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Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

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  1. Chapter 7 Transportation and Household Purchase Decisions

  2. Introduction • 25% of car buyers reported problems with buying a car • Dealer not straightforward with price negotiations • Sloppy prep of vehicle • Pressure from salespeople • Purchase of household goods also elicited numerous complaints • Defective goods • Failure to honor warranties • Deceptive advertising

  3. How Households Make Purchase Decisions • You decide you want (need) something, like a new sofa • Can you afford it? • What type do you want (size, comfort, hide-a-bed, etc.) • Review what’s available • Do your research • Is it available at numerous places—are the prices comparable? • Is a financing plan available (and satisfactory)?

  4. Household goals • Personal influences • Needs • Attitudes • Personality • Previous experience Recognition of problem or opportunity Evaluation of alternatives • Environmental influences • Family members • Friends and acquaintances • Advertisements • Sales representatives Purchase decision Purchase act Postpurchase evaluation Figure 7.1: Steps in the Consumer Decision-Making Process

  5. A Model of Consumer Decision Making • How elaborate and formal the process is depends on • What you’re going to buy • How important the purchase is • How often you make the purchase • How expensive the item is • Major purchase decisions involve relatively complex decision processes

  6. Benefits of A Step-by-Step Approach • Everyone impulse buys, but it’s better to not do this, because it is better to • Have control, make a conscious decision, be organized • By following a step-by-step process you’ll probably be able to extend the purchase power of limited funds • Take advantage of sales, etc. • Can pay for purchases in least expensive way • Avoid mistakes associated with impulse buying

  7. Separating Needs from Wants • Need – something thought to be a necessity • Want – something you desire but it is unnecessary • Example: If all you need to do with a computer is surf the Web and basic word processing, do you need a top-of-the-line computer? • Wise consumers attempt to separate needs from wants prior to shopping • Decide how to fit the purchase into your budget

  8. Table 7.1: Needs Versus Wants Worksheet

  9. Your Rights as a Consumer • An informed consumer needs to know about fraud, sources of consumer assistance, etc. • Consumer fraud and abuse • Mail and telephone frauds • Home and auto repairs • Pay for major repairs when only minor work needed • Deceptive advertising • Deceptive sales practices and pricing • Place an item on sale to lure in shoppers, only to have the sale item ‘sell out’ quickly

  10. Your Rights as a Consumer • Identity theft • Someone steals your personal information and uses it to obtain credit cards, cash, or other loans • Protect yourself by • Guarding ATM slips • Destroying all preapproved credit card solicitations • Regularly reviewing credit record

  11. Sources of Consumer Assistance • Consumer Action Handbook • • Better Business Bureaus (BBB) • File complaint • Seek info about business • Independently operated, not-for-profit organizations • Can only take action against a business that is a member • Only about half of businesses belong to BBB • Consumers Union • Publishes Consumer Reports magazine

  12. Sources of Consumer Assistance • Underwriters Labs (UL) • Largest independent, not-for-profit, safety-testing organization in world • Investigates products for fire, electric shock, etc. • Using the media • If you complain to the media, corporation may take action (fix the problem) to avoid negative exposure • Selected federal agencies • Federal Trade Commission, National Highway Safety Administration, FDA, etc. • Discussed in the Consumer Action Handbook • State and local government consumer protection services • Regulate public utilities, health-care delivery, insurance practices, etc.

  13. How to Complain and Get Action • Take the following steps • Determine the problem exactly and decide how you want it resolved • Do you want your money refunded or a replacement product? • Have all the necessary documents on hand • Contact the person who sold you the item and tell them the problem/proposed solution • If they can’t help, talk with their supervisor • Most complaints are resolved this way • If you are not satisfied, write the company

  14. Taking Third-Party Action • If you’re still not satisfied with actions taken, you can involve a third party • Federal, state, or local consumer affairs or regulatory offices • Private consumer organizations • Media • If this doesn’t work, you can take the business to court • Small-claims court – handles disputes involving small amounts of money—$1,000 or less

  15. The Transportation Decision • About 11% of our money is spent on transportation • Including insurance, gasoline, and other driving costs, maintenance, etc. • It’s the second or third largest expense a consumer will make

  16. Do You Need a Car? • Average new car costs $20,000 • Average American drives 13,500 miles per year • ¾ of those miles commuting to/from work, grocery store, etc. • In many cases, there are no other modes of transportation • Over 90 percent of all workers commute by car • Many residents of large cities find a car unnecessary • Congestion • Parking • Expensive

  17. Do You Need a Car? • The cost of owning and operating an automobile • Financing the purchase • Maintaining the vehicle • Car insurance • Registration fees • Fuel • Depreciation

  18. Source: Based on data from IntelliChoice,, accessed July 8, 2004. Figure 7.5: Breakdown of the Estimated Five-Year Ownership Cost of the Honda Accord

  19. How to Purchase an Automobile • Choosing the right car for you • Make and model • Reputation • Size and body style • Options • Distinguish between your needs and wants • Cost of ownership

  20. How to Purchase an Automobile • Choosing the right car for you • Desirable features include • Low mileage • Late model • Quality reputation • Should also check • Tire wear • Condition of interior • Rust spots • Ripples in metal

  21. A New or a Used Car? • With the average new car price around $20,000, about 75% of car buyers are choosing used cars • About ½ of used car purchases occur through private transactions (not through a dealer) • Disadvantages include no financing through seller, no warranty, buyer must handle the paperwork of transferring ownership

  22. Web Links • LOTS of different web sites to help you determine a fair value for new and used cars • • •

  23. NADA Used Car Guide • Published monthly by the National Automobile Dealers Association • Shows current retail and trade-in prices for most domestic and foreign cars • Includes value of specific options and unusually low mileage • Available at most credit unions, banks, and some libraries and insurance agencies

