W.A. Asked: “A car I was looking at had an extra sticker next to the regular price sticker. It included VIN etching, an interior protection package, and pin-striping. The total cost for these was over $1,000. Do I have to pay for that? These are not things that I do not want.”
There are a number of items that some dealerships try to sell you that you seldom if ever need, and that are almost pure profit for the dealer. Some dealers even call them “packs.” Here are a few examples.
• Undercoating – Given today’s manufacturing techniques, rust-through is a very rare problem. Furthermore, most manufacturers have 5-7 year warranties against rust and corrosion. Undercoating is something you almost never need and could in some cases even damage the car.
• Scotchguarding (“Interior Protection Package”) – If you feel you need to Scotchguard the fabric in your car, buy a can for a few dollars and do it yourself.
• Paint Sealant – Again, today’s manufacturing techniques make this an option that you don’t need.
• Dealer Preparation Charges – Never pay anything for dealer preparation. In fact, in most cases, the factory pays the dealer a specific sum for the cost of prepping the car and putting gas in it.
• VIN Etching – Supposedly making it easier to recover the car if it is stolen.
• Window Tinting – If you really want this, you can get it much cheaper from a third party after you buy the car.
• Pin-Stripping (“Appearance Package”) – Again, if you really want this, you can get it much cheaper from a third party after you buy the car.
• Alarm System – Many cars come with an alarm system already installed. Dealers sometimes even disconnect the factory systems to install their own. If the car does not come with an alarm system and you want one, you can get it much cheaper from a third party after you buy the car.
Occasionally dealers will actually install some of these items when the car arrives on the lot. They then put a “supplemental sticker” (“rip-off sticker”) on the car and insist that you have to pay for the extra items. I would stay away from any car that has a “supplemental sticker,” and I would not do business with any dealer that puts them on all their cars. If you absolutely have to have a car with a “supplemental sticker”, maybe because it is a color you have not been able find anywhere else, try to find out what the items would cost in the after market and then pay the dealer no more than 50% of that. That way the dealer will probably just get their costs back. And no, they do not deserve any profit an these items since you do not want them and dealer is forcing them on you.
For a complete roadmap on how to negotiate when buying a new car, go to the New Car Negotiating Page. It has all of the strategies, tactics and techniques that you will need to negotiate a great price on that new car.
If you have any car negotiating questions, I would love to hear from you.