Labor Day Car Sales: 5 Car Dealer Tricks to Avoid

a car dealer who may or may not be practicing sales tricks

One of the best times to purchase a car is during Labor Day weekend. It’s the end of the summer and dealerships are itching to sell their vehicles, but that doesn’t mean you should end up buying something you don’t want. Before you walk onto a car lot, learn about these five car dealership sales tricks, so you can make sure you get the perfect vehicle.

Pulling You In

If you’ve ever spoken with a car salesperson, you know how hard they work to get you into the dealership. No agent likes to negotiate over the phone or through email. The easiest way for them to make a sale is to get you to come to the dealership. Why? Because you’ve already spent the time to go to the location, meet with them, and probably see the vehicle. At that point, it’s all about numbers to the agents. If you’re interested in purchasing a specific vehicle, don’t drive to the dealership unless you’re 100% ready to buy, or at least have a strong will to say no if the car isn’t a right fit.


Labor Day car shopping is all about the deals. Unfortunately, you may find yourself walking around a dealership only to find that someone else “recently purchased” the car you had your eye on. This is referred to as a bait-and-switch. As mentioned before, it’s all about getting you into the dealership. Once you’re there, then you’re willing to purchase something. If the agent insists that they “just sold” the vehicle that you want, you’re probably at a shady dealership.

Devaluing Trade-In

Most people offer their car as a trade-in for a new vehicle. It’s a great way to increase your down payment. Most people have an idea of what their car is worth. But when you take it in, the dealership may find problems with your vehicle you never noticed. When examining your trade-in, the examiner touches every scratch, inspects every hole in the upholstery, and uses every other visual cue to show that your vehicle has flaws. The inspector does this purposefully so that when the sales agent comes back with a low number for your trade-in, you’ll feel lucky that they even accepted your vehicle. Have a third party appraise your car beforehand. That way, you know exactly how much your car is worth before negotiations begin.

Monthly Payments

The easiest way to make a sale is to hide how much the vehicle actually costs. If you come in to purchase a sedan, a salesperson will probably ask what payments you can afford. Answering this question is dangerous because a sales agent can finagle his way into making you buy a more expensive car. Sure, the payments will still be within your range, but you may find your 60-month term is now a 72-month term. Always ask about the actual price of the vehicle to determine how much you’ll be paying overall.

Can’t Guarantee Price

The worst thing for a dealership is to have someone walk out the door. That’s when the agent knows the sale is potentially lost. A common tactic is to then say that a price isn’t guaranteed or that the vehicle won’t be there the following day. Never trust this tactic. If you need time to think about a sale, do so. There are likely plenty others on the lot if the car is a popular make and model. If not, other dealerships will have the same type. Never trust a salesperson who tells you there is no price guarantee or that someone else may buy the vehicle out from under you. Know when to say no.