  24. Choosing a New-Car Dealer and Closing the Sale • Doing your homework • Go to the dealership with the knowledge of the car’s invoice price so that you can compare that to the sticker price • Represents what the car cost the dealer • Negotiate by working up from the invoice price, not down from the sticker price • Arrange for financing before shopping for a car

  25. Negotiate With the Dealer • You can always say ‘no’ and walk away • What’s a good deal? • Paying $300-$500 above the invoice price is a very good deal (but for popular models be prepared to pay more) • Watch out for • Extended service warranties (rarely worth the cost) • Fees for preparing state-required paperwork (not really negotiable) • Dealer-added ‘paks’ (such as rust proofing, paint sealant, etc.) (rarely worth the cost) • Credit life insurance (pays off the balance of the loan should you die) • Very expensive, probably unnecessary

  26. Tips for Negotiating with Car Dealers • Remain calm and don’t become too attached to the car (be prepared to walk away) • Don’t discuss trade-in value, etc. until you’ve arrived at a firm price for new car • Bargain up from invoice price, not down from sticker price • Be prepared to shop around • Be prepared to wait while the salesperson checks with manager • DON’T write a check for a deposit even if dealer says it’s refundable

  27. Tips for Negotiating with Car Dealers • Don’t answer questions like • How much can you afford to pay on a monthly basis? • Don’t focus on the monthly payment, focus on the price of the car—$1,000 spread out over 5 years isn’t that much, but it’s still $1,000 • Read everything carefully before you sign • Shop around for car financing—don’t let the salesperson talk you into a lease • Buying is usually the better alternative

  28. Alternatives to Negotiation • Many consumers hate the negotiation process • Alternatives • Use the Internet ( • Some manufacturers (Saturn) have a strict, no-haggle pricing policy • Cost-plus basis • Annual (or semiannual) car sales with credit union • Sam’s Club • Have to arrange your own financing, may not be able to trade in • Car buying service – for a fee, service will get the best price it can on specific model • Have to arrange your own financing, may not be able to trade in

  29. What About Trade-Ins? • Determine the trade-in and retail value of your old car via the NADA Used Car Guide or online sources before shopping for a new car • You’ll probably be offered the wholesale value—not the retail value • May be able to negotiate a better trade-in price if car is in good condition and is less than four years old • You’re probably better off, in terms of money, selling your old car yourself • But have to contend with hassle and expense of advertising and dealing with prospective buyers

  30. Warranties • Fairly standard warranty is 36 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first • Covers cost of repairing/replacing covered items (parts and labor) • ‘Bumper-to-bumper’ warranty covers everything except the tires for certain time period • ‘Power train warranty’ covers engine/transmission for additional time period after the expiration of the bumper-to-bumper warranty • Some features (such as seatbelts have a lifetime warranty)

  31. Financing the Car Purchase • Decide how large a monthly payment you can afford or want to pay • Rule of thumb: Car payment shouldn’t exceed about 20–25% of your monthly take home pay • Just because you can afford a large payment doesn’t mean you need that expensive of a car • Many people have begun financing cars over longer time periods • Increases the amount of interest you’ll pay

  32. Sources of Financing • Banks and credit unions • Credit unions offer very competitive rates, low down payments, payroll deduction plans • Auto manufacturer’s financing subsidiary (such as GMAC) • Convenient, have been offering more competitive rates recently • A used car loan generally carries higher interest rates, shorter terms, and higher down payment

  33. Evaluating “Low-Rate” Financing Incentives • Auto manufacturer’s financing, subsidiary offers rates below market rates to entice buyers to finance with them • Is this your best alternative? • Generally only for very short time frames (24 or 36 months)—you may not be able to afford the payment • May offer either a cash rebate or a low-rate loan—you may be better off taking the cash rebate and arranging your own financing

  34. The Leasing Alternative • Leasing has become very popular with new-car shoppers (about 25% of new cars are leased) • Is it worth it? • Supporters argue • Little or no down payment • More car for the money • Lower monthly payments • Opponents argue • At the end of lease you don’t own the car • Typically less expensive to buy a car through financing rather than leasing

  35. Example: Should You Lease or Buy? • You’ve negotiated a final price of $20,000 on the cost of financing a new-car purchase. If you buy the car you’ll pay $4,000 on down payment and finance the rest at 7% for 36 months. [Your monthly payment will be $494 and you’ll make a total of $17,785 in payments.] You think the car will be worth about 70% of the purchase price after 3 years. If you lease, you’ll pay a security deposit of $750 and make monthly payments of $299 for 36 months (for a total of $10,764). If you return the car at the end of the lease period, you’ll pay a lease termination fee of $500. You can earn 3% on your savings—what should you do?

  36. Example: Should You Lease or Buy? • If you lease, you’ll make lower monthly payments and a much lower up-front cost Buy: Terminal Value of car: +$14,000 Total payments: –$17,784 Interest Lost: $360 4000 × 3% × 3 years Lease termination fee: $0 Total Cost: –4,144 Lease: Terminal Value of car: $0 Total payments: –$10,764 Interest Lost: –$68 750 × 5% × 3 years Lease termination fee: –$500 Total Cost: –11,332

  37. Tips for Leasing • Negotiate the price as if you were buying the car (don’t tell the salesperson you want to lease until after the price has been negotiated) • Ask what the rate is used to compute the lease payment—akin to the APR on a loan • Ask about the residual value of the car • Ask about wear-and-tear charges at the end of the lease (read this very carefully) • Decide how many miles per year you intend to drive the car—many companies charge a mileage rate if you exceed the mileage limit • Make sure the manufacturer’s warranty covers the entire lease term (both years and mileage)