Linoge posts a story about the way dealers sell cars, and it reminds me…

About 7 years ago, I bought a Nissan truck from Universal Nissan in Orlando. After the deal was done, imagine my surprise that they tacked on a $400 “dealer prep” fee. I objected, and they told me that “everyone pays this. I work here, and even I have to pay this.”

I told him, “That’s your problem. I am not paying this.”

He got the manager, and the manager asked me if I was the sort of man who would let $400 ruin a good deal. I responded, “No, you are. We negotiated a price, and slapping extra charges on there after we agreed on a price is dishonest.”

He responded by telling me that the reason the fee is preprinted on the forms is that everyone must pay them, because this is what paid the dealer to get the car ready for sale, you know, inspecting, washing, etcetera. I told the manager that as far as I was concerned, that was a part of the cost of doing business, and that those costs should be factored into the deal.

We finally came to an agreement whereupon I agreed to pay the fee in exchange for them taking another $600 off of the price of the vehicle. Even though I paid $200 less this way than if they had just waived the fee, I just know that I somehow got screwed on the deal.

Everything that car dealers do is shady and dishonest, from sign and drive scams, to $200 floor mats, to the hidden fees and charges- all car dealers want to do is rip you off. Even the so-called “no haggle” dealers do it- just in their case, the deal is “take it or leave it.” Universal Nissan is not unique- nearly every dealer does this.

I, for one, am not sorry to see them in financial trouble. Why can’t people just do honest business at an honest price?

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