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Next to a home, a new car purchase is the largest financial transaction for most consumers. Yet, shopping for the best deal at an automobile dealership has historically been a mysterious, painful and often regrettably expensive experience for many consumers.


bullet Research the price

First decide what car model and options you want. Then visit your library or bookstore and check materials that provide information on the dealer's costs (invoice price) for specific models with the options you desire.

bullet Shop around

Armed with this knowledge, you will be in a stronger position to shop around or to consult car-buying or broker services to obtain the best available deal. Going to only one dealer and relying solely upon the salesman's oral promises, without researching the price or comparison price-shopping with other competitors, is the best way to get "ripped-off." If the dealer does not have the vehicle with the options you desire on its lot, consider ordering your new car, to avoid paying extra for unwanted options.

bullet Negotiate

The STICKER PRICE or "MSRP" is the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Most dealers are willing to bargain on their profit margin, which is generally between 10 to 20 percent of MSRP. Don't get talked into a lease unless you have researched car leasing and have made an informed decision to lease (?See Car Leasing?) (Link to car leasing.htm)

bullet Trade-ins

Your library will have reference material which can help you determine the value of your trade-in vehicle. You will usually fare better by selling your car privately. Consider advertising in a local newspaper or flyer. If not, obtain your best possible purchase price from the dealer before discussing the possibility of a trade.

bullet Financing

Check the "APR" (annual percentage rate) at your bank, credit union or even your insurance company or motor club, and compare them to the rate quoted by the dealer. Advertised low interest rates by the dealer may require you to pay the vehicle's sticker price.

bullet Extended Service Contracts

The dealer is likely to try to sell you a service contract to provide for repair of certain specified parts or problems. These service contracts usually overlap the initial warranty coverage included by the vehicle manufacturer in the price of the car. Read the contract carefully to determine what repairs are covered, the extent of the coverage (parts, labor, deductibles, exclusions), and the other terms and conditions.

bullet Florida's Lemon Law

The dealer is required to provide you with a booklet published by the Attorney General's office, which explains your rights under Florida's Lemon Law. Read this carefully, especially if you begin to experience chronic warranty problems with your new vehicle. Call the hotline at Lemon Law (800) 321-5366 for further assistance.

Source: Originally developed by the Florida Attorney General's Office

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