In the motor industry, the wonderful world of used car sales is one such sector where customers have to be armed with certain information or tactics in order to stop themselves (or should I say, their wallets) being taken advantage of by car salespeople!
A former car salesman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has recently written to us about what really goes on at some car dealerships. He is keen to point out that not all car dealerships are out to rip customers off, but he wants to make sure that customers are well-prepared before they enter a dealership so that they can gain the edge when it comes to doing deals!
On that note, here are the secrets which he says people like his former employers do not want people like you – the punter – to know about!
Don’t become a target
Car salespeople are trained to learn certain things about customers that enter their dealerships.
For example, if they spot a couple walking into the showroom and they are disagreeing over the price or type of car they are looking at, they can use this to their advantage by playing off both people against each other in order to find out what they really want (even though the customers themselves might not know it)!
When you enter a car dealer’s showroom, make sure that you go in there armed with all of the facts; i.e. what you want, how much you want to pay for it, and how you want to buy it. But don’t divulge all of that information to a salesperson, because you will have just lost the upper hand in any negotiations.
Only visit reputable car dealers
If you want to treat yourself to a nice Jaguar F-Type, for example, it would be best to stick with a reputable used Jaguar dealer rather than some dodgy backstreet dealership. You are more likely to be treated with respect and buy a legit car instead of being spoken to in a condescending manner and being sold a car of “questionable origin”.
Time your visit
When you know what car you want to buy, and you have got the money to buy it (or know that you will get it under a finance lease agreement), visit the dealership selling your dream car on literally the last day of the month.
Like many employees, car salespeople have targets to hit, and usually the more sales they make in a month, the higher the commission they will get from their employers. This means that they will do anything they can to sell you that car, even if it means the dealership making a small profit on the sale!
It can sometimes pay to be a bit cheeky with car salespeople! For example, you could ask that they include 6 months road tax as part of the deal because ‘xyz’ dealership up the road from them do this. For the sake of anything up to £150 they will agree to do so as they want to shift the car, and you will have just saved yourself some extra cash as part of the deal!
Get personal recommendations from other customers
The chances that you will come across people on a daily basis that have bought cars from dealers will be extremely high, so you should speak to people you know to find out what their experiences are like buying cars from certain dealerships.
It’s a great way of coming up with a shortlist of dealers you think are worth visiting, and ones that you should avoid with a barge pole! You might also want to do some online research to see if people have had many negative experiences with certain dealers. Such websites that you might find consumers venting their frustration or anger on when it comes to this particular topic are consumer forums such as Money Saving Expert.
Don’t trade your car in
I can guarantee you that any car dealership you visit will ask you if you have got a car you would like to trade in! Whilst they might seem like a convenient way of getting rid of your existing car and saving money on your new one, the trade-in values for cars are significantly less than what you would expect to make if you sold your car privately.