How to Navigate Dealership Finance Offices

deal warranty

I have addressed this issue on the air and in print before, but I have had a ton of people complain lately about dealership finance offices.

The most common complaints are high-pressure tactics, and worse, extra charge items being added to the contract without their knowledge.

Credit is loosening up but will probably never be as easily accessible as it was five to six years ago.

More people are using dealerships to finance these days due to aggressive incentives and very low interest rates. Dealerships can often save you money on a loan, but the finance department seems to be a source of irritation for many buyers.

Like every profession, there are good dealers and bad dealers.

Many people are taken advantage of in the finance department of dealerships. Over the years, I have seen it all- high-pressure tactics to purchase extended warranties, credit life, and disability insurance, GAP insurance, etc. I have also witnessed downright fraud. Bear in mind, most finance managers are paid on commission, based on what they sell.

The finance experience does not have to be a trying experience.

This seems basic and simple, but it is critical that you understand you are signing a contract-a legal and binding document that obligates you to make monthly payments on a timely basis. READ WHAT YOU SIGN.

People never ceased to amaze me when I was in the car business. They would negotiate for five hours on a car, then when the most important part came…going over the final numbers and signing papers, they would almost always want to rush through this part. They would sign everything you put in front of them without asking any questions.

It is no secret that a dealer makes money on most every product it sells in the finance department.

But remember it is all optional, nothing has to be purchased in the way of optional policies or products. There are worthwhile products offered, like extended warranties and GAP insurance just to name a couple, but they are totally up to you. Nobody will hold a gun to your head and force you to buy anything. Dealers first and foremost provide financing as a convenience to their customers, to help complete the sale under one roof. In many cases, the auto manufacturer offers extra rebates if you finance with its captive finance arm, like Ford Credit, Hyundai Financial, and the others.

Doing your homework is always a good idea.

As far as interest rates go, know what you can get before you go to a dealership. Talk to your banker or credit union to know for sure, don’t leave it to chance. Know how many miles you drive per year to know which extended service policy to buy. Get online and calculate about what your payment should be. Buying a car and committing to five or six years worth of payments should rank right up there with buying a home, and taken as seriously, especially when it comes to reading and signing paperwork.

One good rule of thumb is to look at every line on the finance contract that has a dollar amount next to it. You will see normal charges for tax, title, and license, but if there are any added items, they must be broken out on the contract itself, so they are easy to spot.

By the time you get to the finance department of a dealership, you are ready to get out of there.

Some dealers prey on that, and too often consumers sign everything someone puts in front of them. Take a deep breath, consider the products you are offered and remember that these are optional purchases. Some of them will be right for you, others may not. Make a good financial decision for you and your family.

Photo Copyright: Billion Photos/Shutterstock
  1. Carol Sue Martin 1 year ago

    I listened to your radio program one Saturday while on the 94E. Did you say that there was a place to print a credit application so that I would be ready to understand the rest of the conversation of costs.
    Did you say Crestwood Ford has it somewhere?

    • Michele Sanders 1 year ago

      Carol, I do not recall saying anything like that, although you can apply online at just about any dealerships website to shorten the process. I am not familiar with Crestwood Ford. I wish i could be of more help.

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

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