I’ve mentioned before that even when you do your best to negotiate the sale price of your car, you still need to keep your guard up when you get to the finance office. Often this is where the dealers make the most money, and can be a bit pushy about it. My recent trip to the F&I office was surprisingly pleasant.
I just purchased a 2015 GTI and sat down with a lovely lady to finalize the papers. Her name was Donna and she works at a small family run dealership called Burke Motors in South Jersey. You could tell she had been doing this a long time, but none of her demeanor had the air of someone who wanted to take me for every penny.
It is important to mention that this woman had no idea who I was or what I do. I was just a customer, like many others. I got the very distinct sense that she treated me like all the other people who sit at her desk on a daily basis.
Here is how the conversation went.
Okay so we are going to sign a bunch of papers. If you have any questions about anything ask me and I’ll be glad to explain the details. The first batch is just a privacy form, we will not talk to anyone except Volkswagen about your purchase. If someone comes in and asks who you are or what you bought. We don’t tell them a thing.
(I sign a few simple forms and move on)
Here is your credit report disclosure from Experian. This is your score and how it compares to others. If you have any questions about it, here is the number you need to call to dispute any irregularities.
Also, I see you applied for VW’s 1.9% for 60 months and got approved. Since your credit score is very high, I was able to get a slightly better rate from Bank of America. Would you like to go with that instead?
I agreed with that instantly.
She then goes through some Lemon Law disclosure paperwork and the buyer’s contract, along with a form from the bank that says I will keep the car insured and promise to make my payments.
Then it happens...the moment I was expecting.
Donna: Can I interest you in an extended warranty or a service plan?
Me: No thank you. I’m good.
Donna: Okay, no problem. You will probably get some literature in the mail in a few weeks. If you decide to change your mind let us know.
And that was it...no scare tactics on how much “expensive components cost” or some line about how I need to “protect my investment.” It was as simple as “Hey, we offer this thing for sale. Would you like it?” and after I politely declined, that was the end of the conversation.
After we wrap everything up she says, “Now you got all your belongings out of the Mazda you are trading right? Especially your EZ Pass? People always forget their EZ Pass. So enjoy your new car, wear your seat-belt and be careful out there.”
It was almost as if I just sat down with one of my relatives rather than an employee at a dealership. From start to finish all the paperwork took maybe 15 minutes. When I mentioned how laid-back the whole finance process was, Donna told me this:
Well, the Burke family has been selling cars in this area for over 100 years. This is how we do things. We want people to feel good about their purchase, be happy, and tell their family and friends so we can keep selling cars for another 100 years.
While it is certainly more entertaining to read dealer horror stories, it is important to highlight the people that are doing things right. I’ve maintained that dealership employees are usually a product of the management’s philosophy. While it would be great to assume that all finance offices operate like Donna’s, you should still read all your paperwork carefully and question any charges or fees that don’t make sense.
If you have a question, a tip, or something you would like to to share about car-buying, drop me a line at AutomatchConsulting@gmail.com and be sure to include your Kinja handle.