Sunday, October 5, 2008

Price, Terms and Add Ons

When we first mention PTA to people, they automatically think of their school organization and volunteer hours. When you’re buying a car, you need to think of the PTA because it means: Price, Terms and Add Ons.

Shopping for a car can seem overwhelming, but when you break it down into smaller chunks, it’s a lot easier. The trap that consumers need to be aware of is to make sure you’re shopping the WHOLE DEAL, not just one part of the deal.

PTA is the whole deal. The price of the car is one of the best ways to make comparisons. Start by comparing the MSRP or sticker price of the car, so that you know if you’re comparing two dealerships, that the vehicle and equipment are the SAME. The MSRP is the only price that can assure you that you’re comparing apples to apples when it comes to equipment.

“P” in PTA stands for Price. Insist that your sales associate at any dealership give you a firm price that you can pay for the car. Don’t get caught up into ONLY getting payments, or getting a “difference” price between your trade and the price of the new vehicle. Get a firm price that you can pay for the new or used vehicle separate from other parts of the deal. We have an easy to fill out worksheet that you can use at any dealership to make comparisons easy.

“T” in PTA stands for Terms. What are terms? Terms mean the Interest rate AND the number of payments. This is such an important area for you to compare. Too often consumers can believe they’re getting a better price because they’re getting a lower payment, when in fact it might be over a longer period of time. Consumers have a right to a “good faith estimate” when buying a vehicle just like when buying a home. Using the worksheet to compare the terms, the interest rate (which can vary based on individual credit history, financial institution and the length of the car loan), and the number of payments is the only way to assure you’re getting the best deal possible.

“A” in PTA stands for Add-on charges. We’ve heard from many consumers over the years who were provided with an “under-price” for a vehicle, only to be overcharged for add-ons to make up for the difference the low price they quoted. At Fitzgerald, all of the add-ons, many of which are very valuable, are quoted at everyday low prices, spelled out separately for easy comparisons. No hidden fees, no surprise charges.

Remember, if you’re shopping for a whole car, shop the whole deal, including the Price, Terms and Add-ons, the PTA, and you won’t be taken for a ride.

For more information, visit the Consumer Publications tab at

1 comment:

Hen Min said...

Kudos to you and your staff for creating your consumer information page and this blog. I have read everything and find myself in agreement with your take on the auto industry and the philosophy by which you manage your own company.
Coming from Honolulu, HI, to buy a car from you, sight unseen, entails some risk. However, I have no anxiety in believing that this sale will go through without a hitch. So, my airline reservations are in hand.
I would, however, appreciate an email from your salesman listing the price, terms and add-ons per recommendation of your consumer info page. We have only discussed the sale on the phone and I've given a credit card approval for the deposit.
This in re 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Stock #: QP41593
VIN JM1NC26FX80141593

I'll see you folks next week.
Aloha, Hen Min Hiu