Skip to main content

Buying a car from a dealership is a long and daunting process. You have to work with a salesperson and pick the right car for you, then you need to discuss the pricing, and then do all of the paperwork. However, if you decide to reconsider your purchase or need time to think about it before signing the dotted lines, then some salespeople will use manipulative tactics to get you to buy the car then and there.

Zach and Ray Shefska of Your Advocate Alliance (YAA) recently put out a video outlining three different scenarios in which car dealers try to manipulate buyers. Check out the three different situations below.

Tactic No. 1: Car dealers add a false sense of pressure on buyers

A car salesperson talks to a customer at his desk
A car salesperson talks to a customer at his desk. | J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images

In the first scenario, Zach acts as an eager buyer that’s willing to purchase a 2019 Acura MDX and Ray is the pressuring salesperson. In this scenario, Ray uses a false sense of pressure to try and get Zach to purchase the car right away.

“Are you ready to move forward right now? Because if you’re not, I’ve got like three people in the showroom chomping at the bit to buy this car,” Ray says. “Poke your head out my door, you’ll see, there are people all over the place.”

Of course, that’s typically just a ploy to get a customer to act now rather than later. In the skit, Zach even says, “When I came in here didn’t see anyone, including the staff on your team. I mean, I want to do it, but I need to see the quote first.”

Unfortunately, this tactic is still widely used among some dealers to get buyers to buy the car now rather than later.

Tactic No. 2: Salespeople will tell their customers that another salesperson is selling the same car to someone else

In the second scenario, which involves the same MDX and characters, Zach tells Ray that he needs more time to think about the purchase. Just then, Ray pretends to get a text from another salesperson saying that there’s another customer interested in the same car. Yes, this tactic is super manipulative as the salesperson is literally creating fake interest to get the customer to buy the car.

As a buyer, you can technically call their bluff at this point, but it’s up to you. There are times when there truly is another customer on the same car, but if anything, you can always ask the salesperson to prove it to you. If they can’t, then be prepared to walk away.

Tactic No. 3: Salespeople will tell customers that the price will go up if they leave

A salesperson talks to a customer at a car.
A salesperson talks to a customer next to a car. | Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.

Another tactic that some salespeople will use to get a customer to buy the car right away is to let them know that if they leave, the price may go up. In the same 2019 MDX buying scenario, Ray tells Zach that he can do the price he wants, but only if he says yes right away.

“If I can get the price at $49,000 even out the door, right now, and when I say ‘right now’ I mean ‘right now.’ If you have to think about it or you want to leave and come back. When you come back, we’re going to be starting fresh,” Ray says. “I need an answer right now.”

That’s a lot of pressure. But if you’re a customer and you come across this type of answer then you can take Ray’s advice and say something like: “If that number is good now, then that number is good as long as that car is here. And if it’s not, then I don’t want to do business with you.”

That answer is simple and straightforward, and it shows the dealer that you are interested, but are willing to walk away if needed.

Don’t cave under the dealer’s pressure!

While these tactics aren’t widely used all the time by every dealership salesperson, they do pop up on certain occasions. If you’re buying a car from a dealer and come across these tactics, don’t cave to the pressure. Remember that walking away could save you thousands of dollars or at least a headache from spending more time going back and forth with a nasty salesperson.


Why Car Salespeople Tell You That They’re ‘Not Making Any Money on the Deal’