Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Four-Square Scam


Who’s involved? – New and Used Dealerships
What is it?  - The four-square scam is a common tactic used by dealerships to convince you into making a bad deal.  The trick is, they do all of this right under your nose.  With a single sheet sectioned into four squares, they can manipulate you to the point where you are paying them exactly what they want, maybe more and you come out thinking you’ve gotten everything you’ve asked for.  By breaking the sheet up into the four sections (value of trade-in, price of new car, down payment amount and monthly payment) the salesman can get a good gage for your concerns and re-work the numbers to reflect this.  If you’re worried about over paying monthly, they’ll find a way to adjust this to your liking, but sublimate this price on one of the other three squares.  They play this game in rounds, constantly taking the “new” numbers back to the sales manager for approval.  In the end, you’ll be locked into a contract and you’ll feel good, but you will have been squeezed like a Florida orange on a Sunday.
How to avoid? – If you walk into a dealership that uses the four-square method, you should highly consider walking out.  Even if you play the game, there is too much time and effort spent and not nearly enough result.  If you really must play, the best thing is to start by leveling with the salesman.  Tell him you know how the method works and then lay out the price you do want.  Make him work around you, not pretend to.  You won’t get the exact deal you want, but you can find common ground.  Either way, make sure you pay attention as the salesman powers through his routine.  Don’t let him act as if he is there to be your friend, he’s there to make a deal.
Terms & Trigger words to avoid? – “Let me take it to my manager” is the primary trigger term to keep an ear open to.  When a salesman says this, they don’t have to take it to their manager because the manager already knows.  It’s a shadow game and the manager is the one calling the shots from a back room.  They already know what you want and what they’re going to give you, it’s a matter of you taking control back without them realizing.
Tyler Baker; One Stop Motors Writer

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