Smart Car Shopping: Ask About Fees Before Saying Yes to a Deal


Buying a car can be an exciting time as well as challenging when trying to make a more educated purchase decision. You have probably heard the term “sticker shock” when describing the car buying process. You do not have to be a victim of this phenomenon, as long as you do a bit of homework beforehand and know the right questions to ask  your salesperson. Let’s cover some of the essential tips to smart car shopping and get to know the questions you should ask before saying yes to a deal.

What Fees Will I Be Paying?

One of the most prominent questions you should be asking before signing any paperwork with a car dealership is what fees you will be paying. The salesperson will give you many numbers and tell you about many deals. You salesperson will also tell you how much money they can save you. However, they are a bit lax in telling you exactly what you will be paying until you are in the signing process.

Before you pick up that pen, you need to ask about any fees in addition to what you have already discussed. Many salespeople will try to avoid this question, but you need to stay strong and get the answers you deserve. There are often hidden fees added for things like document preparation, cleaning, and add ons. You want to use this time to understand all of the charges and decide if they are something you want to pay for or not.

What Add Ons Have Been Installed?

Speaking of add ons, this is another critical topic to discuss with your salesperson. While it is normal for add ons for specific makes and models, car dealerships often add special items and markup the cost of the vehicle according to their prices. You have a right to know what special features your dealership has added to the car. You also have a right not to choose these features.

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Some of the additional features from the dealership may be items you want to have on your new automobile. That decision will be a personal one for each individual. However, if you do not ask, you will never know exactly what you are paying for or why that particular feature cost that much.

Do Research Before Going to the Dealership

When you start the car buying process, it is recommended that you do so from your home. Look up the type of car you want to purchase. Find out the fair market value for the vehicle you wish to purchase as well as any cars you want to trade in. Arming yourself with this knowledge before going to the dealership will give you an advantage in the haggling process and allow you to achieve a more lucrative deal.

You also might want to take the time and look into prequalifying for auto loans. This pre qualification will allow you to bargain more when it comes time to the financing portion of the car buying process. In these situations, the more knowledge you have, the better your deal will be.

Know What You Are Signing

This final tip is one of utmost importance for the whole car buying process. You want to make sure you know what you are signing. While this is an essential habit to form for any business transactions, it can be vital in the car buying world. When buying a car, contracts often have fine print that the dealership would rather you skip over. This fine print can include things like fees for missed payments or rights of the dealership regarding your vehicle.

The easiest way to avoid any surprises later is to read all of the documents you are about to sign before picking up the pen. While it is easy to fall to the pressures of a pushy salesperson, standing your ground and taking the time to know what you are signing, could save you money and hassles in the end.

The key to a successful car buying experience comes down to asking the right questions, researching before you head to the dealership, and reading the fine print.


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