Are there any good 'tells' to indicate a dealer is presenting pricing that you would never, ever get?


Asked by loretta Dec 22, 2017 at 11:54 AM about the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack SE 4Motion AWD

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

I know 'if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.'  Does anyone have tips for how to spot phony dealer pricing without wasting time?  I'm thinking that the price change history might be a good indicator.  I see some from a dealer in Winchester, VA and the price on a single car goes up and down, ranging anywhere from $17,419 to $31,670!  How can that be?  Any other tips are welcome.  We want to buy a car before the new year and it's no fun.

3 Answers


I always go in person to look for a used or new vehicle. I generally avoid the little non dealership car lots. There is no general rule of thumb to help sort the good ones from the bad. Anytime they start to play games, just leave and go elsewhere. I have purchased several from CarMax and have been very satisfied with those vehicles. CarMax has a great website and their prices are clearly posted. I have never had them put the hard sell on me or play any games. Also CarMax will ship cars from other locations closer to you for your inspection and test drive. If locations are close these transfers are free and you are under no obligation to buy. If the locations are further apart then there is a fee to move the vehicle closer to you.

4 people found this helpful.

Use online car pricing guides to check the prices to see if they are high or low. Car Max is good if you hate negotiations but you will pay a premium for your car.

2 people found this helpful.

You will pay a premium on some vehicles. When I purchased a 2006 Corvette from them several years ago it was about $4,000 less than anywhere else I found with similar equipment and low mileage. Car dealers can still play games even if the price appears to be good.

2 people found this helpful.

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