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Car Buying, Car Financing
Confessions of an Auto Finance Manager - In this four-part series, written by veteran auto finance manager Nick James, you will learn the F&I man's tricks and how to avoid them. When you're done, you'll be ready to safely navigate this crucial part of the car buying process, and the F&I man will never work his "magic" on you again. (more)
#1 of 25 Confessions of an Auto Finance Manager
by KarenS HOST
Dec 15, 2008 (1:48 pm)
"Congratulations, you're getting a great deal!" the car salesman says, pumping your hand. "Let's sign the paperwork and you'll be on your way in your new car!"
At first you're relieved — the negotiating is over. But then the salesman walks you down a back hallway to a stark, cramped office with "Finance and Insurance" on the door. Inside, a man in a suit sits behind the desk. He greets you with a faint smile on his face. An hour later you walk out in a daze: The whole deal was reworked, your monthly payment soared and you bought products you didn't really want.
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Confessions of an Auto Finance Manager
#2 of 25 Re: Confessions of an Auto Finance Manager [KarenS]
Dec 17, 2008 (8:42 am)
The whole deal was reworked, your monthly payment soared and you bought products you didn't really want.
Then you are a fool who obviously requires adult supervision and probably should not be behind the wheel of an automobile in the first place.
I don't wear a suit
My office is not cramped
It is not in the back
It is not stark
My smile is not faint
I run a fully disclosed office.
The process takes about 20 minutes from the time you sit down to the time were done.
#3 of 25 Re: Confessions of an Auto Finance Manager [joel0622]
by kirstie_h HOST
Dec 17, 2008 (8:54 am)
Obviously not every shop is run like the one in the article, nor like yours. But if you think it doesn't happen like this in some places, you haven't been vehicle shopping much.
Last time I bought a vehicle, everything was going great (salesperson was great) til I got to F&I - they had the contract printed when I walked in, and the guy had added every single aftermarket product (I put down 20% of the price in cash, and he added gap insurance???), then acted mortally offended when I told him to remove them all... sighed and made out like it was going to be a HUGE inconvenience for him to re-print the contract. It was as if I'd asked for those products, then changed my mind.
However, I no more believe that all F&I offices are like this than I believe that none of them are like this.
#4 of 25 Re: Confessions of an Auto Finance Manager [kirstie_h]
Dec 17, 2008 (1:30 pm)
I believe the objection from joel was due to the lead in post from Karen, which does not paint a balanced picture of F&I. To garnder attention (i.e readership) the quoted material in Karen's post was quite inflamatory and negative towards F&I departments. Once you get into the article though, it is a more balanced account of how F&I works... nothing though in the article is as negative as what happened to you during your experience, that I can recall.
#5 of 25 The OTHER side of the F&I Manager's profits...
Jan 02, 2009 (2:05 am)
It's very sad to hear miserable stories about bad experiences customers have in the F&I office. The good news, there is a transition in motion, it just takes time to weed out old practices. Having said that, there is a very positive side to the F&I Manager's job. I have worked in that position for ten years and pride myself on ethical conduct. At the same time, I am required to sell products for the dealership. It's very satisfying as a F&I Manager, to get a customer with poor credit financed, particularly when the vehicle is very important for their family needs, whether it means getting to work, driving the children to their activities and to visit with friends, or perhaps to taxi aging parents to their appointments or take them on errands. Furthermore, it is satisfying as a F&I Manager to hear the gratitude from customers who purchased an extended warranty that saved them a several thousand dollar repair bill, or the family who has unexpectedly lost a loved one and the deceased's vehicle will not be a financial burden at an already difficult time, because the loan on the auto was life insured. I could go on with a number of great stories. Never mind, the many gifts customers would give as a token of their appreciation for the way they were treated by the F&I Manager. The point here is, the products offered in the F&I office are legitimate with tremendous value.
I believe it's important to hear ALL sides of these stories.
#6 of 25 Re: The OTHER side of the F&I Manager's profits... [ProfitDrivers]
Jan 02, 2009 (6:20 am)
"...the products offered in the F&I office are legitimate with tremendous value..."
