended up at a Jeep dealer.

      • heybtbm says:


        Tell me about it. The first thing I thought of was how serious can you take someone who researches their future vehicle extensively….and comes up with JEEP?

        Wasn’t there just an article last week about how Chrysler was DEAD LAST among all auto manufacturers in quality? @jscott73:

      • pegr says:

        As a three Jeep owner (Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Wrangler, currently), I can tell you that a Wrangler is just about the worst car one could ever buy. It’s loud, the stereo is junk, the ride is horrible, and the interior design had to have been created by an inbecilic monkey.

        I’m on my third Wrangler, in fact. All the same, utter trash. ;)

        • joe18521 says:


          Yet you keep buying them…

          (Sorry if I missed a sarcasm tag somewhere.)

        • Ray Wert says:

          @pegr: The Jeep Wrangler is one of the best single-use vehicles around. If you’re looking for a quiet vehicle with a good ride and stereo — what the hell are you doing buying a Jeep? Get your ass into a Prius and shut up!

        • BodeMiller says:


          I thought the interior was by Fisher-Price.

          (Yes, proud owner of ’94 Wrangler. Bought brand new and had about 7 defects from day one: windshield was never sealed, so rain would just pour in; it would not start in cold weather unless I used a blow drier on the starter; I could go on and on.)

    • admiral_stabbin says:

      @jscott73: That’s why my Wrangler is just a toy…

      …but even if you expect them to break (as I do)…it’s still annoying when they do. ;-)

  17. Gann says:

    This reminds me of my last car buying experience.

    Car salesmen, mortgage bankers, Walmart, Ticketmaster, RIAA… I feel they’re all connected in some way. They are the middlemen (leeches) that are sucking the life out of our economy. They begin as a legitimate service, effeciently connecting people to what they need, then inevitably become corrupt and eventually obsolete.

    I this case, I like how Jeep’s “build your own” feature on their website mimics something actually useful and forward thinking, but feeds macierich to the leeches in the end.

    • deadandy says:

      @Gann: I completely agree. They present themselves as being there to “help” you, but they are really lining their pockets and inflating everyone’s costs. You can add real estate agents to your list.

      • Gann says:

        @deadandy: Ah, real estate agents. I can’t think of another profession that could be more easily replaced with a well crafted website.

    • SynMonger says:

      @Gann: The venus flytrap of the car buying world.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @Gann: Yes, Wal-Mart, one of the largest retailers in the world, is obsolete…

    • ChicagoKev says:


      Actually, Jeep was one of the FIRST American car companies to set up a web site where you could “build” and price your vehicle with the options you want, and have it delivered to a local dealer.

      I did exactly that nearly a decade ago, got a model (Cherokee Classic with FT 4×4 and “Up Country” package) no dealer here was stocking — the best they could offer was to have one shipped up from an Indianapolis dealership.

      The “Build” option did take about 5 weeks from order to delivery, and the dealer did ask *once* if I wanted to finance the purchase, never did a hard sell of their financing.

      Back then, the dealership had exactly one youngish salesman who handled the new-fangled Internet thing, and he seemed happy to be making any sales, even below invoice.

  18. GMFish says:

    For the automobile makers to survive they have to dump their dealerships and all the asinine state laws that require we buy cars through dealerships. We should be able to order the car we want directly and have it delivered. All the rude and condescending lies and upselling from the dealer has to come to and end.

    The last car I bought was paid for with cash. I first negotiated a price which I loved. I left to go “talk to my wife for a few minutes.” In reality I went to get a cashier’s check. I came back and they started talking about financing. I said I didn’t need it and stated I wanted it for the price we agreed upon. I gave them the check, and despite the detection of some annoyance on their part, they accepted it and I drove off with my truck at an awesome price.

  19. winstonthorne says:

    The dealerships didn’t have his exact spec in stock so they were trying to sell him the next closest thing. He can always custom order it from Jeep for the exact quoted price on the website, but it will take a very long time. When looking for goods like cars which are each unique, you cannot expect your exact configuration to be available. I used to sell Chevrolets and saw this all the time – the builders on the sites give people the idea that they can get a base with bells and whistles but the fact of the matter is the OEM doesn’t build things exactly like that, so you either have to take fewer features or a higher trim level, which results in a higher price.

    • humphrmi says:

      @winstonthorne: At the first dealership, they offered to order him the features / trim he wanted “for an extra charge”. So they wanted to charge him extra for selling him a car that they didn’t have in stock. Instead, they sold him nothing.

      Absolutely brilliant.

      • soloudinhere says:

        @humphrmi: Actually, my guess is he misunderstood what they were saying. All dealerships require a deposit to do a dealer trade to acquire a customer vehicle. My last car purchase, the deposit was $500 that was applied to the cost of the car once it arrived. Most do not charge an actual FEE to find you a car, since the dealership benefits by getting rid of a car they can’t sell and acquiring one that you have promised to buy.

      • madanthony says:


        I’m wondering if the “extra charge” was that he wouldn’t get the incentives if he had the car built, because rebates and the like usually apply only to dealer stock – they are trying to get rid of cars that they have on hand.

        I am still puzzled by the “car he built” – he doesn’t seem to grasp that just because he “built” the car on Jeep’s website doesn’t mean it actually exists.

        I bought a Ford Ranger a few years ago. I used the “configure and price” tool on their website, after which it came up with an option to “find a similar vehicle at a nearby dealership”. I ended up finding one equipped almost exactly the way I wanted but in a different color, at a dealership right by my house. I went in knowing that they had exactly what I wanted, which made things easier.

    • SynMonger says:

      @winstonthorne: It must work that way, or the website wouldn’t allow it. If it doesn’t, it’s bait and switch, which last I checked, is still against the law.

    • bpclay says:

      @winstonthorne: When I bought my Chevrolet Silverado, I was able to check the dealer stock in the area (and a radius of x miles) to save myself this hassle.

      I sent a fax requesting a “fully-loaded” (car, fees, taxes, etc) price and told them when we agreed I would give them a $1,500 deposit via credit card. It took a few hours of calling back and forth, but I never stepped foot on the dealer lot until I signed my paperwork and drove off.

  20. JGKojak says:

    Its ridiculous-

    I should be able to build a car online, spit out a FINAL PRICE w/no extra fees for CASH and a seperate FINAL PRICE w/no extra fees for financing, ALL ONLINE, and I should be able to bop by the dealer, sign a few pieces of paper and get the car.

    By the way… try CARMAX- I had a great experience there- I’m sure I didn’t get a GREAT deal, but I got a good deal without serious harrassment.

  21. JRB says:

    In reading his article, I can’t be certain, but it sounds as if he wasn’t aware that there are things like taxes and title fees that you have to pay when you buy a car.

    He wanted to just show up and pay MSRP, but that’s not how it works, regardless. Yes you can usually negotiate down the price, but at the same time, the final price you start negotiating at is way higher than the MSRP.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @JRB: you CAN do it if you have cash. i once had $10k and needed a car. after hashing it out with various dealerships and arguing over stupid fees, i walked into another dealership and said ‘show me a car that won’t cost me a penny more than $10k total, including all the taxes and fees.’
      they brought one around, i test drove it, crawled under it with a flashlight, pulled up the mats, etc.
      and then the sales manager took over and tried to tack various fees on. and i said ‘look, i asked for a car that i could get for not a penny over $10k. you brought me this one. i am prepared to pay $10k and not a penny more. AND you’ll cut me two keys, top off the fluids and rotate and balance the tires because there’s uneven tread wear on the front right side. and you’ll deliver it to my house tomorrow by 2pm because i need it to get to work tomorrow.’

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        @catastrophegirl: argh, didn’t mean to submit just yet.

        the sales manager balked, i wrote the check and then held it up…. then said ‘do you want it or not?’
        he took it, i paid exactly $10k for a car with a $14k kelly blue book value.
        it can be done if you make them aware that you are prepared to walk on the deal. and if your saleperson isn’t a total idiot.
        also, i was car shopping at 9:30 at night on the 31st of the month. they get desperate

        • JRB says:

          @catastrophegirl: But it wouldn’t have been the car that you built for yourself on the website with all the options found there. You weren’t looking for a car that you already knew the price of. You’re talking about fees that can get over 10% of the price of the car. This guy appears to have been an uneducated consumer (despite protestations to the contrary) and he is wallowing in his ignorance.

        • jake7294 says:

          @catastrophegirl: That’s exactly how you do it, I think! Very cool, good job!

      • jake7294 says:

        @catastrophegirl: You are so cool.

  22. TEW says:

    That is the kind of crap that makes people think car salesmen are the scum of the earth. @willdude- I love it when they say you need the extended warranty or buying a car is such a bad investment. It really makes you think that you are buying a piece of junk. It makes me want to tell them that if it needs XYZ then why would I want it?

  23. DjDynasty says:

    I once purchased a mustang convertible for $18K out the door, middle of the summer when they were trying to move them for $25K. I wrote the check and handed it to them, and said make it happen.

