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12 Classic Ploys Used By High Pressure Car Salesman

stereo type cartoon of used car salesman

stereo type cartoon of used car salesman

PLOY: an action or maneuver intended to outwit or disconcert another person.

Recently we downsized from two cars plus a motor home to one car and a motor home. This week we made the decision to trade in our Dodge Grand Caravan SE van and use the cash from the sale of the second car to buy our next vehicle.

This new vehicle had to meet certain criteria: be tow-able behind our motor home, had to be our main mode of transportation, could not be a manual transmission, has to be a 4x4 SUV or Truck; not a sedan. The asking price for a vehicle had to be under $13000.00.


We searched the Internet looking for vehicles that met our criteria. After finding a vehicle that met our criteria, we had to click on a link to see the price and vehicle details. Clicking on the link required we input our name, address and phone number on the site to gain entrance to the dealer pricing arena. Within a half an hour, our phone was ringing off the hook from multiple Internet dealers who were notified by their software a “live one” was looking for car information. We told each dealer what we were looking for and the price range we needed. In order to attract us potential buyers they used:

Ploy 1: assure us that they had multiple cars in their inventory which met our criteria.

Ploy 2:save us lots of money through incentives, bonus and discounts thus staying within the budget we set.

We agreed to meet one of the Internet salesmen the next day at a Chrysler dealership located within an hour drive from our home.

Ploy 3: Keep the customer waiting.

After arriving at the dealership we were kept waiting in the lobby for almost 30 minutes. We were at the dealership for a total of four hours and during that time our salesman spent a considerable amount of time AWAY from us. He was either looking up information, walking across the parking lot to the main office for some reason, hunting for a car on their lot, reading the inventory listing, or looking on his computer for who knows what! For all we knew he could have been playing a game!!

Our 2005 Dodge Caravan SE to be traded in on a new/ used  vehicle

Our 2005 Dodge Caravan SE to be traded in on a new/ used vehicle

PLOY 4: Get the keys to the vehicle being traded in from Customer: Immediately he asked for the keys to the van and then left us for another 15 minutes. Our salesman said he gave the keys to the finance manager in order for our van to be appraised as a trade in. (We asked 4 times during the 4 hours we were there to be given the van keys back. Each time we were told the finance manager had not had the time to evaluate our vehicle yet.)

PLOY 5: The test drive:

After 2 hours of not seeing a single car or even looking at one through its window, the Internet salesman indicated it was time to test drive the Jeep Compass he finally found that was a four wheel drive. HOWEVER this vehicle was manual drive (which can be towed). This is what he had to offer us after we told him we did not want to drive a stick shift. Now I am getting “irked” by his indifference. He countered by stating the ONLY vehicle in his listing which was a 4x4 Jeep with an automatic transmission was already sold. If this wasn’t BAIT and SWITCH I don’t know what else to call it.

PLOY 6: Get the customer inside a low end car and sell them on the benefits of this car and overcome any objections the customer may have.

Okay, we agreed to drive the Jeep Compass because we wanted to know if it was a vehicle we would be interested in owning…Heck NO!! The vehicle we drove was a piece of plastic not worth the $16000.00 price tag. The outside paint was so poorly done, the inside of the door frames were not painted just raw metal. POOR Quality!!

PLOY 7: Now that the customer has driven a lesser vehicle entice them with a higher priced vehicle with more bells and whistles.

Once back at the lot we waited for 20 minutes to be shown the next vehicle which was the Jeep Patriot at $19000.00. Again he was showing us a vehicle with a stick shift which is not what we wanted. What gives with this guy? We only sat in the Jeep Patriot. We did exercise some gumption and told our salesman we were not interested in a manual stick shift.

One of the two favorites: Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

One of the two favorites: Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

Our second favorite Jeep Liberty.

Our second favorite Jeep Liberty.

PLOY 8: Don’t let them leave:

We were tired, hungry and we wanted to leave. He left us again for 20 more minutes to check if the finance manager had completed our trade- in- evaluation.

Heavens no! “The finance manager was very busy and would get to checking out our van in just a few minutes. In the meantime why don’t you look at the Jeep Liberty which is exactly what you need?”

PLOY 9: Show the customer the more expensive vehicle.

The 2011 Jeep Liberty with all the extra’s you could imagine: made me drool just sitting inside. It had everything I could want in a vehicle. The salesman changed his manner of speaking to a calming sing song voice with stars and sparklers in the background. The guy was good!

I wanted to test drive it and feel the power in an almost orgasmic sense. He made me wait while he went back inside the office building. 10 minutes later he comes back and I drive the vehicle. Oh my goodness, it was smooth riding, quiet and ate at my senses with pride of ownership. Yes it could be towed! Yes it was the perfect vehicle for us!! I was floating on desire to own this vehicle.

Thankfully, my husband was not seeing or feeling the same sensations as I. He was centered and grounded to our budget plans.

PLOY 10: Get the customer to agree to buy TODAY.

