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I have a girlfriend who recently purchased a used 2003 Honda Civic and had a HORRIBLE experience at the dealership. She was originally quoted an interest rate of 15%, and she also got hornswaggled into purchasing an ADDITIONAL $2200 warranty that apparently already came with the car. After all was said and done, she was paying $6-7,000 OVER the price of a BRAND NEW Honda Civic’s Kelly blue book price. Basically, the salesman took advantage of her complete lack of car buying knowledge and completely intimidated her by throwing out all sorts of numbers. She was desperately in need of a vehicle and had limited transportation to go look at other dealerships, so she just signed on the dotted line. Ack!

Research, research, research before ANY big purchase is my #1 motto.

Also, take a friend along to be your voice of reason — or intimidation factor if you’re a timid female! I’d never go to a dealer without my big 6’4” Lumberjack-lookalike of a friend (who is also a mechanic and can point out anything that needs to be fixed or replaced in the near future). He actually offers to take people from dealer to dealer (pretending to be your fiancee, if need be), for a reasonable fee. If I’d only known this, I would have hooked him up with my friend before she purchased her vehicle. Paying someone $200 to save you THOUSANDS is highly worth it, in my opinion. Hmm. What a good business idea. I should help him market it…

If my girlfriend had only read this post about the inner workings of a car dealership, it would have saved her a ton of money. This post and all the comments that follow are packed with useful information that I thought I’d pass along.

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