    • AnonymousFinger says:


      People need to realize that’s how its done. When I buy I new vehicle, I do my research, check dealer inventories and decide what I expect to pay. Then you just tell the salesperson “All I want is a simple yes or no!”. If it’s yes, you buy, if no, move on to the next dealer. I have never had to move on to the next dealer yet.

      • Goldenthorn says:

        @AnonymousFinger: Exactly. This is how my family has always purchased cars. Purchased anything the price of which could possibly be negotiated, actually.
        I remember, back in ’93-’94, my father wanted a porsche 911. So my parents did their research, looked up years and prices, etc. They looked for months, and finally found the exact one they wanted, an ’89 model or so (it’s been so long I don’t remember the exact year). My father and the dealer were talking and talking; they couldn’t come to an agreement. My mother finally just wrote out a check for $12,000, threw it on the salesman’s desk and told him “take it or we leave.”
        And my father ended up driving home in his new toy.

  24. Skellbasher says:

    Typical dealership nonsense.

    Dealers want you to finance because they get a kickback for ‘referring’ you.

    Consider the 2 options for them.

    1. Sell the car for $24,000 cash. (Or, a $24,000 check from a loan drawn somewhere else.) The dealer makes a fixed amount of profit on the transaction, and they’re done.

    2. Sell the car with dealer offered financing for $24,000. The dealer makes their profit on the sale, AND gets a kickback from the financing company.

    Put simply, they end up making more money if they can get you to finance.

    Kudos to this person and his mom for not caving in and taking their check elsewhere.

    • DH405 says:

      But he doesn’t WANT the financing. So their options are..

      1. Sell the car for a $24000 check
      2. Don’t sell the car.

      Also, I don’t think the financing would have been a HUGE deal if they gave him the price he had from the website. Sure, finance it and then buy it for cash a couple months later to get the incentive, but that only works if they don’t try to screw him in the meantime.

  25. exconsumer9 says:

    A fascinating study in the nature of modern finance. You see, the extra cost of the loan is supposed to be to offset the risk taken by the creditor. And the whole point is that the extra money that the dealership would get from agreeing to finance isn’t just a bonus for them: the interest rate and payment schedule should be to cover those who default. But here we see that they artificially inflate the amount of risk they believe the customer to be to charge an increased rate. If that’s not true, cash would be preferable to credit.

  26. waltcoleman says:

    Remind me again why we’re handing over billions and billions of taxpayer dollars to these sleaze bags?

  27. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Had a similar experience with a Toyota Dealership a few years back… I knew what I wanted to buy, went in on a Saturday, and couldn’t get any of the sales folk to acknowledge my presence. I couldn’t interest them in talking to me. Every time I saw a salesperson with their thumbs up their bum, I would approach them and they would disappear. I wondered if maybe I looked threatening, or uni-bomberish, but I didn’t.

    Finally, pissed off, I sat at the receptionists desk, rifled through for a pen and paper, wrote a note, taped it to her terminal screen and walked out. During the hour I was in the showroom no one said anything to me, or acknowledged my existence. This was to be a cash purchase I knew the price I was going to pay, I saw the vehicle I wanted on the lot… Told Toyota Canada of my experience and they suggested they would talk to the dealership… never heard back on it.

    Oddly, while driving to the other Toyota dealership, I chanced a stop at VW and bought a vehicle from them. So at least there is a happy ending as I still love driving my New Beatle…

  28. dako81 says:

    Not to talk down about the OP, really, but something he should have been told is that dealers have on their lot what they have. The vehicles have a window sticker in them with everything already added up, with an appropriate MSRP right there. It’s got all the options, features packages, etc. that are included on that specific vehicle.

    Generally, they’ll have some base models with little or no options, some midrange ones with variations, and then ones that are loaded up.

    You can either decide to like one on the lot, or you can have them order you one, wich takes a few months to actually get it, because instead of some arbitrary build sheet made up by the manufacturer, they build it off of your specific build sheet.

    Either way, the dealer doesn’t have to “add up” the options and features, most of which come standard anyways. You can however purchase some options and have them dealer installed like step rails or a soft top.

    It made it seem like he thought they were going to throw in power locks and windows like they had to install them as it came out of their show room assembly line.

    Next time he should locate a vehicle via that he would be happy with, call the dealer that it is at, say you’re coming to look at it so they don’t sell it before you get there, and have a printoff of the window sticker with you that you got rfom the website. Then offer thousands below the bottom line on the window sticker and dont budge.

    Good luck, because they are all still crooks.

  29. JustThatGuy3 says:

    I really don’t understand this story – it’s not very coherent. What vehicle was $24k? Were the prices there were coming back with for the same vehicle/trim level (i.e. were you talking about the base, and they were quoting the Rubicon)? What was the $31k+? Was that the price of the car, the total of the payments including financing, what?

    The OP should head to – lots of useful info on the buying process, and a good indicator of (about) what you should expect to actually pay. With some negotiation, you can probably get a modestly better deal, but not hugely.

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @JustThatGuy3: From what I can tell, he doesn’t understand loan payoff vs overall payoff. If he HAD gotten the loan, paid the money into it, then he probably only had 2-3 grand left after.

      Its only 31k if he took the full length of time to pay it off because of incurred interest.

    • kingmanic says:


      Basically I used the points you pointed out and got:

      A 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5s automatic (no extras) for $25,000 CND including taxes, freight, and 1 useless value ad (component etching). MRSP including taxes and freight was 27,334.65CND. I also got 0% financing on the remainder. I may have been able to go lower but my car was wrecked in a crash and needed wheels fairly badly.

  30. AldisCabango says:

    He should have got the loan, along with the extra rebates/incentives/discounts for financing with them then 1 month later pay off the loan.

    A lot of car dealers offer extra discounts when you finance because they do make money off the financing.

    In the end if they wont take cash walk away. Dont waste time haggling, just walk out the door.

  31. UnicornMaster says:

    dude’s pretty brave to walk around with $25,000 in cash in NYC.

  32. ViperBorg says:

    Given the problems I’ve had with my Dodge Caliber. Trust me, go elsewhere. Ugh.

  33. purseho says:

    this happened to me when I bought my car at a Honda dealership 4 years ago. They said i should just put the cash in a savings acct while financing the car and making money off the interest from the savings. i started yelling at the MANAGER for telling me this b/c he obviously doesn’t know how to do math.

    Then they bring out some salesman, who just happens to be the same race as me, and tried to get him to convince me to finance a more expensive car than what i was asking for.

    they are all shysters! :)

  34. AlexTNOA says:

    My parents tried to buy a Jeep Compass in 2007, and had, in fact, gotten a price they agreed with and paid a down payment. They had a blank check from their employee credit union (they both have stellar credit) to pay off the car, which was supposed to be built to their specs and arrive in 6 weeks. 6 weeks later, the dealer said it would be another 2 weeks before the car would be ready. 2 weeks later, the dealer again said it would be another 2 weeks. My father asked for his down payment back, received it, then went to the Nissan dealer and drove away that day with a brand new XTerra.

    No wonder Chrysler needs a bailout. They seem to have an aversion to taking people’s money.

  35. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    He may have better luck, though he’s “fallen in love” with the car he test-drove, to buy a car from a company that isn’t flushing itself down the toilet.

  36. Jim Topoleski says:

    First problem, he is buying a new car as his first ride. BIG NO NO. I didnt get my frist new car till I was over 25, and only THEN it was because the deal they gave me ultimately beat my expected hassle and maintenance cost of a used car, especially one I planned to keep for over 10 years.

    Second, he is getting a Jeep… Im sorry, if you REALLY want a truck based vehicle like that, the only thing worst than a Jeep is a Hummer. New Jeeps are not the Jeeps of old, they fall apart like crazy and you would actually be better off buying a used model from the 90s when they where better constructed. Not to mention you likely have no need for a Jeep and only like it cause your buddys have em, wait till you pay for gas on it.

    Third, MSRP does NOT equal how much your actually going to pay for it. You have Taxes Titles Fees to deal with, some negotiable, many legally required depending on your states emission laws and the like. Being a Jeep you will also likely have to pay a tax for not buying a fuel efficient vehicle.

    Lastly, Chrysler doesn’t GIVE A SHIT. They sold the car, the deal has to buy them from Chrysler before they themselves sell them. For all Cerberus cares, they sold the car already, its the dealer who sucks.

  37. SanDiegoDude says:

    Salesmen need to feed their families too.

    Somebody needs to sit this kid down and teach him the finer points of haggling. Price comes FIRST, not last during the deal. The funny thing is, he had inadvertently followed one of the guidelines from my vehicle price haggling checklist… Never ever ever make the deal done in 1 visit. Always leave and tell the dealers you are concerned about the price, and to call you later on while you shop around for a better deal.

    I brought my fiance’s 20,000 asking Scion down to 14.5k that way. =)

  38. Silversmok3 says:

    It makes sense-dealers dont make a lot of money from cash sales.When theres a financial contract generated, they can sell it to the bank for profit+the base profit from the car itself.

    When paying in cash, dont deal with the line salesman, because once they go to the manager the’ll be pressured to convert the sale into financing and/or extras.

