Tips & tricks of the trade

Hidden charges
It is vital that all charges are agreed upon between you and the dealer. You do not want to end up paying more for absurd charges that is totally unnecessary. Have the dealer list down all the charges in black and white, and go through each charge making sure that you know what you are paying for.

More often than not, you might see something called "Admin Fee" which might amount to a few hundred dollars. This fee is typically defined as the charge for the handling of paper work that is required for your purchase (such as loan application, insurance application). Although it is rather standard practice amongst dealers, it is totally unnecessary. This is due to the fact that the dealership would have already earned from the mark up price of the car, the commission from banks for your loan and even the commission on the insurance that you sign up through them. However, if you deem that the sales executive and the dealership as a whole has done a good job in helping you through the process of getting your pre-owned ride, paying the few hundred dollars "Admin Fee" can be a sign of good-will from you to them.

Sales Gimmicks
As a general rule of thumb, do not allow yourself to be pushed into buying a vehicle that you do not feel settled with. Only proceed ahead with the deal when you are comfortable with the price, condition of the car and any after sales support promised to you. Certain dealers, desperate to move their stockpile will resort to low-handed sales tactics to push potential customers into paying more.

Some tactics used includes advertising a car at low prices but only to claim that the advertisement was a mistake when the customer approaches the dealer.

There are also dealers who put very low and competitive prices on advertisements on specific cars. They will then claim that the car advertised was sold and push another similar car to the customer, but this time priced higher than what was advertised. In reality, the car is the same car that was used for advertisement and than subsequently sold at a much higher price with a simple lie.

Black and White
As always, whatever is written down is final. Make sure you read the fine print carefully and point out any clause you are not sure about to the sales executive. Make sure that you fully agree to all the clauses before you sign on the line.

Blank hire purchase form
In recent years there has been a practice that is circulating amongst dealers. When applying for a loan through dealers, they might request that you to sign on a blank portion of the hire purchase form. Although this is meant to reduce the trouble for you to have to make several trips to sign papers, it is a potentially risky move. Leaving your signature on a blank piece of paper leaves the dealer to fill in whatever he wants. You might return to find that the loan amount that you had agreed with the dealer has increased due to some "administrative fees".

As a precaution, never sign any blank forms. If it means that you have to make that extra trip or two, do it. It is better to know exactly what you are signing for than to regret later when the bill comes.