While getting instant car quotes on the Internet is an easy way to approximate the price of your next vehicle, there are some common tricks used by dealership Internet departments in their price quotes that can make them incorrect. Just as in print advertising, dealerships may use bait-and-switch tactics or advertise vehicles that are not in stock in an effort to get your attention and bring you to the showroom. One good way to avoid tactics like this is to use a website like Autos.com to get price quotes from dealers in your area who offer up front, no-haggle Internet prices.
A common tactic used by dealerships is to advertise a vehicle that is not in stock. This allows dealerships to have discount car pricing quotes when compared to the competition. With sophisticated online search systems, dealerships can price a vehicle that is in the inventory of a dealership hundreds of miles away. This is done in an effort to have the lowest advertised price, as dealerships realize that their Internet clients may be getting price quotes from multiple dealerships, and possibly contacting other dealerships by phone. If a dealership basis the quote on a vehicle that is not in stock, you may contact the Internet manager and let them know what options you are looking for. This allows a price quote to be customized to your needs and preferred options.
Dealerships may also advertise using rebates for which not all customers will qualify. This is especially common when shopping for American-made vehicles, as rebates are very large, and some of them are targeted at specific shoppers. If you have requested multiple price quotes while shopping for a vehicle and you find that one is much lower than all of the others, contact the Internet manager who provided the quote, and ask what rebates were used to arrive at that price. The dealership should be more than willing to itemize all the discounts used in the price quote.
Many instant car quotes are sent from templates used by dealerships. Although using templates allows dealerships to respond quickly to customer inquiries, many e-mails are haphazardly sent, missing lots of important information. For example, if you requested pricing information on a Ford F350 with a diesel engine, but the price quote is for an F150 with no options, the dealership is probably using the same template for all truck inquiries. You may be able to get a faster price quote by contacting the dealership by phone.
In addition to unreliable pricing, bait-and-switch tactics are occasionally used in instant car quotes. A common tactic is that the dealership advertises a vehicle that is not in stock, or a price they cannot honor. If you sense that a price quote is problematic, or that the dealership is withholding information, contact the Internet sales manager who sent you the initial price quote. If, after contacting the Internet manager, you do not feel comfortable with the dealership, it is best to continue your search by using dealership that provide no-hassle quotes, like those listed on Autos.com.