Inside the rise of ‘stealerships’ and the shady economics of car buying : Planet Money : NPR

Then, this NPR article pops up on my news feed. It has some good tips above and beyond bringing your HP12C (even though bringing your HP12C on the belt clip holster will really settle down salespeople). Of note is this quote:

“Earlier this summer, the FTC proposed new rules aimed at combating the graft and skulduggery found at many dealerships.”

Skulduggery? I must admit, I had to look that up (underhanded or unscrupulous behavior; trickery). Nevertheless, I think the best advice now is to have patience. Sooner or later this short supply of cars will normalize. Hold off participating in the skulduggery if you can. But if you must, here are a few considerations:

  1. Don’t trade your car in. As the article says: “One study found that dealerships tend to treat a buyer’s decision to trade in their used car like a neon sign on their foreheads, flashing, `Charge me more!’” If you need to unload your car, consider selling it directly to Carmax (I’ve done this twice) or (I almost did this to capture peak price for my car, but then had no idea what I would buy to replace it). There’s also, your local newspaper, craigslist, etc.
  2. Narrow down what car you want and be patient.
  3. Get pre-approved at your credit union for an auto loan if you must have a loan. “Stealerships” will play around with rates and number of months to trick you into a monthly payment “that you can afford.” That should not be the case at your credit union. This is especially true if you follow #2.

Good luck…

-Dr. Moore

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