A visit to F&I

What is F&I?   Like I mentioned in the extended warranty blog, F&I is the department that finalizes your paperwork , arranges your financing and offers additional products. F&I people have varied titles depending on the dealership.  “Finance Director” “Business Manager” “Finance Manager”.  They all do about the same thing.   They print out the paperwork and show you where to sign after they have “pitched” you on their products.  Some big stores have people called spinners that print the paperwork and the business manager presents their products before the spinner prints out the forms.  it all work out the same

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The techniques used by business managers vary .  Some pressure you and some don’t.  Some will use a menu.  A menu is a written proposal that shows how much an item or a group of items will affect your payment or your cash total.  Very few F&I departments offer Insurance such as life and accident and sickness any more, but many offer insurance on the vehicle you are buying, especially motorcycle dealers.

There are may products they will try to sell.  The first sale for them is securing your finance through their services.  Banks pay a kickback called reserve to dealers for handling a finance transaction.  The commission can be huge from $100 to thousands of dollars depending on the amount financed, the term of the finance and the interest rate used.   Sometimes a Business manager can get you a better rate then you can get on your own and sometimes the promotional rate is better than the bank.  Either way shop the rate but when you get a rate from your bank find out what beacon score (credit score)  is required for that rate.

Other items that are sold by an F&I office can be extended service plans, paint treatment, security items like Lo Jack, prepaid maintenance, tire hazard guarantees, etc.  There are many different items and most are valuable in certain cases.  I suggest you listen to the information about the products.  You can always say “NO”.  If you aren’t interested in the products you will need to listen to a short presentation, at least.  There is a certain amount of legal exposure for the dealership that requires they inform you about some of the products.     I lease short-term so there has not been any product that I purchased from F&I except tire hazard.  It was a good value and I was able to put it in my payment for 1.75 a month.  if you purchase something from  the F&I office, follow these basic rules.  Know what you paid for it.  Make sure it has a value to you and is transferable if it is still in force when you trade the vehicle in.  Always purchase the vehicle manufacturer’s version of a product, if possible.  No one is more concerned about your happiness then the company who built your new vehile.

About Geoffrey Jerome

I am a 35 year veteran of the automobile and motorcycle industry, author of seven books, soon to be nine, Both fiction and nonfiction. I have three super kids, actually adults, and a wonderful Jack Russell Terrier named Lucy Lynn. I am Formerly from upstate New York, Ithaca. I ride a Harley, like photography, technology and I know climate change is the worlds biggest problem.
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