Before you email me, please read the FAQs below. It is likely that you will find the answer to your question. If your question is not answered then click here to email me.
Toyota's Scion Division Sells At Full Sticker Price!
Toyota's Scion Division does not haggle over price, they sell at full sticker price. Do not email me asking what to do, you either pay the sticker price, which is a good price anyway, or you go buy another a car.
Are You Selling Your Used Car Online? Western Union Scam Alert!
If you listed your car online and are emailed by a "company" in Europe with a client interested in your car, and they want to send you a check for more than your car, and they want you to Western Union them back the change, Do Not Do It! It is a classic check bouncing Nigerian scam. Read our Chapter on Nigerian Scams before you do anything.
If you are writing in to alert us about an escrow fraud scam from eBay Motors, AutoTrader, Cars.com, CycleTrader.com, etc., please give me the exact link to the auction or classified ad or your email will not be answered. We also need to know what city and state you are in. If you have any bank to bank wiring instructions from the fake escrow site, please include the entire wiring instructions email that you got from the "escrow site" telling you where to wire the money, and the date, time, amount you wired, the federal reference number of your wire transfer, and what name you used for the wire transfer.
If you wired cash via Western Union to a scammer do not email me and ask me "How do I get my money back." You Don't! Use your head, if you wired cash to someone you don't know in another country and the cash has been picked up, how in the world do you expect to get it back? Before you email me about escrow fraud, please read our Online Article Explaining Escrow Fraud.
If you already read the site and your answer is not found on this page, you can then email me.
Please don't email me your monthly payment and say "Did I get a good price?"
If you just bought a car using our site and you want to tell us about how much you paid, click here to submit your savings. Be sure you tell us this info:
We'll add your savings to the $avOmeter and add your car to our database at for other visitors to use as a guide.
Q: Jeff, Dealer wants to sell me a car with 5,000 miles on it and says it's new. I say it's used, which is it?
States will legally call a car "used" once it has been titled to the first customer. It can sit on the dealer's lot and collect up 10,000 miles and still be called new. You are wasting your time arguing the point on this with your car salesman. The angle you should be using is this car has 5,000 miles on it, that's a lot of depreciation. Obviously the dealer is having a hard time unloading it, because it's still there on his lot costing him floor plan interest, and he's trying desperately to get you to buy it. Use this to your advantage when you haggle the price. I cover this scenario in more detail in Chapter 2.
Q: My lease is ending soon, what do I do? Can I just walk away? Is the residual buyout value in my lease negotiable?
Yes you should just return the car and walk away. Residual values are normally not negotiable, but some leasing companies will haggle. Your residual value is normally your purchase price. Don't forget there is also a purchase option fee, usually around $300. Read my Leasing Dilemmas chapter and it covers lease end choices: http://www.carbuyingtips.com/lease5.htm
Q: I tried the car quote services you recommended but they would not give prices. They merely referred me to the same dealership and instructed me to ask for the salesperson in charge of "Internet Sales."
That does happens sometimes, it's not the end of the world. Some dealers are afraid if they give you a quote via email that you won't go visit them, and instead keep on shopping. No big deal. Keep in mind what is happening though, you are being sent to a fleet manager instead of a lot salesperson. So hopefully you'll get treated better. Either visit them and talk a good price, or move on to the next source. Just because they don't reveal the price until you get there does not mean you'll get a bad deal. Lots of businesses with good prices like Costco Wholesale, for example, refuse to give prices over the phone.
Q: It's the fall season, and next year's models are out now for the car I want, but none of the web sites show pricing yet for it? Where can I get this information?
Try the FightingChance.com web site, they might have it.
Q: I see a "Destination Charge" on the invoice. Is this legit? Is it a dealer prep scam?
Destination Charge is the shipping charge, we all pay it, and it is a legitimate charge. It has nothing to do with dealer prep.
Q: Where can I get a VIN decoder?
Many people ask this. The software to decode a VIN is prohibitively expensive. Some car fan pages can decode a VIN only on one particular car. But one good benefit of the AutoCheck Report is that part of their report includes a VIN decode on the car including the model, options, year, engine size and type, drive train info, country of manufacture, EPA gas mileage, etc.
Q: Jeff, my dealer won't take my online car loan bank draft. They said these sites bounce checks and take too long to pay the dealer so the dealer won't take their check. What can I do?
The finance manager is either lying or wrong. If you bring your own financing, they get no commission for selling you a car loan, so they lie and say the checks bounce, or they tell you takes too long to pay. Some dealers deposit the check before they have the OK to do so, and naturally the check will not cash. As long as the lender receives ALL required docs from the dealer, there is no problem.
Q: Jeff, the quotes that dealers are giving me show advertising fees some are $400 to $900. Is this legit?
It's a big controversy. Some dealers charge it, some don't. Read up on advertising and all other fees in Chapter 3.
Q: Jeff, what do you think of the GM Employee Purchase Programs, or similar type "discount programs" offered to GM suppliers, family, associates, or Ford or Chrysler Employee Purchase Programs?