    Dave Ramseys site had the exact numbers, its was something like $200 for a cash sale, and $1000 if there was financing involved.

  39. rdm says:

    I have had a similar experience with trying to get a promised price from an area Volvo dealer, so I don’t think this is isolated to American dealers. I told him that the price (well, payment) was too high and that if we were going to come back after work they better cut us a *Deal*. Oh, yes, we’ll work something out. What they worked out is about $3 off the monthly payments over a 7 year term. Then when we left he called me on my cell and offered another $500 off a $45k car. No sale!

  40. GTI2.0 says:

    You finance the car. Get the $1,500. Pay it off immediately. Total financing cost: $0.

    It’s pretty simple math and the dealer was trying to do him a favor.

    • lalaland13 says:

      @GTI2.0: How is charging him an extra $7,000 for him to get that “savings” doing him a favor?

      • captadam says:

        @lalaland13: The extra $7000 comes over the life of the loan–and if he pays the loan off immediately (assuming no pre-payment penalty), the cost of his loan is $0.

      • Blueskylaw says:


        That extra $7000 cost is only incurred if he goes through the full term of the loan (the interest he would have paid on the loan)
        If he gets $1500 off for taking the loan and then immediately pays the loan off – voila, there is no interest.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        That extra $7000 cost is only incurred if he goes through the full term of the loan (the interest he would have paid on the loan)
        If he gets $1500 off for taking the loan and then immediately pays the loan off – voila, there is no interest.

    • joe18521 says:


      That is exactly right. A dealership also offered me the same “financing” option last year, which basically would’ve landed me the extra rebate for free when I pay off the entire loan within the first month. Too bad they couldn’t get the exact car I wanted.

      I think the OP was just too uninformed to probably understand the transaction.

    • forgottenpassword says:


      A number of years ago I heard that some loans have penalties written into them if you suddenly pay them off in full.

  41. Anonymous says:

    This kid is making all the classical mistakes on first car buying.

    1) You must include tax and licensing fees in with the offer amount.
    2) Even if you built your ideal car you have to remember that dealerships purchase a wide arrange of vehicles with different upgrade packages. You may not be able to find exactly what you are looking for on a lot. (Color and options)
    3) Never buy MSRP. This price is inflated. You have to know what the dealer cost is on the car and negotiate a percentage or fixed dollar amount above what the dealer actually paid.
    4) Be ready to walk out of several dealerships. Get what you want and not what the salesman wants you to purchase.
    5) Try buying from the dealerships internet/fleet sales force. Several dealerships will have online sales. These guys do not work off of the same commission table the “Lot Sharks” do.
    6) Turn down extended warranties and “Teflon/Scotch guard” detailing. The latter one is pure profit for the dealership. Know the total cost of the vehicle. They will try to slip these “up sales” in.

    Remember you are the one bringing money to the table. Buy what you want. It is fine to understand that the dealership needs to make a profit off of the sale, but do not allow them to take too much over what is fair.

  42. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    @QuantumRiff: Still doesn’t make much sense for the guy to stonewall you, considering if you walk off the lot he gets $0.

  43. billsquared says:

    I showed this to a co-worker who has ties to Chrysler, and he offered up a less-insidious explanation: In NYC and environs (as well as some other places, I’m sure) dealerships are actually PROHIBITED from accepting more than about $5k cash for a vehicle due to the prevalence of… shall we say “family” money.


  44. Nick says:

    That’s exactly right. As long as there is no prepayment penalty, take the financing and the incentives, then pay off the car as soon as you can.

    Recent college grads often get $500-$1000 off as long as you finance through the manufacturer. I (and friends of mine) have financed just to get the cash back then paid off the car within a few days. Plus, if the salespeople think they’re getting a commission from the loan, they’ll probably give you a slightly better price on the car.

  45. Whitey Fisk says:

    He did his research and settled on a Chrysler?

  46. mbnovik says:

    Long time ago back in college worked for as a car salesman for a while. One of the things that I learned is that most of the people buy the car on emotion – they don’t care about depreciation. Another amazing fact is that most of the people don’t care about the bottom line. They care about how much the car cost, but then it comes down to how much they pay monthly. So if you structure the deal in a way that it’s just lasts long and don’t care that the car would turn into a pumpkin, you can move some metal…

  47. cubejockey says:

    I bought my Jeep lease out last year. I felt like I was being frisked by the border patrol for not wanting an extended warranty.

  48. bdgbill says:

    Every car salesman in Vegas has stories about bleary eyed people buying brand new cars with bags of cash. There is a form that has to be sent to the IRS but there is no reason it should be complicated.

  49. captadam says:

    I just bought the second car of my life a few weeks ago, and I financed it. But I will NOT NOT NOT finance through the dealer. I was approved for a 60 month loan on a used car at 4.99% APR through my credit union. (Yeah, I told myself I’d never again do a 60-month loan, but, well, hey … ) One dealer started to talk monthly payment rather than total price (not cool), and he was mentioning the financing he could arrange. He seemed pretty stunned when I told him the deal I had and didn’t push it any further. Even so, the guy was an ass, and I didn’t buy from him.

  50. cfs says:

    Er, I’m not sure what the big deal is. Supposing the loan had origination fees or early repayment penalties, if they were less than $1,500, he could have simply taken out the loan, gotten the $1,500 discount and then just paid it all off at the first invoice.


  51. aristan says:

    My googlefu tells me that the tax rate in White Plains, NY is 8.125%. With just tax added to his purchase, his total comes to $25,950.

    New York State also charges a registration fee based on the weight of a vehicle. The Jeep Cherokee/Liberty (I’m assuming he did not go for the Grand Cherokee) weighs 4033 pounds. Tax on a 4033 pound vehicle is $55. Westchester County, where White Plains is located, requires an additional $60 every two years for “Vehicle Use,” the first payment is due when you buy the vehicle.

    Oh… a Liberty is a 6 cylinder vehicle? New York wants $26 for that. And $50 for the title. And $15 for your tag. All due when you buy your vehicle. Oh, and there’s $45 bucks for documentation fees. That’s a fee that the state allows the dealership to charge because they fill out a bunch of paperwork and process it for you. It actually saves you time. Costs you 45 bucks, but saves you time. It includes things like having things notarized, filed, etc.

    And Jeep charges $750 for a “delivery fee”. You have to pay for the car to get to the lot.

    So now we’re at $26,951, just adding fees charged by the state and county. I’m sure there are other dealer fees that are added on top of all this. And I’m sure that there was a disclaimer on Jeep’s website explaining that $24000 was the price before dealers fees, sales tax, and possibly after applied rebates.

    Going onto we see:

    * Chrysler Financial bonus cash for qualified buyers when financed through Chrysler Financial. Not all buyers will qualify. (This is a $1000 rebate)

    ***** Employee price discount shown is only an estimate and may not be available on all vehicles or in all locations. Dealer participation is optional. See your dealer for details. (This is worth $2,000 on a Liberty)

    Plus there are several rebates mentioned & available that you only get if you’re either a current Jeep owner, an owner of a similar model from a competitor, or currently finance a vehicle thru Chrysler Finance. These are mentioned and calculated on the website, even though you can’t have them without meeting those conditions.

    So, basically… You didn’t bring enough money, dude.

    • jake7294 says:

      @aristan: You did a lot of research for a comment section on a website. If you click through and read the entire article, he does put in an email address. Maybe you could put all of your research to good use…

      • aristan says:


        Not much research at all. I have strong googlefu and frankly most of the fees were listed on New York State’s DMV website, the tax rate in Westchester county was easy to find, and has a chart for Doc fees for every state.

        See, I did a little bit of research, it took me about 10 minutes to find all that info. If this person had done a little bit of research before he attempted to throw $25000 in cash at someone, he’d have learned all of this as well.

    • snowburnt says:

      @aristan: if 24k is msrp, he could have talked them into getting it for around 25 k with all taxes and fees put in.

      It’s not a cherokee, it’s a wrangler, a bit of a smaller car. Also he might be able to handle the registration and things on his own without going through the dealer. It’ll be more of a pain in the ass, but he might not need the money then AND he can do it on his own with out the dealer charging a massive premium.

      better yet, he could say, alright give me financing…here’s a $25k down payment. With the $1.5k cash back that brings my balance to…what, $500? I’ll close that next week plus the .0005% interest it would have accrued in that time.

      • soloudinhere says:


        My state pretty much does not allow you to file the paperwork yourself. $40 is reasonable to pay to get one of THEIR guys to sit at the DMV for four hours to file paperwork.

        That said, here’s the problem with building a car online. You can pick and choose components, with zero guarantee that chrysler ever built a car with that combination. What you see on the lot are “commonly equipped” vehicles–commonly equipped usually meaning either the stripped model, or the loaded one. He wanted the loaded one without a few things, and in a particular color.

        You can NEVER be that particular when buying a car off a lot. If you want that exact car, for that exact price as shown online, you gotta get the dealer to order it for you.

        Now, if there’s a car on the lot with maybe a few EXTRA features, or you realize you can punt on a few (like not paying $400 for a sirius radio) you can start bargaining to get that car for around the price you saw online.

