Four Square System
Beware! Any dealership that uses this high-pressure tactic is out to cheat you. The only reason for using the 4-square system is to confuse the buyer and manipulate the deal to for the dealer’s maximum profit. Your best defense is to get up and leave, immediately.
If you find the only dealer with the car you want uses the 4-square system, simply ignore their system and stick to your Car Buying Checklist and Buyers Offer. If the dealer wants to sell you a vehicle they will switch to another high pressure tactic such as the Turn Over System.
How to Recognize the 4-Square System
If the salesman places a blank piece of paper on the desk and draws large cross or pulls a prepared sheet from their desk, they are using the 4-Square System. If the form is printed, it will typically have Fake Dealer Fees in one of the boxes.
You will be asked 3 or 4 questions:
How much do you want for your trade-in?
How much do you want to pay for your new car?
What do you want for a payment?
How much do you have for a down payment?
After writing down the numbers without comment the salesman will ask you to sign the sheet and give them a deposit (to show you are serious). At this point alarm bells should be going off and you should absolutely refuse to sign or pay anything.
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What the Dealer is Trying To Do
Most buyers focus on 1 of the 4 squares. Either you want a good price for your trade-in or you only have a certain amount of cash for a down payment or you cannot exceed a monthly payment number. With the 4-Square System the Dealer will quickly figure out which square you focus on and know which profit maximizing technique to employ.
The 4-Square System is not about selling you a car; it is all about finding the best way to rip you off!
The Dealer will treat each square independently, changing numbers at random until you react. Once you protest a number, they know your resistance point and your weakness. The other numbers only condition you for the rip-off. If you protest on the payment; they know to lengthen the term, low-ball your trade-in, raise the price, insist on fake fees, etc.
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What You Should Do
Refuse to sign anything or pay any kind of deposit. Their first goal is to find your weakness; the second is to “Tie You Up” with a legal signature and deposit. Statistics have proven most people will not leave once they have paid a deposit and if they do, they won’t purse legal action if the dealer cashes the check even if they don’t buy a car. Anyone using these tactics doesn’t deserve your money. If you stay, odds are, you are going to get ripped off; if not buy the salesman then with Fake Dealer Fees or by the Finance Department. Unless you have a compelling reason for staying, boycott the 4-Square System by getting up and walking out.
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