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Car Buying

FCAN Car Buying Guide

Buying a car can should be fun, not an unpleasant experience for consumers. The FCAN Car Buying Guide will help you understand the process so you can understand the purchase and be confortable that you did it right.

Often, consumers don't exactly know what to expect, what a fair price is, or whether the dealer is trying to help you or rip you off. FCAN presents the following information, with the help of insiders in the auto dealer industry, to arm you to be a better consumer. You CAN know what a fair price is. You CAN know what extras to buy and when to say no. You CAN know if the financing is fair

The first thing to know is that the price consists of three parts: the price of the car, the terms of the financing, and any add ons. Consumer advocate and car dealer Jack Fitzgerald gets credit for terming those items PTA, and he recommends the PTA process. There are links to his consumer page and more information on PTA below.

Shop for credit

If you have good credit, check with your credit union or other financial institution first. That way, you can compare to the rates offered by the dealers. Sometimes dealers can offer manufacturer financing that will beat the banks. 

If you don't have good credit, still shop around, but you'll be in a different situation at the dealer. They will "shop" your credit app around and may have access to other financial resources. The dealer may find good financing, but there may be an arrangement between the dealer and the finance company to rebate part of the interest back to the dealer. This is, in effect a cost of buying the car and a profit for the dealer.

When buying, you need to add the cost of your loan, including any origination fees plus the interest, to know the total cost of what you're buying.

Car Buying Services

So called "free" car buying services that promise to save you money, are often a sucker deal. Any educated consumer knows nothing is free, and that anything represented as free just has a hidden cost.

Find out more on our Car Buying Services page.

In the case of car buying services, every time a referral they make results in a sale, the dealer pays them $300 or $400. Guess who ends up paying that?  Of course it is you, the consumer. You will get a better deal by simply following the advice on this page instead of using the "free" service.

FCAN Auto Minutes

Consumer auto buying education on video

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