Buying a car is a pretty stressful and difficult process for a lot of people. Of course, there are those who can throw cash down onto a dealer’s desk and ask for the keys to anything they want, but that’s hardly the majority. On top of the financial commitment that comes with it, the major fear that a lot of people have when buying a car is that they’re worried that the dealer is going to try to rip them off.

The narrative of car salesmen as con artists has been around for an incredibly long time and it’s sad to say that there’s a degree to which it’s actually true. They might not be doing anything illegal, but there are plenty of ways car dealers can convince you to part with your hard earned cash by making you think you’re getting a better deal than you are.

It should be said that this does not apply to the vast majority of car dealerships. Most car dealers are honest, hardworking folks who want to help you get the best possible deal on the car that you want. But here are just a few ways to avoid getting swindled by a less than honest car dealer.

Know their tricks

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Car dealers have all sorts of tricks and techniques that they love to use to pressure you into buying a car for more than you planned, or buying a car that is falling apart. They may try to obscure the history of a car, hiding the fact that it has problems that you can’t readily see. They may try to confuse you by throwing as many figures and prices at you at once. By being aware of these kinds of tricks you can make sure that you don’t fall for them.

Find reputable dealers

Of course, you might be thinking “what if every dealership near me is planning on ripping me off?!” But it’s important to remember that there are high quality, reputable dealers out there. The best thing to do is find places with reviews online and check through them. If the place doesn’t appear on any review aggregate sites, then try to see if you can get customer feedback from them. If they refuse to produce any customer feedback they likely have something to hide and should be avoided at all costs.

Stand your ground

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The most important thing is to know what you want, what your budget is, and to stick to them. Sticking to your guns and refusing to be swayed is the best way to avoid letting the kind of sales patter dealers often use lead you down the road to getting ripped off. Be as informed as possible before you step through the door. Even if you trust the dealer, make sure that you know the kind of vehicle that you’re after as well as the maximum amounts of money that you’re willing to spend. That way you know exactly when to say no and walk away.