        Since he can’t bargain, he should have paid the DEPOSIT (usually not a fee, but the deposit towards the car) and done a dealer trade to get the particular car he wanted. He doesn’t have the experience to get the better car for the same price.

        ALWAYS take someone who is a good negotiator with you, and make sure that person either a) HATES the car that you want to buy or b) HATES car salesmen in general. Works out great every time.

      • soloudinhere says:

        Also, you can’t finance with a $25k down payment. They will typically only finance you with 50% or less down, and there is a penalty equivalent to your incentive plus some for early payoff (usually you have to hold the loan for at least 2 mos) plus the loan would have still been for $32k since he isn’t so good at paying attention.

  52. spoco says:

    I bought my last car with cash and learned this lesson. Do not tell them you have cash.

    I built my Acura TSX online – $30,250 with every feature I wanted. To my surprise, I found one at my local dealership that had everything I wanted and a couple of options I could live with or without, with a MSRP/sticker prise of $30,790. Right color, right options, picked the wife up on Friday afternoon and went to the dealership.

    Got in for a test drive and knew it was the car I wanted. Expected some room for negotiation and got the price down to $27,000. Told the guy I wanted to think about it (but I didn’t – I was estatic) and went to dinner with my wife. My wife suggested that I try to get it for even less but be willing to pay $27k – my little negotiator. Went back to the dealership and said $26,200. He went to his manager and came back at $26,700 and that was as good as he could do.

    I said we have a deal. He proceeded to hand me a finance application and I told him that I would return Saturday morning with a cashier’s check, I was paying cash. Oh no, he says, I cant give you that deal if you are paying cash. I asked why not and all he says is I assumed you were using Honda Financing. I reminded him that he never asked and what difference did it make how I was paying for it.

    His finance manager came in and gave us the same crap. I left, went back the next morning and the general manager came back and said the best they could do on a cash transaction was $29,900. A full $3200 more than I was quoted. I refused, walked out, went to another dealership and was told a similar song and dance.

    Apparantly paying cash makes you a bad consumer. I waited about three months and ended up with a slightly used TSX with all the options I wanted for $22,000.

    • GTI2.0 says:


      The dealer makes a large chunk of their income from finance commissions – so much so that they’ll sell a car at cost on the assumption that they get their commission back from the finance company.

      • Jim Topoleski says:

        @GTI2.0: interesting enough, in NJ as long as they have the contract drawn up, they can not turn it around and say no because you say your paying cash. Its actually illegal if they did.

  53. cametall says:

    I bought a Chevy Cobalt back in August and one of the first things I did was come up with a price range. The salesman was great staying in that range and I paid about $1000 less than I expected.

    They even lowered the price when I suggested I’d like a different color car than what they had on the lot (honestly I didn’t care). The color I suggested I wanted was over an hour away in Miami (this dealership will drive vehicles from lot to lot to be purchased).

    You just have to squeeze them.

  54. aristan says:

    @catastrophegirl: But this isn’t a similar situation. This guy didn’t go in and say “Sell me a $24000 vehicle. He said “I want in a Jeep with Satellite Radio, in a particular color, and a remote starter! And I want it now!”

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @aristan: yeah, i was just responding to JRB about negotiating the price. This guy doesn’t seem to have been negotiating at all from what i read in his blog.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @catastrophegirl: Can I take you with me the next time I’m in the market for a car? Puh-leeeease?!

        • KyleOrton says:

          @Trai_Dep: Don’t forget to ask for the all-weather floor mats. The best way to feel good about the car purchase is to negotiate the right price, negotiate the right trade-in value, negotiate the best financing (if you go through them) and then BAM “Now I needs me those sweet rubber floor mats. Fo’ free.”

          I can’t help it. Every time I look at my floor, it makes me warm inside.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          @Trai_Dep: hehe, the last time i had to buy a car [the one i have now] i made the dealer pick me up at the bank. that was fun.

  55. tc4b says:

    @aristan: That may be true, but the more consumers that walk out based on exorbitant fees, the sooner we get to honesty in car pricing. The last new car I bought, they tried to sneak in $100 car wash fee. I said give it to me dirty if it’s going to cost that much. They took off the fee so quick it was obviously just a money grab, and my Civic was immaculate anyway when i drove it away.

    • aristan says:

      @tc4b: The fees I mentioned are not stuff that the dealership just added because… they’re required by the state of New York and the county of Westchester and the city of White Plains. Even if the dealership tacked on “extra” stuff, it only came to a grand total of about $800. And we don’t know what those fees were for.

  56. N.RobertMoses says:

    Perhaps the dealer was getting some sort of kickback from the loan company?

  57. Anonymous says:

    Well not meant to justify sleazy car salesmen, but the article doesn’t mention sales tax, questionable delivery fees, tiltle and registration fees that are added onto the price of a 24K vehicle which easily could push the price up. Why he didn’t just order the car he built online, instead of trying to pick one off the lot is beyond me, since he wasn’t trying to get an even lower price – which IMO should be easily accomplished when buying off the lot.

  58. Swervo says:

    I bought myself a new 2006 Mazda MX-5 in cash a couple of years ago, and had almost the complete opposite experience. I went in with cash (it was about $25K for the GT with every option except for traction and stability control, which aren’t so good for autocrossing) and while they offered financing, they didn’t try to persuade me at all. They also went out of their way to find the exact car I wanted in the color I wanted with the options exactly as I wanted and had it shipped up from San Diego for free. The car showed up two days later, I handed over my check, and drove off in my new toy.

    That being said, that Mazda dealership and the only other Mazda dealership nearby both shut down within a year of my purchase. I guess it doesn’t pay to treat customers with respect…

  59. ryaninc says:

    Car salesmen make a LOT more commission if they are able to get you to finance. Plus the dealership gets more from the mothership if they get you to finance. It is absolutely a last resort for them to let you pay cash. They do not want cash, plain and simple.

  60. EricaKane says:

    If you are paying cash, there is no reason not to finance the car initially to get the dealer incentives. Just finance the car, and send your “cash” payment straight to the finance company. I don’t understand why this is so difficult.

  61. bohemian says:

    I would drive to Detroit to buy a car if it meant not having to go through all the nonsense dealers pull on people.
    New cars are actually a dis-incentive. Buying a used one away from the dealerships was less of a hassle. The last one we bought at a dealership was a nightmare I don’t care to repeat.

  62. Saboth says:

    Wow, I can’t believe I read the whole thing /takes some Tums. Nice story. It is pretty unbelievable that the author was unable to find a car priced correctly and at the rate he expected to pay. Most of these dealers are supposedly offering 2,000-4,000 off on cars and 0% financing. It makes me sick to think we are bailing out these idiots. It’s obvious their salesmen are working as if they aren’t about to go bankrupt. Their unions act like they don’t have to negotiate either, despite the fact they might not have jobs tomm. I say let them all burn. GM, Chyrlser, and everyone else taking Government money…down the tubes.

  63. Vhalkyrie says:

    I tried to buy a car last year. I had a nice down payment, was ready to buy, and the dealer would not budge on the price. They wanted 5% over MSRP. I said no way, I’ll pay 10% over invoice. They said they don’t deal because they don’t have to – they can sell every car on the lot because of their excellent reputation. I walked off, money still in my pocket. Even in this down economy, car salesmen can’t sell me a car because they will not negotiate. Don’t tell me it’s because of the credit crunch – I’ve got money to buy a car. They’ve forgotten the basics of selling – it’s only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. I don’t pay MSRP, and definitely not over MSRP, for a car.

  64. Daniel Munoz says:

    Quite frankly I couldn’t get through the second paragraph; his cloying, incessantly self-referential writing style made me tap out before I could get to the consumerist issues

  65. nataku8_e30 says:

    @catastrophegirl: sounds like your car could probably use an alignment, not just a rotate / balance

    @aristan: Um, dunno when the last time you went in to buy an American car, but last time I went to the dealer, they pretty much start out offereing at least a grand below the post incentive price you get with a vehicle builder, and that was for economy cars in the 13-15k range. I’d guess that with a 24k vehicle, they should be offering you about 2k below MSRP – factory incentives without any bargaining, unless for example you walk in there offering to pay sticker… I’m also guessing that maybe that 31k # was after all of the financing fees and accrued interest over the term of the loan, but not sure since they usually try to keep that information completely hidden from you, and just tell you your payment and number of months you’re financing for.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @nataku83: actually i think they did do that. sorry, it was about 6 years ago, so i forgot that. excellent point though, because that’s why they didn’t get it done until later the next day and i had to borrow a car to get to work

  66. satoru says:

    I’m not sure what the utility of buying a Jeep would be in Boston though. You hit one pot hole in a Jeep and the wonderful shocks and suspension will cause your brain to fly out.

  67. BridgetNemesis says:

    Time to get rid of independently owned dealerships. Cars should be fixed price and sold directly by the manufacturer, cut out the middle man already.

  68. Starfury says:

    We bought our Sienna through the Costco website (2006). Even with this “no hassle” process it still took us hours in the dealership to buy the car and we were paying cash.

