How do you know when an advertisement by an automobile dealer is legitimate. The best advice I can give is……
You notice I used the word legitimate instead of honest. I did that because advertising’s honesty is a matter of perspective. Often the facts are decided by how they are used. When I use the word legitimate I mean are they purposely misleading people to get them in the door? I know it is hard to ignore price and promises of fantastic and unbelievable deals but you must think about what is being said before you act.
One big clue to advertisement truth is the disclosure at the end of an ad. If it discloses a list of rules you must qualify for in order to obtain that deal or lists all the additional charges that were left out of the total price being advertised. Things like: Plus tax, Tag and Title or dealer fee is not included or requires a credit score of 700 or higher or includes all factory rebates and discounts etc., etc., etc. Pay attention to the disclosure at the end of an advertisement and if it is more than a few words, forget the ad at all.
Other indicators are vague promises like an unbelievable trade value or employee pricing or anything that is required besides being a human.
We are all smart enough to negotiate a little and we are all smart enough to know when one number is lower than another number. What I like in a dealer ad is when they talk about how you will be treated or talk about the speed in which they get you your final price or how they will quote you a price over the phone or how they will not charge you any goofy fees. If the dealership likes to talk price, tell me how much you will knock off of the MSRP (manufacturers suggested retail price) and how much of a factory rebate I get regardless of the deal. Don’t tie all the factory and dealer offerings together to confuse me about what the dealer is actually offering.
MSRP is a good focus point to help you figure out what you are getting by way of a discount. Factory rebates have absolutely nothing to do with your deal. If you buy the vehicle, you get the rebate. My advice is, if you think a dealer is trying to fool you with their ad, avoid them or call and have them explain it completely over the phone or in an email. When in doubt don’t go there.