Buying a car in this day and age can be overwhelming.  The Attorney General has some tips that will help you when you decide to buy your next car.

Do not be swayed by the ads.  Advertisements often have restrictions and limitations such as the very low interest rate they offer may be for a specific car or model.  This is information that you should know before you go to a dealership.  Call the dealership first and ask about the restrictions and limitations.  Remember this old adage – “The BIG print giveth and the small print taketh away.”  Always read the fine print.

Shop around.  Knowing what you want and how much you are willing to spend puts you in a stronger position to shop around for the best deal.  If a dealership doesn’t have what you want, consider ordering a new car to avoid paying for unwanted extras.  However, because dealers want to sell from their current inventory, you may be able to negotiate a good deal if an in-stock car meets your needs.

Trading in?  Always know the value of your trade in if you have one.  Understand that many dealers will give you the low end of the value of your trade which means a larger profit margin for them.  Knowing the full value of your trade in and the full price of the car you are interested in will give you the “difference” in values.  Always keep that difference in mind while shopping. 

Understand the true total cost of the vehicle.  The real cost of a car includes more than its purchase price.  Consider the vehicle’s reliability since an unreliable car will cost you much more in more frequent repairs, not to mention the aggravation of being without the car.  Also, fuel consumption can vary widely across different vehicle years, makes and models and with the current price of gasoline, you should consider the average miles per gallon and the size of the fuel tank to determine how much you can expect to pay at the pump.

Negotiate.  The sticker price of the vehicle, the MSRP, is the manufacturer’s “suggested” retail price and most dealers are willing to bargain on their profit margin.  Always negotiate the total price and not the monthly payments.  Dealers  will often up-sell and include optional products or services in the purchase price.  If there are unwanted or unnecessary options included, negotiate to have them removed.  Negotiate all terms before signing and be sure you understand what you are signing.  Remember about the BIG print and the small print.  Understand what is due at signing and what your monthly payments will be and how much you will be paying over the life of the loan.

Understand Florida’s Lemon Law.  The dealer is required to provide you with a booklet published by the Attorney General’s office that explains your rights under the Lemon Law.  Read this carefully and if you have problems with your new car, call the Lemon Law Hotline at 800-321-5366.

If you need advice or assistance with your car buying experience, Seniors vs. Crime may be able to help.  Our services are always free and there are four offices in the Villages to assist you.

Need assistance?  Seniors vs. Crime is here to help you.

  • Sumter Office – Open Mon-Thurs.; 10am-2pm @ 352-689-4600 X 4606
  • Wildwood Office – Open Tue – Thur.; 10am – 1pm @ 352-753-0727
  • Marion Office – Open Tuesday; 10am-2pm @ 352-753-7775
  • Fruitland Park Office – Open Wednesday; 10am-2pm @ 352-674-1882

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