    Overall: buying a new car sucks. There’s no way around it.

  69. balthisar says:

    Wow, what a crappy experience. I don’t know if I just look like I know what I’m doing or not, but I’ve never had these kinds of stupid games played on me. Does the author look like a sucker or something? I’m not saying he is one, but something makes these salesmen creepy.

  70. DanGarion says:

    Sometimes some people, try WAY TO HARD to be funny when they write things. This is one of those times. Plus how much of an idiot is this guy? You don’t make the car and go to the dealer. You work with their internet sales/fleet department and get the price in stone before you head to the dealer. You never deal with them at the dealer. (Purchased last three cars this way and never paid more then what I was told before I arrived at the dealer…)

  71. Collie says:

    Why not take the finance offer with the rebate, and then pay the note off with the first payment. That is what I did when I purcahsed my GTI. Got $2000 off the negotiated price, sent a big check once I received my payment invoice. I even earned 5% interest on $22000 for a month sitting in the bank.

  72. Nillard says:

    I had a similar experience, sounds about the same. I recently totaled my car, and tried to pay with cash to get a new one. Everywhere here turned me away or heavily pushed financing.

    Luckily I found someone selling their car privately who was happy to take cash.

  73. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Jeep Incapable Of Selling To Man With $24,000 In Cash

    Well, I guess I’m just screwed.

    Why didn’t they try to get him interested in a cheaper vehicle instead of trying to make him spend money he didn’t have?

    • SynMonger says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: Because they make a kickback from pushing the financing.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        @SynMonger: But they might have convinced him to do the financing on a cheaper vehicle. From the OP’s description of what happened it was the fact that they kept giving him a price greater than what he had in cash that made him walk away. He was actually willing to go through the hoopla of getting a loan if it got him a car.

  74. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Work with the dealership over email, so you have a trail of numbers. Do not say you are not financing, but instead say you plan to use your bank or credit union. After a final price is negotiated you will let their finance department compete for your business.

    If they get you on the lot they expect to use your emotions against you (almost worked, didn’t it? If they get an extra $5k out of 9 customers out of 10, they are way ahead than if they dealt fairly with 10).

    Make sure you work with the drive out price. That will include all the dealer junk fees and such that the sales rep isn’t allowed to negotiate (but can discount the car for).

    I got a great deal on a small car 3 years ago this way. Too bad I didn’t follow my own advice the next time for my wife.

    Better yet, with new car prices at their new lows, go 1 or 2 years old and you can feel like you got the price so low you stole it!

  75. Balfegor says:

    @Trai_Dep: If they make a loss on a straight sale — as I understand is the case for cars, but not trucks (not sure where the Jeep falls) — the manager may well be better off waiting for a customer who will finance. In this economy, it’s not certain that customer will come along in the near term, so (if I were the manager) I’d have taken the deal. But it’s not obviously stupid for the manager to have rejected a losing deal.

    Re: unions, yes. Yes. Unions are partly responsible for the situation the American auto makers are in. They’re not the only cause, by any measure, but it’s nothing short of delusional to imagine that they bear no responsibility for the straits their companies are now in. And I mean responsibility in the causal sense, not the moral sense. (Keeping a particular company viable is morally neutral in and of itself.)

    The unions’ role is not direct of course — you’d have to be thick to imagine that was the argument I was making. Rather, it’s that unions, dealers, and suppliers have all got contracts that impose both direct costs (wages, pricing deals, etc.) and indirect costs (having to handle brands in a particular way for dealers, having to comply with inefficient work rules) such that the car manufacturers have been unable to manufacture cars at a profit for close to a generation at this point. That’s why Japanese and other foreign manufacturers have been eating their lunch.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @Balfegor: My take on the article is that the sales model for American dealerships is broken if they can’t take a motivated buyer with the cash to buy it and drive it off the lot. If they can’t broker an honest, comprehensible bargain without a 3-D, holographic, cosine-dependent, 4-quad-relying matrix of how best to confuse and con interested buyers, maybe they should rethink things.
      Transparency is a good thing and they’ve moved far from it.

      I’ll let the other union stuff go, since it’s off-topic and we’ve exchanged our viewpoints. :)

  76. mzs says:

    The last two cars I bought I did it from the fleet sales/internet manager. They hook you up with someone that understands you don’t tolerate a lot of BS. Also come in with a loan from your credit union (definitely an aggressive credit union vs. a bank) and have the trade in value from carmax or an offer from someone to buy your old car. It is kind of boring not not have to haggle while waiting on paperwork, but a lot less stressful.

    Keep checking for cars online ( works as well as anything else) that show up with unusually low miles being sold as new. They tend to be buy-backs and demos. Some makes will give you basically an extra years worth of warranty under the certified used program. Don’t touch a GM buy-back though, they’re toxic the terms they expect you to consent to.

    Also check out what you can expect from, the dealers hardly ever care if you belong to any of the institutions and lets you see what people are paying for your car in your area. has a list of new car rebates and incentives, keep those in mind as well.

    • mzs says:

      @mzs: I meant unusually low miles as USED.

    • econobiker says:

      @mzs: Yes,I second you on that…

      I completely did not understand why this guy in the story even bothered to go by the dealerships when he was supposed to know about everything already.

      Why not email or fax the specs and then let them come to him???

      Especially in the high pressure NYC metro market…

  77. Gizmosmonster says:

    Research Research Research!

    These days, you can find out the cost of the car to the dealer, cost of “extras” and any other details about the process. Holdback, Manufacturer to dealer incentives… all make a difference.

    Nobody is buying cars right now. Especially crappy American cars. It is a buyers market. negoatiate the price first, then write the check.

    Take an expert in this stuff with you if you are unsure. I go with my friends and family and play bad cop if necessary. Not super bad cop, just well informed bad cop. Sounds like your Mother has some experience here. Send her through the door first.

  78. aristan says:

    @nataku83: And as shown on, those incentives are available if you finance with them, have previously financed with them, or have a competitor’s vehicle to trade in. Just because the dealer you went to gave you a better price than you were a quoted doesn’t mean every dealer should… it just means you got deal.

    Now, if someone’s cutting deals that actually save me $2000 and don’t just roll them over into interest payments… pass that info along!

  79. Daniels says:

    Car dealers rule. One convinced my friend with shaky credit to buy a warranty service plan for $4k because the finance department was “more likely to approve the loan if they knew you could afford repairs.”

  80. Project_J187 says:

    My friend dealt with this 3 months ago. Mitsubishi wouldn’t sell him a 2009 lancer with 29,000 in cash. Long story short, he got a Mercedes instead.

    It’s funny how strange the salespeople react when you say you don’t want to finance and just pay cash. They act like its illegal to use cash.

  81. Tim Yocum says:

    I tried to buy a GM product from three different dealers and could not get them to agree to a price; they wanted over MSRP each and every time. I was asking for something fair between invoice and MSRP – no budging. Bought a car elsewhere with no haggling whatsoever. No wonder GM needs a bailout – the old mentality hasn’t changed as quickly as the economy. When the lot is full, including customer parking spots, with new cars…you’re not going to drive a hard deal on MSRP-plus.

  82. ohiomensch says:

    Had a friend go into a Ford dealership, with cash to buy. They would not let her even test drive the car till she filled out a credit app. (her credit sucks, which is why she pays cash for everything) They all but called her a liar and sent her packing, to the Dodge dealer where they were happy to take her cash for her car.

  83. JerseyCelebrity says:

    i tried to buy a wrangler from jeep once… Cash deal. Single worst dealership experience of my life. Needless to say they lost my money to a Honda dealership.

  84. davidc says:

    This is what happens when you send a boy to do a mans job. This guy sounds like he got played at every turn.

    There are a lot of articles / guides (including one from consumer union (hint, hint)) that discuss how you should handle these situations.

    Short Story:

    1) Find the Exact car you want.

    2) Negotiate Price (after finding out what the true price is with rebates and incentives included).

    3) Discuss Payment.

    Also be ready to walk out at any point.

    When I went to buy my first SUV (Chevy Blazer), I remember walking into 1 dealership and going right up to the manager desk and saying: I am a Costco Member, I am looking for an exact make, model, feature set. I am willing to pay $500 over invoice, but only if you have the car IN STOCK right now.

    He hymm’d and hawed a bit, asked a couple of questions to see if I was pliable, then said “deal” and had one of the sales persons show me the cars they had in stock.

    Take charge, be fair, and don’t let them jerk you around.

  85. Anonymous says:

    I had a similar experience at a Ford dealership. Many years ago when I was younger I wanted to buy a Mustang convertible and had built one online. The salespeople wrote up a deal and started negotiating with me. On further inspection the car we were negotiating on was not the car I had built on the website. When I brought this to their attention they said “we don’t have that in stock and can’t order one”. I thanked them for wasting both of our time and left. They called me constantly for weeks trying to get me back to the dealership to sell me a car I did not even want.

    When the economy tanked in 2001 I did a small stint selling ironically Ford vehicles. In the class they taught us to specifically ignore what the customer asks for and to change the subject. They called it avoiding the objection. I lasted about 2 days on the lot with their BS. Not only did I have too much self respect to throw myself onto the hood of people pulling up to view the cars I just could not bring myself to be a lying scumbag.