After crashing back to reality thanks to dear old hubby, I gathered in my arsenal. Our salesman sat us at a desk far away from the activity of other salesmen on the floor. He left us for 15 minutes. He came back with a bunch of papers in his hand. He took our name, address and phone number again.

He instructed us that the time to wheel and deal was here. He was going to save us thousands of dollars and make this vehicle affordable for us to take home today. Would we agree to take it home if all conditions were satisfactory to us…

Yes I said before my husband could utter a word.

PLOY 11: Get the cash.

Our salesman wanted to know how much cash we were willing to put up front along with the trade-in-value of our car. We still did not know how much the dang car cost: He had been telling us all along we would get his Internet discount price, plus $1500 cash incentive and a military discount of $500.00 dollars. Now he wanted to know how much cash we had to put along with the van.

I told the salesman –I want your figures before I ever tell you how much money I am willing to put up. He left again to go talk to the finance manager. We sat and watched him chit chat for a long time with a man I assumed was the finance manager. Fifteen minutes later, he shows us their offer:

The car cost $26,600. He would give us $5000.00 for the van, and $3000 for the bonus and incentive’s leaving us with $18600.00 to pay on the Liberty.

I tell him “Heck No!!” This is too expensive of a vehicle and I don’t want it.

This is not a satisfactory deal to me or too my husband—I look at my husband and say to him “Right honey?” He nods in agreement. We asked for our van keys back and told him we were leaving.

PLOY 12: If they don’t like the offer tell them about another car on the lot that meets with the criteria they originally stipulated.

The salesman leaves us again and we sit in the empty lobby for 18 minutes waiting for him to return. My husband stands up, picks up my coat and tells me to get my purse we are leaving. As we walk toward the door our salesman brings us our van key and says “let me show you another car on our lot that meets your expectations and we could make you a great deal on it.”

No thanks!

We left and went home...Tired and worn out because of the 4 hour skirmish we had with the salesman and his dealership. We kind of felt like we lost the battle but in reality we won because we did not purchase a vehicle that was beyond our means.

What did we learn from our experience:

We don’t like the Jeep Patriot or the Jeep Compass.

We don’t like stick shifts.

We do however like Jeep Cherokee Laredo’s and or Jeep Liberty’s.

We will keep shopping for a used Laredo or Liberty that fits in our budget.

We fell for all the salesman tricks of the trade.

We feel as if we escaped with our lives, literally

We are not as savvy a car buyer as we thought.

There are many articles on the Internet about high pressure car salesmen and how car dealerships deal with the public. Here is one we found which goes along rather well with our experience:

LC Ward

1. Steering Clear of Bad Customer Service: Demand Top-Notch Treatment — and Walk If You Don't Get It Published: 12/16/2010 - by Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor


Stephen P Signorelli from USA on June 18, 2019:

I can verify what you wrote about is 100% true. It wasn't how I operated, but I saw enough of it to make me question my career.

Patrick Collins on October 18, 2016:

I am a car sales pro. I am truly sorry you dealt with shysters. I would never treat a customer that way.

Kamal on December 16, 2014:

I discovered your blog site on gogloe and test just a few of your early posts. Proceed to keep up the very good operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. Searching for ahead to reading more from you in a while!…

Vanessa on December 15, 2014:

I have to show my passion for your getniosrey for those individuals that have the need for help on that content. Your special dedication to passing the solution all through became exceedingly insightful and have really allowed many people like me to attain their aims. Your new helpful hints and tips signifies much to me and further more to my peers. Thank you; from each one of us.

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on October 20, 2014:

Great hub :) If the deal is not one you can live with walk away :) If they really want you as a buyer they will call you back with an acceptable deal; that is what happened to my husband and I.

CaR sALES mAN on June 11, 2014:

Worth every penny I paid to read it.... NOTHING

Jeff M from Newington NH on March 25, 2014:

I used to sell cars and I was sometimes embarrassed by the management's tactics. I miss being around cars but it was a terrible rat race!

Arthur on January 24, 2013:

Finally a blog worth reading.....


LC WARD (author) from Rochester, Washington on January 03, 2011:

Tara, today (01/03/11) we came home with the "right" vehicle and it was within our budget criteria. We did not have to experience any high sales pressure with Toyota Of Olympia. Wayne Lim was so easy to deal with and no pressure at all. We bought a used 2002 Chevy pickup which is towable behind our motorhome. Thanks for your input..Linda

Tara on January 03, 2011:

Too bad I didn't go with my instincts on my last car purchase. They wore me down also, I left three times and they finally called me and gave me the 'ultimate' deal. Which wasn't the deal I wanted, but I took it, hook, line and sinker!! Now I've paid more than I should have, and the interest is horrible!

Glad you didn't get move! You will know when it's the right one and the right time.

LC WARD (author) from Rochester, Washington on January 01, 2011:

Thank you Anne for your comment! We are still looking for a vehicle in our criteria range, but are better armed against the high pressure. Again thanks for your input!!

Anne on January 01, 2011:

Loved your blog. I've been through a similar experience and was laughing my butt off at how accurate you are about the car salesman. To bad they wasted 4 hours of your life!

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