How To Not Be Had By A Car Dealer Ad

Photo Credit: Tashatuvango/
The Car Pro Show prides itself on pointing our listeners to the good Car Dealers that are part of the show. Our sponsors and recommended Car Pro Certified Dealers are hand-picked and closely scrutinized before they can become a part of the show.

We also take pride in exposing misleading car dealer ads, or ads that are intended to mislead the public. Below are phrases or claims you will find in the DFW area on TV, radio, newspaper, or the Internet.

This list will grow as dealers find new ways and gimmicks intended to draw people through false and misleading advertising. The following are the claims that in this writer’s opinion fall into this category and also an explanation of why I find them offensive.

“We’ll pay off your trade no matter WHAT you owe!”

This gives you the illusion that the dealer will give you what you owe for your car. People who are upside down and know it generally fall for this one. All it really means is if they obtain credit approval they add the negative equity to your new loan. The dealer is not doing anything out of the ordinary course of business. This claim is in violation of the Texas Motor Vehicle Divisions rules of advertising.

“All Credit Applications will be accepted”.

This lends one to believe that everyone’s loan will be approved. In reality, all it says is that they will accept the application … not necessarily that it will be approved by any lender. This claim is also in violation of the Texas Motor Vehicle Divisions rules of advertising.

“New Vehicles for 50% off” or “New Vehicles for half price”.

This one is highly illegal and extremely misleading. In most cases, this is a pre-paid lease where payments are made in advance. Simply put, let’s say a normal lease payment is $300 per month for 36 months. In this case you would pay $10,800 (36 x $300) UP FRONT. After three years you turn the car back in OR have to buy the car for the residual. Mileage limitations apply as does wear and tear requirements. So you do pay 50% of the sticker price for the car, but it’s not yours.

“We’ll give you $3000 (or some other amount) for your trade no matter what condition it is in!”

This is a VERY old trick and illegal in Texas according to the advertising rules of the Motor Vehicle Division. If the dealer does not give you a discount or any incentives, they can show you any amount for your trade on paper however you overpay for the new vehicle so you actually gain nothing.

“Buy a new vehicle and get the second one for free (or $1)”.

This is the same as the guaranteed trade amount. If the dealer overcharges you for the first car, he can absorb the cost of the second car. You end up paying the normal price for both cars.

Abnormally low prices.

When a dealer advertises a price that is abnormally low, it is almost always a classic bait and switch. The dealer bites the bullet on one sale of one vehicle at a super low price … but continues to advertise that price and hides the fact that there was only one. Upon arrival, it is already sold but they have “similar” vehicles and the games begin. When a dealer advertises a vehicle price, look closely … the law is they must tell if only one is available. The best dealers always tell you how many they have at the advertised price.

“If we can’t beat your deal, WE’LL JUST GIVE IT TO YOU!”

I am amazed when people fall for this one. Dealers do it different ways … in one case they require that they be able to go buy the vehicle you are looking at from the other dealer, which is not going to happen. O,, sometimes they require you to bring the offer in writing signed by a Manager. When this happens they can beat the deal by ONE PENNY and be off the hook. This offer is totally worthless and means nothing.

Free Gas or Free Insurance.

Nothing is free. When a Dealer offers you something of value over about $200, they pack the cost into the deal upfront. In other words, if gas for a year is estimated to cost $1000, they add that $1000 to the cost of all the cars they sell. Again, you paid for it in the price of the car.
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