Legitimate? Yes, anything that you want to try to sell is legitimate as long as you sell it by honest means. Tremendous value? I don't know about that one. Warranties might or might not be worth the peace of mind but for me they weren't. The glorified wax jobs for $800 are not worth a tenth of their price in my opinion.
When I last bought the presentation was pretty low-key. The woman only tried a little bit of the 'ol scare tactics. She asked if I was planning on keeping my car for very long and when I answered "Yes" she told me that I "better protect it" with the mop & glo. She also pushed the extended warranty but not too hard.
She was so nice about it that I didn't have the heart to turn her down cold. I pulled the old "I'll have to check with my wife" dodge. At delivery she only gave me a small scolding for not calling her back.
Now if they had a bank stick-up artist or a porn star working in F&I I might have bought something.
#7 of 25 When my son bought his Mustang Convertible
Jan 02, 2009 (10:37 am)
from a Ford dealer in the University district. The F & I guy said they would not sell the car at that price unless he also bought the Extended Warranty. (They intimated it was the only part of the deal where the house was to make a profit.) So he bought the EW, the cost of which was added to the payment contract with Evergreen Bank.
Remembering, the EW was a separate Insurance Contract, my son returned the Warranty and said to cancel it FLAT the next day.
F & I said they could not cancel the EW because it was part of the payment contract. That's when they found out their customer was an insurance agent and knew they were bluffing. They rewrote the finance agreement while grumbling and who cares?
#8 of 25 Re: The OTHER side of the F&I Manager's profits... [oldfarmer50]
Jan 02, 2009 (10:40 am)
oldfarmer50, I must say that in my lifetime of experience, not all products and services being sold are legitimate. Particularly, I can remember a rather recent story of an investment advisor that swindled millions of dollars from clients. He fled the country and now resides in another North American country, unscathed! It's never good when someone feels that they purchased something that was not worth it's cost, whether it's $800, thousands, or millions. Typically we hear so many nasty stories, that I thought it important to inject a flavour of some positive ones. Maybe you didn't like the wax job for $800 but a senior couple who are meticulous about their vehicle and too old to upkeep it themselves may love the product. On the other hand, if you had a porn star F&I manager to visit at the dealership every 2 years or so to have the "mop & glo" reapplied at no additional cost, you may have enjoyed spending the $800.
In every industry, there is something for everyone and in some cases, there may be nothing that fits at all. It's the good stories that support the value of the products offered in the F&I office. I hope you went back to the dealer that sold you the $800 mop & glo and gave them a chance to remedy your dissatisfaction!
#9 of 25 Re: The OTHER side of the F&I Manager's profits
Aug 17, 2010 (8:15 am)
There are more ethical dealers now than ever as the industry gets more organized and FTC is involved. If someone had a bad experience at a dealership then you didn't do your homework. I have been in involved in the car bsuiness for almost 7 years now and we have more repeat customers than most. There is a reason people appreciate the "...the products offered in the F&I office are legitimate with tremendous value..." because at some point it saved them much more money. In reply to oldfarmer50, you would probably buy a $500 computer and buy a $200 service plan on that but the truck or car you would pay $20k or more for is not worth the $1500 or so!!!! People like yourself realize the need when you actually need it. I am a believer in everything that is presented in the FNI office because I get them on my personal vehicles, you don't have to agree with me, but I do. Its 21st century people, open your eyes, do some research and buy from good dealers. Unlike this UNETHICAL NICK JAMES the SO CALLED FINNACE GURU who probably spoke from his own unethical personal experiences.
#10 of 25 Re: The OTHER side of the F&I Manager's profits [mwa1]
Aug 17, 2010 (8:56 am)
The problem is that most of the things added on in the FIN dept are totally unnecessary. Yes,the manuf ext warr is an absolute must in my opinion for today`s cars but other than that -- rustproofing,fabric protection are all not useful and are extremely overpriced. Even the ext warr is at a very inflated price. You can buy any manuf warr online from any new car dealer in the country till the manuf 3yr/36k mile warr expires .
And yes ,it`s the 21st century where folks like me buy cars online!!