Buying a New Car: It’s Time We Are as Vigilant as Ever
It seems as though everyone is out to get our money. Costs are skyrocketing and more and more products and services are out vying for our attention. Media is focusing its attention on "rear attacks" by directing its advertising on our children, our needs, our fears and emotions. Okay, well, that part's not new, but it's certainly more effective. Brand recognition is critical for highly competitive retail items and customer service and reputation is the variable that either makes or breaks the deal. So, why hasn't any of this competition changed the way we buy cars? Remember back in the 70's? The good old days when buying a new car meant strolling down to the nearest cheesy car lot, getting battered by a slick, fast-talkin' dude all decked out in his disco best.
How is it that, even though the attire and cheese-factor have changed, the slick, fast-talkin' dudes still exist? And seem to be doing better than ever. Today's car dealerships boast increased customer support and service; touting special employees that are there to serve only you. They preach their employees are very customer-focused and are there to serve your every need. But are they? As consumers, we really have developed a false sense of security when it comes to car dealers and buying our cars. Surely things can't be the way they were just a few decades ago.
Companies that don't adhere to the growing customer-is-always-right mantra are certainly companies that don't last long….right? Well, I'm here to say that the wolf has certainly stepped out of the disco-70's garb….and is now wearing a clean white dress shirt, slacks and tie. Folks, the wolf is alive and well and is waiting for you to come fall victim to his fake loyalty to you. How did they slip through the cracks? How did they manage to maintain their huge profitability through all of society's demands for increased customer service? How is it that we still have to endure the experiences we do when we go to buy a car? I'm here to say, the auto dealers have adapted quite well. No longer are they wolves…now they are lions. Our generation of car buyer has been given a false sense of security due to the internet. We think that simply by knowing what the internet says the dealer invoice is that we have some sense of power over them. Well, actually, all we know is what they supposedly paid for the vehicle. That doesn't mean they are going to gnash their teeth and say, "Oh darn it, Frank and Betty Smith found out our hidden secret invoice amount…now we HAVE to sell it to them for that!" Not at all, my friend.
Sure, the dealer is motivated to sell cars. If they don't sell you a car, they don't make any profit. But, if they don't make and profit, they don't sell you a car. The myths surrounding the dealers still exist; the secrecy is what has kept them so profitable through the turn of the millennium. Who monitors the car deals to make sure it was all handled fairly and you paid a fair profit for the car? Who watches out to make sure those people with bad credit are really put back on the right track to rebuilding their life with their auto loan? It's like putting the witch in charge of Hansel and Gretel's health regimen; the "what's in it for her" is much greater than the "what's in it for them." The only people watching out for you when you are car buying is YOU. It is up to you to be vigilant and protect yourself, your credit, and your money. You can count on the lions stalking you when you call or go in to the lot. You can count on them wanting to still make more money off of you than you make in a month or two at your job. Count on it.
And if you aren't careful, it'll come true. It's going to take more than the internet to protect you from these predators. You will need to look at buying a car in a whole new light. A new breed of car buyers needs to emerge to keep these dealers in check and not let them bully and trick us into handing over all of our hard earned cash and credit rating.