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What happened to these folks is so typical. I hear this scenario all the time. Read it and learn from it!

Hi Tony,

Thanks a lot for your site! It was nice to read some of the Horror Stories, and feel slightly less like a chump. I recently signed off on a car (a few days ago). Here is my story:

My husband and I went in to buy our very first car. We went in knowing exactly what we wanted to pay for our car (WITH compounded interest included). We knew how much the dealership paid for their car, and agreed to pay them 5% profit (generous I thought, considering many people will argue dealerships down to 2%).

At any rate, we came to a fair understanding. We initialed our offer price, which the sales guy agreed on, and everything was set to go. When we went into the Financing Office to sign the final contract, and started doing the math, we found that the Sales Manager had CHANGED the number we had agreed on, and hoped we wouldn't notice! Not only that, he started saying he didn't have "time for this". (After we brought up he had changed the negotiated price). Then the sales guy came into the same room, convinced me I was looking at the contract wrong!

Now, I'm not stupid or anything. I'm an engineer and I can do all the math. But it was late (closing time) and I was really tired. In addition, the contract has several boxes labeled the same way, and sometimes you aren't sure where you should be looking. They pointed me to a box, which look right, and I signed the contract. They convinced me to think I had been looking at the contract wrong. Obviously, signing the contract when I was tired was a very stupid mistake on my part. But, at the same time, you don't expect the salesman and sales Manager to BOTH lie to your face. The following morning, with a fresh head, I looked at the contract, and found, that I had in fact been correct, and they had changed the car price we had agreed on.

I called the dealership General Manger the following morning (who was polite by the way…it was the sales Manager that was a big jerk), and managed to get our original price reinstated after some arguing. I guess we were lucky, since we had already signed the contract.

This was the worst buying experience I've EVER had. But I guess I learned my lesson. Always buy a car on a fresh head, and always take the contract home before you sign it. Trust your gut.


Hi Disgruntled,

I can't tell you how many times I hear stories like this! You're lucky the General Manager was willing to give you the original deal! The moral of this story is to always read every line on a contract before signing. I doubt you'll ever find a dealer who will let you take a contract home to study before signing, but you certainly can't trust anyone in a car dealership to be looking out for your best interests. Yes, there are some who will - some honest sales people and managers, but you don't know which ones they are!

And the Finance Office is always where the shenanigans go on! You have to read every single entry on a finance contract they print up. If you don't (and most people don't) then you stand a really good chance that they are going to slip something in on you, whether it's changing the sales price, the trade allowance, the interest rate, the term of the loan, or adding extras that you didn't agree to.

Thanks for taking the time to send your story. Hopefully, other people can learn from it. I wish you all the very best . . .

Tony Iorio

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