10 Dumbest Giveaways Car Dealers Use

How long could you stand with a hand on a car?

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Scratch Offs

You got a mailer that promises loads of cash for those with the winning scratch off ticket. It’s like picking up a free lottery ticket but it’s actually from your local car dealership and you’ve got about as much chance winning something as you do with a regular lottery ticket. But you scratch away anyway and lo and behold, you’ve won a prize. Just come into the dealership to claim your prize. Sounds good, right? Well, it’s a tactic that an increasing number of dealers have tried and there have been several versions of it. You may have won a prize but it’s usually something small or the scratch off has just entered you into a drawing for the grand prize. It might be a clever way to drive traffic to the showroom but in the end it’s kind of dumb. These are common car repair scams you need to know.

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Camo rifle sitting in the back of a truck with other gun accessories for skeet shooting.
Kasey Titchener/Shutterstock

Buy a Truck, Get a Gun

So apparently this promo has taken place at a few dealerships. One of those places … you guessed it — Florida. Florida offered customers an AK-47 with a vehicle purchase. Actually, customers received a $400 voucher for a gun. But the tactic worked. Sales doubled at the dealership during the promo.

A dealership in Idaho tried a similar deal and ended up giving away $60,000 worth of guns in 2012. Not a bad deal if you’re a hunter.

Hunt up a deal with these tips for buying a used car.

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Modern beautiful showroom with cars being sold
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Buy One, Get One Free

The buy one, get one free deal is well known but it’s not often seen on car lots. Still people have done it. It usually happens when a dealer still has cars from the previous year on the lot and the new models have moved in. Here’s some evidence that this ploy exists.

A lot of car shops will have buy three get one free deals on tires, but here’s what you need to know about buying tires before you go in.

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elderly woman hand opening car door

Hand on a Car

One of the zanier promotions out there is a contest to see who can hold their hand on a car the longest. The winner then is given the car. You’ve seen it in That ’70s ShowThere was even a documentary about the contest. The documentary itself is a fascinating story. The original footage was thought to be lost but the filmmaker rebuilt the film using clones of the original 8 mm tapes.

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car leasing car keys
Family Handyman

Mail a Car Key

The mail a key promotion works pretty similar to the scratch off promotion in that it’s designed to get people to the lot with little chance of an actual price. A dealer will send out mailers to a community with a key included to get people to think they might have the prize-winning key. So they go check it out at the dealership where they take down your information and try to sell you a car after you find out you’re not the lucky winner. Outsmart a car salesman with these tips.

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winter car tips ice-scraper

Ice Scraper

An ice scraper is great if you don’t have one already but as a giveaway from a car dealership following a car purchase? Not so much. They’re often too small to be of any use for your windshield in winter. Instead try this trick to make sure you never need to use a windshield scraper again. 

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red luxury car with trunk full of gift boxes. presents for holiday. car, presents. holidays, happiness. street outdoor

Junk in the Trunk Car Sale

Do you want a new TV? Do you need a new iPad or have an undeniable desire to own a new stereo system? Then come on down to your local car dealership because you can get all of that stuff when you buy a new car. Of course, you’ll end up covering the cost of all that junk in the trunk with the purchase price of your vehicle or you’ll just be entered into a contest to win the junk in the trunk.

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driving in rain
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If it Rains, it’s Free

Back in 2011, a St. Augustine, Florida car dealership ran a promotion that could’ve been a storm of trouble. Ford Lincoln Mercury in St. Augustine told customers that if it rained at least an inch on a certain date, they’d get their cars for free. A total of 133 customers who made vehicle purchases in the previous month were eligible for the promotion. But the dealership reigned when the rain didn’t come.

Ford Lincoln Mercury would’ve had a chaotic hail sale if the weather had gotten nasty. If you’re vehicle has some unsightly dents, here’s what you can do to fix them yourself.

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Hipster man wearing black T-shirt and a black hat with space for logo


Local dealerships can be great community members through the sponsorships they provide for civic activities but sometimes the swag they give out isn’t all that great. Few people want to wear a hat of a local dealership or want to receive a hat after buying a car.

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shutterstock_23049847 umbrella storage
Sirtisa Botas/Shutterstock


Having an umbrella in the car is always a good idea so you don’t get caught in the rain getting in and out of the car but as a parting gift following a car purchase, it doesn’t hold up as well.