    Detroit. Stroll into a Mercedes or a BMW dealership and shop for a car there. We know you can afford one with your jets. THAT is how you sell a car. Years later I bought an S class Mercedes and was able to get the exact car I wanted with a minimal amount of pressure with a sales staff that worked WITH me to get the deal done. Free hot dogs, balloons and clowns don’t sell cars. Listening to your customers and selling them what they want and working with them sells your cars. It also kind of helps to have cars people actually want but don’t worry about that now because you have our tax money to tide you over.

  86. Anonymous says:

    This guy obviously plugged in specs for one vehicle and ended up trying to price out a vehcile with completely different specs, usually more loaded since they find out it will be more comfortable with a bunch of other things. I work in a dealership and I see it happen ALL THE TIME. Which is why we hate givign prices over the phone because almost always coems down to a vehicle that is often not the one they specd out initially. Now we look bad when it’s not even our fault, but all the customer can think of is bottom deal, bottom deal. Customers call asking for base prices, wanting to pit dealerships against each other, they themselves sometimes lying to the dealerships and we know the deal. We know if a number can be done or if it cannot. We all function under the same incentives. We dont control the incentives, the manufacturer does, and we cannot make them up.

    it is very unfortunate that many shoppers think we should give away cars for free. They dont think of the JOBS that get affected. The collapse of the AMERICAN Auto industry is BAD for the economy. Everyone gets affected, but no, these people can’t see past their noses.

    If you want to pay cash, hey we’ll take cash. But if you want the extra incentives (by the way , that is only one of the multiple incentives available) and the incentives comes with qualifications, we cant just waive it for you, you gotta play by the rules too.

    • SynMonger says:

      @ZelimirElectryon: You want sympathy for the poor car salesman? You must be joking right?

      I don’t expect a free vehicle, but I do expect to not be lied to, or treated disrespectfully because I want to pay cash instead of line your pockets with a kickback from the financiers. Things I don’t hear much of coming from the dealerships.

  87. jgonzz says:

    Send an email to Steve Feinberg of Cerberus Capital Mgmt, the hedgie that owns 80% of Chrysler.

  88. Anonymous says:

    Why did he even enter a dealership? After having test driven several models and deciding on what I wanted, I wrote up a fax listing exactly what I wanted when I bought new a few months ago…sent it to 8 dealers, 5 or 6 responded, 2 or 3 had way better offers then the others. I went back and forth between them once or twice, found the true market, and bought my car. The first time I entered the dealership was to pick up the vehicle. It took under an hour.

    I had dealers calling me…not the other way around. And the one that called and said “I don’t do business this way you can come in and talk to me”…I politely told him “Apparently you don’t need my business but thanks for the call” and hung up.

    Only regret? Buying in Sept 08 instead of waiting for even better incentives in early 09…

  89. krunk4ever says:

    Couple things have been on my mind when I read this.

    * Why didn’t he print out the online quote and basically demand the dealer to honor that?

    * Did the $24k quote include taxes, licensing, and other associated fees when purchasing a car. Usually that adds up to 10-15% making the amount he’s liable for to be $26.4k to $27.6k. I’m not too about what other fees are in NY, but if the quote of $27.7k includes all the fees and taxes, it’s not too far off from where I’d expect a $24k quote to be around after them.

  90. Optimistic Prime says:

    I had a similar situation last year with a Chrysler dealer. They would rather chase you down for missing a payment than taking the money free and clear.

  91. kwsventures says:

    If you are mentally weak, the car salesman will talk you into anything.

  92. iMike says:

    Please add “stupid consumer” tag.

  93. Jim Sliwa says:

    See, this is why I loved buying my Acura. Every car has the same specs. In the case of the TL the only choice you had was with or without navigation. Everything else came standard.

    I walked in, told them what color I wanted (with navi) and they pulled one from their backlot (I already knew they had it in stock because their backlot is the parking lot at the local mall). They let me take the car home with just a downpayment from my trade-in and gave me a few days to get the financing from my credit union. Three days later I walked in, handed them the check from the credit union, signed some papers and left. Easy peezy. Three years later and the saleman still sends me friendly emails occasionally to see how it’s doing. Besides scheduled maintenance and a minor recall, I’ve had no issues whatsoever. (compared with my last 2 GM cars).

  94. XTC46 says:

    They push the financing because that is where they make the real money. Selling a car is a few thousand in profit, selling a car + financing is the few thousand, plus interest, plus the chance they will default and they can resell the car.

  95. Anonymous says:

    A dealer makes almost nothing off of a cash sale of a new vehicle today. I only pay cash and never do any dealer add-ons, and it drives them nuts.

  96. Anonymous says:

    Consumerist should email this poor kid and tell him to go to They’ll deliver his Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4×4 for $21,593 and he’ll never have to set foot in a dealearship (I just checked their NY pricing).

    I bought my last new car, a 2008 toyota sienna from them and it was awesome. Their website is guaranteed pricing and they search all the dealerships in the state for the exact car you order.

    Poor kid. He could have his car in about two days through cars direct.

  97. CyberSkull says:

    If they can’t take 25 Large in a simple transaction, they deserve to fail! No bailout for you!

  98. JZDK8B says:

    in 2006 I had to buy a new car due to being rear ended
    2006 Chevy Blazer 4 by 4 a four door
    List 29,500
    got them down to 22,000 then sprung the GM 500 serviceman rebate 21500
    Then I had 3500 points on my GM card. I walked out paying 18,000 for the vehicle that was a deal

  99. David Mobley says:

    If you’ve got the itch to buy a car here’s my easy steps to getting the price you want, the car you want, and not having to “deal” with the dealers.


    #2: Don’t let the dealer talk to you. Control the conversation. Tell them what you want, that you’re ready to drive the car home tonight.

    #3: Talk about the price at the very start otherwise they try to get you hooked on the idea and hope you won’t care about the price. If you have a trade-in ESPECIALLY get that out of the way straight off if it matters to you.

    Dealers know (or should) how much a car costs them. They know that any money over what the car costs the dealership is going to be better than the car taking up more lot space. The successful dealerships don’t let cars hang around even if they’re only making a thousand dollars per car because they recoup in service.

    That said, YOU should know approximately how much the car costs the dealership before you show up. Not how much the MSRP is on the website, but know roughly how much it’s going to cost them and let the dealer know that you’ll give them a good deal if they don’t bullshit with you and try to waste your time. Time is money too and a 30-minute deal is a much better thing than a 3-day negotiation. If you know what you want, you know what you’re going to pay and you’ve driven the car already, is there even a point to the haggle process? I don’t think so!

    Of COURSE they’re going to try to get you to finance, because since car companies started running their own finance departments they make more off your loan than they make off the sale of the vehicle. The dealers are getting paid by the number of loans they attach to vehicles, even if the loan is a 0% loan because they’re going to pad the loan.

    I’ve never had an issue buying a vehicle in the last 10 years because the information to put you in control of the conversation is out there. You just need to use it. If you don’t, they’re going to take advantage of you the entire way because that’s how they make the most money.

  100. morganlh85 says:

    After all that has happened in this country, this guy still wants to buy an SUV?

  101. Anonymous says:

    Car dealers are among the greediest and sleaziest businesses around. Sadly, a lot of American car dealers are greedier and sleazier than imports (although import dealers can be pretty bad) because they have to push harder to sell their wares. My wife made the mistake of going into a Dodge dealer last year and was treated like a moron by a sleazy sales person.

  102. RogueWarrior says:

    When I bought my new 1986 Toyota 4Runner, the sticker price was about $3000 less than what the dealer dude told me. I had just looked at the sticker and went in to buy it. “Oh, that’s the dealer prep fee.” Yeah, sure it is, buddy. Just give me the keys and I’ll “prep” it myself. I finally talked the guy down to sticker plus $500 worth of rust-proofing. And I still drive that truck.

  103. Anonymous says:

    “I had heard good things about the quality of Jeep vehicles.”

    …AND you were willing to pay MSRP or more, AND you almost got talked into financing when you had the money, AND… well, I could go on, but…

    You, my friend, and people like you, are the only reason Chrysler is still in business at all. However, despite your apparent lack of basic reasoning skills, I’m still happy that you didn’t get totally screwed. Now go buy a car that isn’t a horrendously overpriced piece of junk. And do yourself even more of a favor and buy a one- or two-year old used car. You can keep about 12 grand of that money that’s burning a hole in your pocket.

  104. mariospants says:

    This is a horror story worse than “Nightmare on Elm Street”. It’s like this kid’s virginity was being taken by a street whore with a venereal disease.

    It’s a shame that the American automobile industry has fallen to such a pathetic level of crap but who else will hire these salespeople? It’s like nature keeping them from polluting the rest of the workforce gene pool.

    Note to Chrysler: destroy your entire dealership network and start from scratch.

    BTW, noticed that the original article (blog) is suddenly AWOL.

