Inside The Business Office
Negotiations complete, the smiling salesman leads you into the Business Office, also known as the "F&I" Office (for "Finance and Insurance"). You're introduced to the Business Manager, a very pleasant well-groomed woman (or man) who congratulates you on your purchase. She reassures you that you made a wise decision and that the tough part is over so now you can relax. You sit and breathe a welcome sigh of relief.
As you go through the formalities of signing the various forms and agreements, she casually explains your financing terms, your interest rate and other details. Along the way, she offers you several "extras" that will add "mere pennies a day" to your monthly payments. Among these items may be an extended service warranty, paint and fabric protection, rustproofing, undercoating, alarm system, window tinting, and maybe even life, health or disability insurance.
You're relaxed. The negotiating is over. And these "extras" sound really worthwhile. Besides, you like this Business Manager. She's not at all like the pushy salesman you just left out in the showroom. So you purchase the extended warranty. You purchase the paint and fabric protection. And you purchase the alarm system.
BAM! You just put a small fortune in her purse. Why? Because:
At most dealerships, the "Business Manager" is, in reality, another salesperson working on commission.Of course you probably didn't know that. Most car buyers don't. And no one at the dealership is going to tell you.
Almost everything the "Business Manager" offers you - extended warranty, paint and fabric protection, rustproofing, even your interest rate - may be negotiable.
So you sign the papers, shake hands once again and walk outside to take delivery of your car.
The salesman greets you with a big smile. "Congratulations," he says as he walks you over to your new vehicle. He shows you the fine points, then hands you the keys and waves as you drive off.
And now the car salesman can finally relax once and for all. Because the entire time you were in the Business Office, thinking that you've bought that car, he was pacing nervously around the showroom, hoping and praying that the Business Manager was doing her job of keeping you calm and reassured.
Because the truth is that, in most States, no matter how many times they may shake your hand and no matter how many times they may congratulate you on your purchase, you haven't legally bought that car until you drive it off the lot. Every salesman knows that. That's another reason why he wants you to drive that car home now.
So that's the car salesman's game. Now review the recap on the next page.
When you're ready, move on to Step Two in which you'll discover how to shop with confidence to find the car that's right for you.
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