Every single person who has ever emailed me about their experience with this non-sense, including GM employees, has all been bad news. Supposedly there is a discount, but keep in mind if you are a GM employee, that means nothing to a salesperson at a dealership, which is a privately owned business. To them you're just another person walking in off the street, and now you want a discount? Many GM employees have told me the price was not good, or the dealer piled on tons of worthless extras to make up for the low price, or just made up some excuse why they cannot give them a discount. No GM employee has ever written us to say they got a good deal under that program. I have received reports from people getting good deals on the Ford A Plan. My advice? Whether you have some sort of discount or not, follow the 7 chapters of How To Buy A New Car & Avoid Scams and do exactly as directed. If the "Employee Discount" or "A Plan" or "Whatever Plan" price is not in line with what you should be paying based on what you learn in the 7 chapters, then it's time to negotiate. My guess is that you will be negotiating almost every time.
Q: Jeff, does the dealer have to show me the invoice price if I ask to see it? Why won't he show me?
They are not required to show you their invoice. Many dealers don't want you to know what they paid for obvious reasons. But no problem, just look them up on the car pricing sites we review here. It's the same price for all dealers.
Q: Jeff, I think the dealer is trying to scam me with their extended warranty. Got any tips?
Yes, click on the following link to read our complete guide on buying an Extended Warranty. It covers everything you need to know to buy a warranty, avoid scams, save hundreds or even thousands of dollars, how to tell if a warranty company has the ability to pay your claims, warning signs, traps to avoid and more.
Q: Jeff, I need info on used cars, got any tips for me?
Yes, we have 2 articles online that teach you everything you need to know about buying and selling used cars, so try these 2 links:
How To Buy A Used Car OR How To Sell Your Used Car.
Q: Jeff, you mention MSRP a lot. What does that mean?
Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price. It's the selling price that car makers suggest dealers sell a car for. It provides them with a ton of profit, but often the "street price" can end up being lower.
Q: Jeff, where can I lookup rebate, holdback, and factory to dealer incentives?
Free sites may not always have up to date information, especially when new models come out. The site we like the best is the Fighting Chance Package.
Q: Jeff, I signed a lease 2 days ago, then researched the car I leased on the internet and discovered the dealer ripped me off. Now they won't let me out of the lease. I heard there's a 3 day grace period, why won't they let me out of the deal?
A: Leasing a car is not like buying, you can't just bring it back. A lease is a contract, like joining a gym, saying you'll be a member for 24, 36, 48, or 60 months and pay them every month. In fact, California law requires all car dealers to post signs stating that there is no 3 day grace period. Once you sign, that's it. You're supposed to research your car for 2 weeks before signing a lease, not 2 days after signing. Too many people sign without reading and think I have some magic wand and sprinkle some of my magic CarBuyingTips.com dust, and all their problems go away. I don't answer this type of email, I just delete it.
Q: Jeff, I just leased a car and I'm moving out of state. What should I do?
Q: Jeff, I recently leased a car and I'm about to lose my job. What should I do?
A: If you signed a lease, there's nothing you can do if you lose your job. They don't care about your hardship, you signed a lease, and a deal's a deal. You might try to get the leasing company's permission to let someone you know take over the payments, but if they default, it's your credit that gets ruined. If you move out of state, some leasing companies won't allow the car to be brought out of state. Others will adjust your monthly payments to account for the difference in tax. I cover this in the leasing article under Getting Out Of Common Leasing Dilemmas. Please read the article so I don't have to retype it to you. A lease is a contract you cannot get out of without stiff penalties.
Q: Jeff, I just bought a new Supermobile LX, and my monthly lease payments are $699. Is this a good deal?
A: How should I know? First of all, you are supposed to read the leasing article, and if you did, you would not need to ask this question. Besides, how can anyone tell if that's a good deal without knowing the money factor, residual value, cap cost, down payment, etc. Also, by looking only at the monthly payment, you are making a mistake, as you should be concentrating on what the Gross Cap Cost was, not the monthly payments. You should look at the gross cap cost and ask if that is a good price. Go read the How To Lease A Car article.
Q: Jeff, do you get paid by any of the companies you recommend on CarBuyingTips.com?
Yes we do. I'm what you call a real world consumer advocate. I don't like to just dispense vague and generic advice like consumer interest groups do. I like to go one step further and review each business that we recommend, telling you how to get the most out of them and what's in it for you. Keep in mind that although they pay us, I would not recommend a site that I thought would not do good by you. There are some well known companies that are not mentioned here because I don't think they are very good. Before you claim that I'm just in it for the money, keep in mind that 80% of this site in it's current form was already up and running at my own expense, long before we had our first advertiser.
Q: Jeff, I just got screwed on my interest rate by the dealer, what do I do now?
Don't email us! Do something about it. Click here to visit Capital One Auto Finance or Up2Drive to refinance your loan immediately. For more detailed information about refinancing, click here to visit our Auto Refinance section.
If you did not find an answer to your question above, then email me. Please tell us how you found out about us.