  105. Aidan Roche says:

    Good God Bruce is an idiot.

  106. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Maybe God is just telling you not to buy a Jeep….

  107. cccdude says:

    Just bought a brand new Honda Civic in Dec. I got it hassle-free and at a good price (800 under invoice). How’d I do it? I e-mailed (via carsdirect, & 8 dealerships within 30 miles of my house. I explained EXACTLY what I wanted – make/model, options, color & accessories. I told them I was paying cash, I was not in a hurry to get the vehicle so would wait if one needed to be factory ordered to meet my specifications. I told them I only wanted an ‘OUT THE DOOR’ price and that the lowest bidder got my business. I had 7 quotes provided to me via e-mail within 24 hours and just 3 days later I was driving my new car off the lot. Good luck.

  108. Anonymous says:

    How many of you go into a grocery store or BestBuy store, or whatever other store and go ” hey, there’s another Food Emporium in Brooklyn, 15 miles from this here location. Your Brand x can of soup is $3.39. How about I buy it from you for $2.99, store manager?” Ya think they’ll say yes, morons? Why do you people think its ok to do that with a car dealership? If you cut out all the dealership and buy “direct” from the manufacturer, you may not see it instantly, but that is just a baaaaaad idea: economy goes down, YOU will lose your jobs and the only people who profit will be the group of people directly manufacturing the vehicles. You may think you will get a better price, but that also means MORE unemployment, which affects YOUR industry, YOUR housing values, YOUR LIFE everything, MORONS! Get some common sense!

  109. Rob Mattheu says:

    Wow, who goes into a dealership and says they’re ready to pay cash. Negotiate the price and then tell them how you’re going to pay.

  110. redkamel says:

    this is very interesting, because I planned on doing the same thing with my next car. Perhaps its people growing up with the internet allowing them to get numbers before they walk into the dealership. If I specced a car and the dealership wanted more money, i would have walked out. The company quoted me a price, thats the price, as far as I am concerned. Hopefully this will be true, otherwise there is no point in those online builders.

    And as far as I could tell the OP (any myself) dont count “tax, title, fees” etc as the dealer trying to get me. But adding a remote starter, etc, thats him raising the price for no reason.

    • redkamel says:

      @redkamel: keep in mind I have never bought a new car, I just assumed car deals worked like everything else.

      Consumerist should do an article on how to buy a car.

      I’d also like to add I read a great story about someone who was ready to get their car, and when it pulled up with a “Joe Johnson” decal above the brand and on the spare wheel cover, he said “oh, wait, I’d like those taken off”. When told they came with the car, he said something to the effect of “well, they dont actually, you added them, and I would like 10 grand taken off the car price, since I am going to be driving around everyday for at least 5 years with your advertisment. Do the math, it works out to less than a dollar a minute of advertising, which is really fair.” Those dumb decals came off quick.

  111. xkevin says:

    You don’t have the finance 100% of the purchase price to qualify for rebates. Most contracts I’ve seen were $7,500 minimum and no prepayment penalty.

    Finance the minimum, pay the difference in cash then pay off the loan when you receive your first bill. You’ll end up paying about 30 days worth of interest on the $7,500 (~$30 @ 5%) but its still going to be far less than giving up thousands in rebates.

  112. Anonymous says:

    Your first mistake was settling on a Jeep – who on earth led you to believe they are reliable? I suggest you reevaluate and look at a Nissan XTerra or Pathfinder – both vastly superior vehicles.

    Your next mistake was not understanding how the game is played. The dealer is there to rob you of as much money as possible, through deceit, deflection, misrepresentation, slight of hand, and the obfuscation of financing, after-sell, etc. You can’t allow them to think, talk, or even motion in your direction other than to give you exactly what you are there for – in this case, your $24k Wrangler or whatever. “This is what I want, this is what I will pay, find it and deliver it to me in 48 hours or I will buy it elsewhere, you have 60 seconds to comply….” No matter what the salesman/manager/finance guy then says, jut repeat that sentence over, and over again until they either do as you ask, or kick you out.

    Once they saw that you were green (meaning inexperienced, not stuffed with money) – your chances of having it your way were lost. Not even your mommy was able to help.

  113. Unnamed Source says:

    I’m pretty sure that it is impossible to leave a car dealership having purchased a car and *not* feel like you were just screwed.

  114. jake.valentine says:

    Bruce needs to learn the concept of BLUF when telling a story.

    I expect to get treated like crap in dealerships. I had a similar experience when buying a Toyota. Offered cash, but learned later that the dealership (and finance manager) gets an extra bonus for vehicles bought with financing. I even told the finance guy I would just pay it off immediately if he could offer me an incentive to finance and he asked me to wait 6 months (to pay it off) or he wouldn’t get his bonus. Amazing….this shmuck thought I was going to pay interest on a loan I didn’t want for six months so he could get a bonus.

    The funny thing is that car sales people are still more respectable than real estate agents. Now those people make my skin crawl! “Real estate NEVER goes down!” “The market’s just about to bounce back up again!” weasels…..

  115. WBrink says:

    I like how he says he’s a “responsible consumer” and then his belief that he needs to buy American leads him to make a poor consumer purchase. Ugh.

  116. mikells43 says:

    My 2009 Wrangler Unlimited X S Package 4×4
    Base Price $26,605
    My Selections Show me $225

    Destination Charge $750
    MSRP as Configured $27,580
    Purchase Offer Lease Offer
    BC Chrysler Financial Bonus Cash * -$1,000

    Net MSRP $26,580

    Estimated Payment Calculate

    thats the cheapest one with power windows. the base model does not have power windows so how would you score it for 24000? it wouldnt have the power windows that you had carpul tunnel thinking of. is that a hole in the story? welcome to auto buying. its their game. not urs…

  117. calchip says:

    I’m surprised that nobody has suggested the very valuable Consumer Reports new car price report


    It costs $14 and gives you true invoice cost on the car and all accessories. In this economy, if you look around enough, you will find a dealer who will sell you pretty much any car for $500 or less over invoice. Might be 50 miles from a metropolitan area, but it’s worth the drive, and you can get warranty service on the car serviced at any authorized dealership.

    I’ve used all of the techniques below. I generally tell the salesperson that he won’t make much money, but if we play by my rules, the whole transaction will take just a few minutes and then he can go hose somebody else.

    The biggest single thing in buying a car is to simply take charge of the sales process and NEVER let the salesperson or sales manager get control over you. Be ready to walk at a moment’s notice, tell them it’s a no-BS deal, and the first time they pull any BS you’re gone. When they pull the BS the first time, tell them that’s their one opportunity, and the next time they do that, you’re gone. Usually at that point, they get the message.

    As for the “we can’t sell it at that price except on credit”… bull$#|+ I’m guessing a call to the zone sales office of said auto manufacturer will get a nice phonecall to the general manager who will then most likely fall all over himself to sell you the car at the quoted price.

    Oh, and watch out for the BS add-ons they try to get you for in finance (which they force you to go through even if you’re paying cash.)

    — Rustproofing and paint sealant, extended warranty… if you really want either one, you can buy them aftermarket at half the price or less. They are generally a bad deal.

    — Ridiculous fees for registration, titling, etc. Find out what the DMV charges, and don’t allow yourself to pay an inflated fee to have the dealership do the work. Many people get hosed for $250 for the privilege of letting some $7 an hour guy from the dealership sit in line at the DMV processing yours and 50 other transactions. If you’re paying cash, get the certificate of origin from the dealer, and go title the thing yourself, unless the dealer is really willing to do it for $50 or less.

    — “Advertising overhead”… this is another complete BS charge. I’ve seen dealers try to tack on $200 per car for this. This is part of the dealer’s overhead costs and should be included in their profit. If they bitch that they’re only making $500 on you total, point out that part of something is better than all of nothing, and there are plenty of dealers who are hungry and will take your business.

    • soloudinhere says:

      @calchip: You can get the same report on edmunds, for free.

      I personally think that this headline should be “person with $24,000 cash incapable of buying jeep” but that’s just me.

  118. scoutermac says:

    Why would you buy a Jeep/Chrysler? You know the transmission will fall out soon after buying it.

  119. bmwloco says:

    I run into this all the time selling Volkswagens.

    Car web sites do not include tax, tag, title or destination fees. Destination (something we have NO control over) to the east coast of the US is $650. Tax is 3% (refundable, happily, under Obama Stimulus plan) and tag title is under $70.

    That said, someone comes in with a internet sheet from VW saying “…this is what I want…” we find it and sell it to them, no drama or games.

    Mind you, it may take a couple days to get the car you want, but we will get it.

    Sorry to hear he had to deal with greedy clods.

  120. Scott Funk says:

    ALL relators and car dealers must hang! Your story is not unlike THOUSANDS of others who unfortunately didn’t have a mother to knock some sense into them before buying. That is how they get you… run your ass ragged until you’re tired of haggling.

  121. dougp26364 says:

    I’ve had a similar experience with GM and a 0% lease that was about to expire on two cars we own. Both have less than 30,000 and, the 0% was locked in at the time of signing if we elected to buy the cars at the end of the lease. I gave them 3 shots at selling us a new car. The best they could do was over priced by $10,000 and 5.9% interest.

