03 April 2022
Who hasn’t seen that popular depiction of a car salesman as a slick, smooth-talking con artist out to sell you what seems to be a serviceable enough automobile, only to have it break down as soon as you drive off the car lot? This scenario has been used in countless movies and comic strips; unfortunately it’s not very funny if you are on the receiving end of a lemon.
We’re certainly not suggesting that all car dealers are unscrupulous hucksters lying in white for the next pigeon to come along but the sad reality is that there are people who, while not entirely deceitful, may “neglect” to mention hidden defects or slap you with a surprise bill for “additional” costs. Understanding your rights as a consumer and learning how to negotiate from a position of strength will go a long way in helping you get the best possible automobile deal for your money.
When you are first making inquiries at various automobile dealerships for a car you wish to purchase, take the opportunity to get a feel for the salesperson at each of the particular branches; to test drive them so to speak. It is important to take this crucial step before you get into the nitty-gritty of bargaining.
Trust your instincts; is this person someone you will want to deal with for such an important transaction? Do they inspire trust in you and make you feel comfortable? You will want to deal with a person who shows genuine concern about giving you what you need yet informed enough to suggest better alternatives.
On the other hand, if a salesperson is impatient or too insistent or possibly even downright rude, walk away; you don’t need the aggravation and there are certainly many much more accommodating car dealerships that will help you out.
Make sure you test-drive your potential car as much as is reasonably necessary and ask all the questions you need to know no matter how trivial; a good salesperson will know that every little question is a legitimate concern and it is reasonable to expect thoroughness on the part of a customer.
Another thing to be sure of is that the salesperson is clear and straightforward in all the aspects of the planned purchase. It’s true: a salesperson’s ultimate goal is to close the sale. But there are good, knowledgeable salespeople out there who will not be afraid to suggest a totally different solution even if it affects his commission.