Romanov Report 42 - June 22, 2006

By InsuranceHotline.com Team
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Drivers With Tunnel Vision

Buyer Beware: When buying or selling a new or used car,click here.

But First ...

New, Lower Insurance Rates Just Released

Massive rate reductions, effective June 1st, have consumers comparison shopping. Has your rate gone down? Even if it has, other company rates may now be even lower.  Drivers previously paying over $1,500 have seen their rate drop to $1,000.

Go to InsuranceHotline.com and see if your rate dropped, and by how much. If your renewal is not for a while, tell a friend. If they save money, have them buy you lunch.

Roadside Assistance

49% of us do NOT have 24 hour roadside assistance. I was one of them, until my car broke down in the middle lane of the QEW last week, in rush hour. Did you see me? For the remaining 49% still without a card, I've made a special arrangement for you to get roadside assistance for less $5 a month.

A good roadside assistance card should cover you for whatever car you're driving, throughout Canada and the US. It should also cover you for one of these services, up to 4 times a year:

- Towing

- Gas Delivery

- Battery Boosts

- Tire Changes, or Inflations

- Lockouts

The DAA 24 Hour Roadside Assistance Card is one of the best kept secrets. Established in 1946, DAA services large corporate employee programs and car dealerships, with 14,000 towing operators throughout Canada and the US.

These corporate clients are tough customers and demand excellence. DAA is now available to you through InsuranceHotline.com.

I compared the DAA roadside service to CAA. Here's what I found:

- DAA's basic service has a 15 km towing limit and costs $56 annually, with no

sign up fee.

- CAA's basic service has a 10 km towing limit and costs $64.20 annually, with a $12 sign up fee, unless you register online.

- DAA's Silver Program, which I recommend, covers you for hotel and meal expenses, up to $1,000, if your have a mechanical breakdown, are in an accident, or caught somewhere because of bad weather conditions. The annual cost is $108.

- CAA's Plus Program does not cover this and costs $99.51 with a $12 sign up fee, unless you register online.

Both the DAA Silver and the CAA Plus cards carry a towing limit well in excess of 100 kms, and can be used up to 4 times a year.

To access DAA's special service you'll need to quote this Purchase Code: 200601

For more information you can call DAA at 1 877 322 1033.

Buying or Selling A Car

There are all kinds of ways to buy or sell a car.

Check out Driving.ca. I was introduced to this site through my friends at Global TV.

Look at some of this free stuff:

- Instant search for a new or used vehicle, click here.

- Build the perfect car for your budget, click here.

- Virtual lot tours and dealer specials, click here.

Here are 10 warning signs, which set off alarm bells, alerting you to a probable bad car dealership:

Having a good car buying experience means choosing the right dealership. But how do you know, at a glance, if a dealership is going to treat you well? Here's a checklist of warning signs:

1. Salesmen are hanging around in front of the dealership salivating. Dealerships have different ways of deciding which salesman helps which customer. The salesmen should wait inside until a customer arrives and has a moment to browse the inventory. Then, the salesman slowly approaches and politely offers his assistance. In the bad dealerships the salesmen stand on the curb like vultures looking for their next road kill.

2. Your salesman suddenly disappears and another salesman takes over. This means that you are dealing with a "turnover house." Turnover is a style of selling where they keep throwing a salesman at you until you are worn down and sign the contract, "just to get it over with." The turnover system favors the dealership, not you. Avoid it.

3. You call the Internet department thinking you're getting the inside track, only to arrive at the dealership and find out that they have "set you up with" a regular salesman. You may have just lost most of the advantages that come with using the Internet department. If you have already been quoted a price through the Internet, this price should still apply. If the salesman denies knowledge of the deal or tries to switch you to another car, it might be time to try another car lot.

4. Your salesman demands, "Follow me!" or "Wait here!" They are trying to see if they can control you. When they say, "I have to talk to my boss," and disappear for a half-hour, they are trying to get you to invest a lot of time in the transaction so you won't go elsewhere. These are old school games. If you want to beat them at their own game, be as unpredictable as possible. Leave the sales office when they go to talk to their boss; don't follow meekly behind them as they lead. It's your car purchase and money, so you should be in control.

5. When you tell them how much of a monthly payment you want, and the salesman says, "up to"¦?" The "up to?" question is a subtle way to bump up the price without you knowing it. Example: If you say, "I want my monthly payment to be $350" the salesman will ask, "Up to?" If you aren't paying attention, you will probably say, "Oh, up to about $400." You just bumped yourself $50 a month. Listen for the ""¦up to?" question and

avoid negotiating against yourself.

6. They try to "switch" you from the car you want to another car.  Salesmen are instructed to "sell from stock" which means they are expected to sell whatever they have on the car lot. This means they might try to convince you that the economy model you wanted in blue isn't going to make you as popular as the luxury model in champagne gold with all the options. A good salesman listens to your needs and does his best to fulfill them.

7. You're talking with your laid-back salesman when a big scary guy suddenly comes in and sits down across from you. This is the "closer", and he is there to sweeten the deal for the car lot. Stand firm on your offer if it is fair. Any attempts to bully or pressure you to improve your offer should be met with a hasty departure. You can always approach the dealership again via the Internet department.

8. They say the advertised car is no longer available. "Ad cars" are a way to bring people into the dealership so they can be switched to whatever models are on the lot. This is the classic "bait and switch." You can insist to see the car that is advertised and, by law, you can buy the car at that price. But they will probably tell you, "It's already sold" or "There was a misprint in the newspaper" or "It's out on a test-drive."

9. Your trade-in disappears and they say they have lost the keys. The idea is that then you have to buy a car from them. Just tell them you brought an extra set of keys and you'll be on your way home. They'll probably "find" the keys very quickly. Then, leave for good.

10. You feel uncomfortable or intimidated. If you go to a nice department store or a fine restaurant, do they make you feel bad while you spend your money? No. So don't stand for it at a car dealership, either. Besides, if you are intimidated now, what will it be like when you begin negotiating? Test-drive your salesperson and if you don't like what you find, then take your business elsewhere.