    I don’t know. Maybe I looked stupid. Maybe they thought that the new car smell would hypnotize me and make me give up two cars with low milage and 0% interest for new cars that were overpriced and 5.9% interest. Um, thanks but no thanks GM. I’ll stick with our original deal and the cars I already have.

    The sad part……I let them talk me into coming into the dealership 3 times because they had some new great offer that would make the deal better than what I already had. Unfortunately each subsequent deal was worse.

  122. Anonymous says:

    Kind of funny that TWO totally unrelated dealerships gave him the same scenario. Hmmm, were they trying to help him out by saving him money by financing? Sounds like it. So why doesn’t he have his car? Maybe he has totally awful credit and CAN’T get a car. There are two sides to every story and dealers aren’t always scum.

  123. highpitch_83 says:

    Sorry but this kid was asking for everything he got. If he had done a little research he would know that while you may be able to “build your own” vehicle online the situation at the dealerships is very different. They have strict package options and the only way to customize those packages is to add TONS of upcharges.

    ex. the limited edition may have leather and sirius radio but only the SPORT package comes with a moon roof so if you really want all of the above you need to special order a sport package with a leather and sirius upgrade (more $$$).

    He should have followed his instincts about 1/3 of the way into the process and adjusted his buying criteria based on what was ON THE LOT and not what he had created in his little fantasy world.

    And to re-iterate again: dealerships make /real/ money one of two ways…
    1. Warranties/Service contracts
    2. Financing

    Typically they’ll break even or lose money on the sale… maybe make $50-$100 if you buy at the sticker price

  124. Urgleglurk says:

    We haven’t bought a new car for almost 30 years. Why bother with an “investment” that’s going to lose major value the second you drive it off the lot?
    We buy demo cars and used cars off the lot. I can always get something close to what I need and add the rest at aftermarket dealers if I really want it. Just go with “dealer certified” cars and make sure you know what you’re buying.
    It’s also much easier to pick up your ball and go elsewhere if you get any dealer crap.

  125. pjstevens77 says:

    Sorry, but the kid is a moron, he went home thinking he bought a car but didn’t know the price, color or options?? He deserved what he got for not doing his research ahead of time on how to buy a car. Please, will someone give me my 10 minutes back after reading the mind numbing story? He is not the first dumb ass to have the wool pulled over his eyes at a car dealership.

  126. darkryd says:

    Longest. Story. EV-ER.

  127. derrick_ says:

    pretty much everyone is missing the real issue here.

    this man believes that captain america’s nemesis was doctor doom.

    the red skull must be up to something!

  128. TrojanMan88 says:

    I build and priced a 2008 Honda Accord for $23,500 and drove out with it for $22,120 (this was about 6 months ago) at an official Honda dealer.
    Eat it, American car companies!

  129. radiochief says:

    This kid mentions Boston Post Road.

    So, my best bet is this kiddo comes from the Sudbury-Wayland area of MA (tres rich and chi-chi). Seems like he has money to burn or his family does.

    Buying a car is always a bad investment because you are supposed to use it.

    I feel for the kid but the best thing for him to have done was just to walk out.

  130. ZukeZuke says:

    Loved this story. Suck to be the OP and not be able to get the Jeep he wanted for the price advertised!

    Tell me again why we’e bailing out the Big-3? I keep forgetting… oh right, cuz they’re incompetent inefficient buffoons and we want them to stick around. Now I remember!

  131. Justinh6 says:

    He should have bought the same jeep one year later with 5000 miles on it.

    It would have been 50 percent off.

    Probably 12,500

  132. cupcake_ninja says:

    Haha! $94 off a $4k difference. That’s awesome.

  133. Anonymous says:

    My mother had to help her uncle buy a car recently. He is a hermit who hardly leaves his house. His last care is a 67 VW Bug… and it has less than 30,000 miles on it. An injury required him to get an automatic, so he wanted the least expensive vehicle possible. Enter the Toyota Yaris. The dealership couldnt handle the fact that he wanted to pay by check. They tried to do a credit check, and guess what? He doesn’t have one becuase hes never owned a credit card. After much trouble, they did let him leave the lot with the car. He has put gas in it twice in 3 years i believe

  134. ChevyDealer says:

    This is the crap that makes a Dealer and buyer mad. The customer builds the truck online and gets a price with all rebate but the customer does not qualify for all of them then forgets that there is tax on the truck as well. If the online build price was $24000 and the rebates were $5000 then the taxed amount would be $29000. Now tax is different in every state but in mine he owes $1790 in tax alone. It sounds to me like the buyer need to have his mom educate him on buying and things like sales tax and the dealer did a poor job of explaining the charges just so they could make a quick buck shame on both of them.

  135. GretaDandradeine says:

    I loved his story!!..sitting here sipping english tea with my apple strudel..hilarious. And i love jeep..*crosses fingers for you kid* hope turns around for a positive :)

  136. Gary LaPointe says:

    Hmm… the original site you listed to is gone now. It says “The authors have deleted this blog. The content is no longer available”

    Very strange…

  137. chrisexv6 says:
  138. cecilsaxon says:

    Still- the problem is in the present stealorship model. I hate it and so does everyone else.

  139. Anonymous says:

    I agree that the customer was unfairly treated, and that sleazy tactics were used to try and swindle the man. However, I can assure you this a a fluke, and most dealerships, given the state of the economy, are practically giving cars away. My father who owns a Chrysler dealership has given up his salary for the last few months to keep things afloat, so he doesn’t have to lay anyone off (he hasn’t ever laid off an employee after 22 years).

    Regarding the financing: I don’t know when you attempted to buy your car, but Chrysler financial actually stopped financing their own cars at one point earlier in the year. Dealerships had to find alternative financing usually through local banks, and with credit as tight as it is, this only added to the plight of local franchises, alternatively fucked by Cerberus, Chrysler and banks unwilling to lend to some of the spotless of businesses. Therefore, I wouldn’t say this was a Chrysler-wide problem. Websites like or kelly blue book are problems in that customers think financing and prices are equal among franchises. In any other industry you would not expect that. You wouldn’t go onto and quote the price of a big-mac to your local franchise. Sites like these just frustrate customers, and equally frustrate car salesmen (who are heavily dependent on reputation and don’t want to be seen as the guy selling lemons).

    Second to this, paying for a car in cash is about as sketchy as you can get. Unfortunately, many people use cars as a method for laundering money. Being from the Boston area, there were many instances where the IRS was more than happy to follow up on some of the transactions my father made. Of course any form of payment is acceptable (and legally, will be honored), but realize that 99.999% of car purchases do not happen this way and dealers will do anything to avoid dealing with that.

    So – don’t give up on buying a Jeep. They’re great cars. You had a bit of bad luck, but my advice is to find a small, local dealer (and get to know him, his wife, his kids, everything about him so that if theres a problem with the car it gets taken care of quick), take your time, and be realistic about what to expect (as in – find a good deal from a dealer, the website isn’t actually selling you anything, and the dealership is).

    And after searching some more, if you still can’t find a dealership willing to take your money, find me and I’ll take it and put you into YOUR car

  140. Bs Baldwin says:

    If he built the car on-line, he could have tried to find the closest dealer with the exact truck he wanted. Also, how did the dealer tack on 4 or 5k over msrp or was this the total cost of the car after the loan is paid off after 5 years? He can just payoff the loan the next month. Fail.

  141. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a basic, simple negotiating strategy that has been proven to work over time: No matter what, no matter when, as they quote you a price – flinch!

    Anyone can do this. Even if you truly hate negotiating, feel you have zero skill for it, you can do this.

    Open your eyes as wide as can be. “Wow.. That’s a lot more than I …” “Really? That much? ” or any other similarity will do.

    Try it. You will be amazed at the results.

  142. ultmontra08 says:

    So I just listened to this past Wednesday Dave Ramsey show and he read the story on air. It was quite amusing. If you want to listen to it, it’s on his website.

  143. headcase says:

    You tell your tale well, Mr. America.

    One more thing you should really consider when you buy a car is the mpg. That’ll savecost you thousands of dollars over the life of the car.

    Car salesmans’ favorite tricks seem to be to kill a whole lot of your time, then spring a bunch of crap on you just before the contract comes out. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t mind wasting his own time as long as I’ve wasted more precious time from someone else who pisses me off, so something tells me I’m going to enjoy shopping for cars.

    When they spring the extra crap on me, I’ll just walk away… either they’ll concede to my demands in desperation, or they’ll be out that time without a sale, indirectly benefiting my twisted sense of principle. Muhahaha.

    And yeah, no Chrysler. Got it :). I’m Canadian so buying domestic isn’t an option anyway. On that subject, it is exceedingly difficult to get reports of what % of cars are made in each country for each manufacturer.

  144. BiggyB says:

    Two things that will stop you from paying sticker price.



    In Ca. that generaly runs 11%
    mind you the OP’s price given was way off, some dealers also tack on things such as
    window tint, lojack, paint and fabric protection, car alarms etc.